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Campaign ramps up to promote Monash

AAP logoAAP 6/11/2016

A campaign to have World War I commander John Monash posthumously promoted to the rank of Field Marshal has been given a boost with federal government minister Josh Frydenberg backing the move.

Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer is spearheading the campaign and on Sunday welcomed Mr Frydenberg's "significant" support as the Saluting Monash Council was officially launched at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance.

Mr Fischer read out a statement from Mr Frydenberg at the shrine which stated: "The posthumous promotion of Sir John Monash to Field Marshal ... will not change history per se, but will complete it, preserving in our nation's memory the rightful place of one very special man."

Nationals senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie and Labor MP Michael Danby also attended Sunday's service which lasted exactly 93 minutes.

Mr Fischer said that was apt given General Monash's victory at the Battle of Hamel on July 4, 1918 lasted exactly that length of time.

The council argues General Monash was discriminated against partly because he was a reservist and Jewish.

"It's an insult that he wasn't promoted after the war," Mr Fischer told AAP on Sunday.

"It's a wrong that should be righted as a symbolic salute, not just to Monash, but all members of the AIF.

"Many people in Melbourne think of Monash as the freeway and the university.

"They have no idea this guy helped turn the tide on the western front with just two battles - Hamel and Amiens."

The former deputy PM originally launched the campaign in 2008 and hopes Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will approve the promotion before the end of First World War centenary commemorations in late 2018.

General Monash was a Melbourne civil engineer and part-time soldier who rose to command all Australian forces on the western front in the final months of the First World War.

His performance at Gallipoli was considered unexceptional by some but historian Charles Bean notes that the higher he rose the better he became.

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