If you didn't know better you might think the staff at the Australian Electoral Commission had suddenly developed a sense of a humour.
Why else would they choose to confirm Bean as the name for Canberra's newest Federal electorate the day before the Australian War Memorial, the Australian Army and the French Government, to name just a few, chose to honor Sir John Monash for the Australian victory at the battle of Hamel on July 4, 1918?
The AEC, more than anybody else, would have been aware dozens of members of the chattering classes had objected to the name on the basis Charles Bean, the official Australian World War I historian, had opposed Sir John Monash's appointment to lead the Australian army in May, 1918.
Bean, later the driving force behind the establishment of the Australian War Memorial, felt Sir Cyril Brudenell White would have been the better choice.
He, and another pressman, Keith Murdoch, agitated without success to bring about this result. Monash was Jewish and some of the comments made by Bean at this time were unashamedly anti-Semitic.
Monash, as the historian Mark Dapin has pointed out, was the only Jewish commander-in-chief of any national army in either of the two world wars. He did more to advance the standing of Jews in the Australian community than anybody else in our history.
While anti-Semitism was an endemic part of the culture of the day, it was almost impossible to be publicly critical of Jews in the 1920s and 1930s when the greatest living Australian was one of their number.
Bean, as Michelle Grattan pointed out this week, later conceded he had been wrong in opposing the Monash appointment and changed his views on race to such an extent he supported the idea of a national Jewish refuge in Australia in the 1930s.
"Claims by a number of objectors that Bean was a lifelong anti-Semite and should not have an electorate named after him due to his `racist and anti-Semitic views'... ignore much of the man's life, contribution and character," AWM director Brendan Nelson said.
Bean and Monash were products of their time and the societies from which they came. It would be unreasonable to expect either man to conform to modern standards of political correctness.
The pair has been conscripted by players on both sides of the political divide for use as pawns in Australia's ongoing culture and history wars and, as a result, have both been significantly misrepresented.
Monash, for example, is now portrayed as a semi-tragic figure who had to battle anti-Semitism on an almost daily basis and who, as a direct result, never received the recognition he deserved during his lifetime.
That dodgy narrative fails to take into account his rise to the highest position in the AIF, his being knighted in the field by King George V in August 1918, the way in which he was venerated in this country after the war and the small detail that more than 250,000 turned out for his funeral.
It also fuelled the absurd campaign to have him posthumously elevated to the rank of field marshall; a move that would have added nothing to the lustre of his name.
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