Australia

AFL criticised over plans for Anzac Day performance

Birds of Tokyo. Source: Facebook

The AFL has been urged to reconsider its decision to book Perth band Birds of Tokyo for a performance before the Essendon and Collingwood clash on Anzac Day.

A footy match on Anzac Day raised the sacred day's public profile day but adding a pre-game rock concert is "all wrong" a Victorian opposition MP says.

Tim Smith wants the AFL to reconsider its decision to book Perth band Birds of Tokyo to play before the Essendon and Collingwood clash on Thursday.

The Australian Army Band will also perform before the match, with the Australian and New Zealand national anthems to be played by Kirsten Hobbs from the Royal Australian Navy and Barbara Graham from the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Mr Smith said the AFL deserved to be commended for introducing the Anzac Day match in 1993, suggesting it had boosted the profile of Anzac Day and the dedication of diggers for over 100 years.

"The AFL certainly deserved credit for that, but I think they've got it wrong on this," he said on Saturday.

"I think having a rock concert before the Anzac Day commemoration is all wrong."

Government minister Martin Foley also weighed in, saying that what's important is that the community pauses together to reflect the "extraordinary loss of life through successive wars" and that democracy today came about through their sacrifice.

The performance was a matter for the AFL, but highlighted the importance of the minute silence that "chills you".

"It's an electric event and one that should always be part of Anzac Day, and one that should never be overshadowed," he said.

Birds of Tokyo drummer Adam Weston said the commemorative match was breathtaking and it would be a day to remember for he whole band.

"Being involved in the Invictus Games last year really reminded us of the importance of remembering fallen soldiers and recognising those who have served," he said.

"Australia's biggest sporting stage will no doubt be to capacity to respect our returned and current serving defence personnel and we are pleased to be part of it."

Sixteen returned service men and women will be honoured in an RSL motorcade, while Australian Defence Force personnel will form a catafalque party that will perform the Anzac Day ceremony.

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