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The politics of patriotism : the pressure group activities of the Returned Servicemen's League

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: The politics of patriotism : the pressure group activities of the Returned Servicemen's League
Author(s): Kristianson, Gerald Lawrence
Date published: 1966
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University
As Australia's largest veterans' organization, the R.S.L. has been the subject of bitter controversy. The League has often been attacked, and as frequently defended, but it has never been examined in depth by an impartial observer. This book is the first detailed and dispassionate examination. It is not an 'official', or even an authorized account of the R.S.L.'s pressure group activities - while the League provided unrestricted access to its files and records, the organization's leaders exercised no censorship or control over the final results. The author examines the R.S.L.'s attempts to influence the Commonwealth government against a background of continual internal conflict over tactics. He describes the constant approaches to the government on pensions, medical benefits, war service homes, soldier settlement, employment preference, and gratuities, as well as on such controversial subjects as defence and anti-communism, all of which serve to mark the R.S.L. as one of Australia{u2019}s most active pressure groups. The book also points to the danger implicit in the R.S.L.'s attempt to monopolize the virtues which it claims are uniquely Australian. In its rigid enforcement of the exclusiveness of Anzac Day, it is argued, lie both the League's peculiar strength and its greatest problems.


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