NAIDOC Week first for Defence
10 July 2013
For the first time on record, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are flying on an active operation outside Australia. A flag raising ceremony was held at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates to mark the start of NAIDOC Week.
The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, told a memorial service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra it was a salute to the service and sacrifice of the forebears of the Australian Defence Force's Indigenous members.
"Today we remember all Australians lost in conflict, particularly those of Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander descent," General Hurley said.
"We thank them for their service and welcome the contribution of those Indigenous Australians who continue their legacy."
General Hurley said the manner in which the soldiers, sailors, airmen and women embraced their Indigenous comrades was ahead of Government policy and community norms at the time.
"In uniform, Indigenous members were afforded the same pay and conditions to their peers but more importantly, they were equals - respected for their skill and treated with dignity.
"These are the same virtues we strive to uphold in the Australian Defence Force today," General Hurley said.
The memorial service, which was supported by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Australian War Memorial, was one of a range of NAIDOC week activities across Defence establishments including cultural, sporting and careers events.
Imagery of the NAIDOC Week ceremonies is available at the following links:
Middle East Area of Operations: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20130707
For further information on Defence NAIDOC Week activities please contact Defence Media Operations.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999