It's one important tradition that the political class seem to have declared off limits. It's one day of the year when it's OK to show a little bit of national feeling and some positive regard for the older white men who served their country.
It's not that there haven't been radical attempts to undermine the day. This year, for instance, a group of academics published a book titled What's Wrong With ANZAC? They want the emphasis of Australian history to be not on the sacrifices of Australian soldiers overseas but on liberal political campaigns at home. They prefer the period in the 1960s and 70s when,
The emphasis of Australian history was ... on political and social reform, on the egalitarian Australian ethos and the shaping of a vision of a new society.
Other academics have complained that Anzac Day lacks diversity and excludes others:
Nina Burridge of the University of Technology in Sydney - said ANZAC Day glorified white males.
"It's something about male mateship in many ways to me - it doesn't celebrate the wide diversity in Australia," she said. "The very fact that we focus on Gallipoli means we symbolically exclude others, even if we don't intend to."
But so far the line has held against the more radically liberal academics. Even the generally left-leaning ABC ran a well-produced documentary series on the Kokoda campaign this year. And even the very liberal Age newspaper ran a demolition of Catherine Deveny by Richard Cooke.
I don't know much about Cooke, except that he writes for The Chaser - which suggests that he is somewhere on the left. Nonetheless, he defended the Anzacs against a ranting Catherine Deveny.
Here is Deveny in full flight:
Refuse to celebrate a glorification of war that ignores the suffering and carnage of (mostly female) civilians ... They didn't die for us but because they were risktaking testosterone fuelled men with a pack mentality ... I hate bullies, homophobes, thugs, racists, misogynists and rapists in the name of war ... Men only enlisted to fight for the money, for the adventure or because they were racist ... Bigger heroes the women who leave abusive relationships with nothing...
And Cooke's response:
I couldn't shake the feeling that Deveny was waging a senseless campaign ... The phrases were lions, but the thoughts were donkeys.
Anyone who has been to university will recognise the way those sexistracistandhomophobics string together. They're charges that can be levelled against any Western institution or tradition, otherwise masters students would run out of things to do.
Here, though, they feel as if they've turned up to the wrong argument. If anyone could put the racism, sexism and homophobia of 1940s Australia to shame, it was the Axis powers they helped defeat.
Few others have noticed the rape battalions marring Anzac Day marches, but even if we fielded a whole division of sex offenders, they would have a hard time keeping up with the Imperial Japanese Army in Korea and Manchuria.
After all, the campaign at the centre of remembrance isn't called "The Rape of Gallipoli", a distinction not lost on what used to be Nanking.
... If you form an opinion for a living, and you form a contrarian one, you can't shape it just to make Andrew Bolt angry - it has to contain something more than your own raw, visceral reaction to something you don't like. Otherwise, it's just a prejudice.
I'll speculate a bit here and interpret the Deveny versus Cooke debate as follows. Let's say you have liberals like Catherine Deveny who are all too successful in attacking and weakening their own Western societies. That then puts liberal Western societies at risk, leading others who identify as liberal to turn their fire on the likes of Deveny.
Anyway, I did enjoy Cooke's response to Deveny. There's much more he might have added, and perhaps this can be discussed in the comments (e.g. the claim that women suffered as much in war as men doesn't hold up well when it comes to the Australian experience of war in the twentieth century).