Outspoken Senator James McGrath has called for recognition of military veterans' service be included during welcome to the country ceremonies across the nation.
Outspoken Senator James McGrath has called for recognition of military veterans' service be included during welcome to the country ceremonies across the nation. ALAN PORRITT-AAP

Outspoken Senator wants military in welcome to country

OUTSPOKEN Senator James McGrath has called for recognition of military veterans' service be included during welcome to country ceremonies across the nation.

The LNP Senator said those who served and are serving should be recognised more, and not only on the traditional ceremonies such as ANZAC or remembrance days.

"In addition to paying respect to indigenous elders and recognising local traditional owners' connection to the land, if we are doing acknowledgement of country, we should also recognise the veterans who have served," Senator McGrath said.

"And also those who are currently serving to protect our country.

"It is vitally important that we recognise and respect the sacrifice our defence forces and their families make, and the dedication they show, to keep each and every Australian safe.

"It is equally important that we continue to support those who have served."

Should military veterans be recognised in welcome to country

This poll ended on 03 October 2019.

Current Results

No, leave it for Indigenous Australians

41%

Yes they don't get enough recognition

41%

No, but more should be done for veterans

16%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Maroochy RSL president Michael Liddelow argued the cultural significance of welcome to country ceremonies would be tarnished if veterans were included.

"Welcome to country has symbolically been accepted by the community for its recognition of the lands and culture of Indigenous Australians, but it would be inappropriate to include veterans," Mr Liddelow said.

"Tinkering with welcome to country would see it lose its significance.

"Veterans are continually recognised with days like Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. In my eyes there are other ways for veterans to be acknowledged."

Senator McGrath this week welcomed the establishment of an Australian Defence Veteran's Covenant, through legislation introduced in the Senate.

 

Gubbi Gubbi elder Lyndon Davis members performing the welcome to country ceremony.
Gubbi Gubbi elder Lyndon Davis members performing the welcome to country ceremony. Warren Lynam

The Covenant is similar to that established in the UK, and recognises veterans and their families.

"The establishment of a covenant recognising the sacrifice of our veterans is something I've been calling for since before I was elected to the Senate," he said.

As part of the Covenant, the Government is adopting a national approach to recognising and identifying veterans by issuing a Veteran Card and a Lapel Pin.

The Veteran Card and Lapel Pin will help organisations and the community to recognise and respect veterans when they are not in uniform or wearing their medals.

The Veteran Card will support up to 600,000 veterans in Australia and will be linked to hundreds of businesses across the country.

"There is always more that we can do as a country to ensure we provide support for our veterans and their families, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of any Australian who has served or is serving, but having this enshrined in legislation is an important step," he said.

"I encourage any business or community organisation would like to extend an offer through the new Veteran's Card to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs."



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