The proposition by the Director of the AWM and supported by the Government through the Veterans Affairs Minister is strongly opposed by the RARA.
This RARA position has been clearly made on several national radio and TV media outlets, but we thought it prudent to also articulate it here as a permanent record of our disappointment that such a move is even being considered.
The AWM was established to commemorate the service men and women of all races, religions, ethnicity as Australians who have given their lives in the defence of this nation, many of which are First Nation and Torres Strait Islanders, going back to the Boer War.
The AWM is a national institution that reminds us all of the virtues and sacrifice of duty and service and should be above “woke” partisan politics. No other institution in Australia has done more in embracing, including, accepting and working in harmony and resolve with our indigenous brothers and sisters, than the ADF and its members, so our position is not racial, exclusive or ignoring history, both good and bad, to the detriment of our indigenous brothers and sisters.
We believe their story no matter how confronting for some should be told, but not at this sacred place. It should be told at a special place dedicated to our indigenous brothers and sisters, where they can tell their stories of early colonialism and conflict, which affected many during those early times.
The real concern we have is that with the AWM was dedicated for a particular purpose and that purpose has been honoured and observed since it’s inception. Let’s keep it this way but let’s all advocate for a similar special and reflective place where our indigenous brothers and sisters can all proudly stand and remember their early colonial history.
After all it’s that early history both good and bad that has made our nation and that story should be told but not in a woke afterthought for the AWM. That story deserves much better than that , to stand alone and proud as a part of the history of the oldest continuous living culture of the world, and all of us would be honoured to be permitted to be able to share in that special place, established in perpetuity.
Michael von Berg MC OAM
Chair RARC and National President RARA
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