Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Australia-wide ceremonies to honour Indigenous Veterans

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Bruce Billson MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

For the first time, commemorative ceremonies will be held across the nation to honour the service and sacrifice of Indigenous servicemen and women, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce Billson, said today.

Mr Billson said the ceremonies will be held in each State and Territory and have been organised through consultation and cooperation with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, ex-service organisations and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

"Indigenous Australians have served our nation proudly since Federation, more than 100 years ago, in every conflict in which Australia has been involved" Mr Billson said.

"I am pleased that this year the Australian Government has been able to support the first ever Australia-wide ceremonies recognising the contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have made, and continue to make, in defence of our nation.

"Reconciliation Week, which commences on Sunday 27 May, provides a timely opportunity to recognise the dedication to duty, courage and mateship of all Indigenous servicemen and women-past and present-who have served our nation in times of war and peace.

"Today Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women continue the proud history of those who have gone before them in the Australian Defence Force," he said.

Mr Billson will lay a wreath at the National Commemoration Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Sunday 27 May with the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough.

Mr Brough welcomed the first national ceremony honouring the contribution of Indigenous servicemen and women.

"Australian servicemen and women, including Indigenous Australians, have served, and continue to serve, side-by-side with courage and tenacity," Mr Brough said.

"As a nation, we are indebted to the courageous service of the men and women who continue to protect the freedoms we enjoy today, and to those that have served in the past, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.

"During National Reconciliation Week, I encourage all Australians to remember the Indigenous servicemen and women who have served, and continue to serve, our nation proudly in times of war, conflict and peace," he said.

Editor’s note: Commemoration ceremonies honouring Indigenous servicemen and women will be held in each State and Territory during Reconciliation Week as follows:

State Date Time Venue
National ceremony Sunday 27 May 8:30am Australian War Memorial, Western Courtyard
Cairns ceremony Sunday 27 May 10:00am Cairns Cenotaph, The Esplanade
Hobart ceremony Sunday 27 May 11:00am Hobart Cenotaph
Adelaide ceremony Sunday 27 May 9:00am State National War Memorial, North tce Adelaide
Brisbane ceremony Monday 28 May 11:00am Brisbane Cenotaph
Townsville ceremony Wednesday 30 May 10:00am Townsville Cenotaph, Anzac Park
Perth ceremony Wednesday 30 May 10:00am State War Memorial, Kings Park
Melbourne ceremony Thursday 31 May 11:00am Shrine of Remembrance
Sydney ceremony Thursday 31 May 11:00am Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park
Darwin ceremony Friday 1 June 5:30pm Darwin Cenotaph