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‘You’re addicted’: Fiery Anzac Day move clash

The pair clashed over the change in rules
Retail expert Lisa Asher and Today host Karl Stefanovic have clashed over a retail trading ban on Anzac Day. Picture: Today show

Karl Stefanovic has clashed with a guest on the Today show over the decision to ban retail trading across NSW on Anzac Day.

Premier Chris Minns announced on Wednesday that retail trading restrictions would be extended until midnight on Anzac Day from next year.

Previously, retail trading restrictions in the state were lifted at 1pm on Anzac Day.

The move was made to stop a “creeping commercialism” cheapening the day, Mr Minns said.

ANZAC PARADE
The move is aimed at stopping a ‘creeping commercialism’ cheapening the day. Picture: NewsWire / David Crosling
ANZAC DAY BRISBANE
It is to ensure the service of veterans is recognised and people are able to take part in services throughout the day. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

The restrictions do not apply to small businesses and business not considered retailers or with exemptions such as markets, cafes, chemists, newsagencies and takeaway restaurants. Pubs and clubs are also exempt.

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“For Australians, no occasion could be more solemn or significant than Anzac Day,” Mr Minns said.

“As of next year, NSW will extend our retail trading restrictions across Anzac Day to make sure our veterans are recognised and free to take part in services throughout the day.

“It might be inconvenient for a few hours, but closing our biggest corporate shops for a single day is a small price to pay for living in a free and open democracy.”

The move has already sparked debate, with University of Sydney retail expert Lisa Asher clashing with Stefanovic on the Today show on Wednesday.

Ms Asher said she was “deeply surprised and concerned” that trading had been banned for the whole day, claiming it will put “greater burden on NSW residents in terms of trying to manage their life”.

Retail expert from USYD, Lisa Asher. Picture: Supplied
University of Sydney retail expert Lisa Asher said she should be able to go to the shops on Anzac Day if she needed to. Picture: Today show

As a working mother who goes to the supermarket “most days”, the option to go to the shops and catch up on “life admin” after paying respects was important, Ms Asher said.

“If we choose to spend the day to reflect and remember, then we should be allowed that choice. It shouldn’t be taken from us,” she said.

Stefanovic asked if she could instead just “plan” for the closures and questioned whether Ms Asher also had a problem with Christmas Day.

“You’re just addicted to the commercialisation of the Australian society,” Stefanovic said.

“It’s Anzac Day … I don’t mind everything shutting down on Anzac Day, I’ve just got no problem with it.”

Ms Asher fired back and asked if Stefanovic was in charge of his household shopping before the segment came to a close.

“I disagree vehemently with you, but that’s the sign of a good democratic show, isn’t it?” Stefanovic said.

ANZAC DAY TRADITIONS
Pubs will be exempt from the new trading rules. Picture: NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Acting Industrial Relations Minister Tara Moriarty questioned why retail trading was allowed in the afternoon when afternoon and sunset services occur.

“We can’t be half-hearted about Anzac Day,” she said.

Retail union Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) state secretary Bernie Smith has hailed the move as common sense for “such an important day”.

“Anzac Day is a solemn day of significance for the whole community, including retail workers, to commemorate the sacrifices of Australia’s service men and women,” Mr Smith said.

“Opening shops at 1pm on such an important day was out of step with how we treat other significant days with trading restrictions that apply across the whole day.

“We owe our veterans and current serving ADF personnel a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice 365 days a year. We can all stop shopping for one whole day to commemorate that sacrifice.”

Public polling commissioned by the SDA also found only 17 per cent of respondents attended food or retail shops on Anzac Day, with most supporting the decision to shut shops.

“Australians agree that Anzac Day is for remembering, not shopping. That’s why it’s time to return retail trading restrictions to the whole of Anzac Day,” Mr Smith said.

A review into Anzac Day trading restrictions began last year and a public consultation period ran from September to October.

ANZAC PARADE
Anzac Day is a day of significance for the whole community. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling

A majority of submissions supported full-day restrictions, including support from veterans, veterans’ organisations and members of the public.

Given the significance of the day, most Australian states impose Anzac Day trading restrictions.

The announcement comes before Thursday’s Middle East Area of Operations Commemoration.

“Tomorrow, 11 July at 11am we will as a community pause to remember the 43 members of the ADF who lost their lives in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. It is a timely reminder that a new generation of veterans from East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan often go unseen,” Mr Smith said.

“The new memorial announced by the NSW government today is important in recognising this generation of veterans and their families.”