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Media releases & speeches

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

27 May 2017

Honouring Indigenous veterans during Reconciliation Week

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said Australians honoured the service and sacrifice of the Indigenous men and women who had served in defence of our country.

Mr Tehan said Reconciliation Week 2017, which starts today, was an opportunity to reflect on the contribution Indigenous men and women have made to Australia’s military history.

“Indigenous Australians have been serving in the Australian military since this country’s first engagement in the Boer War in 1899,” Mr Tehan said.

“Reconciliation Week gives us an opportunity to stop, pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice made by our Indigenous servicemen and women.

“We should never forget that many Indigenous Australians volunteered to fight in the First and Second World Wars at a time when they did not enjoy the same rights as their fellow Australians.

“During Reconciliation Week we remember that we have come together as Australians and fought side by side to defend our country and shared values.”

The inaugural Indigenous Veterans Forum was held in Canberra in March and provided an opportunity to engage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans and listen to how DVA can improve its services. DVA launched its new Reconciliation Action Plan on 25 May.

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.