For the annual Opening of Parliament (Canberra) a Last Post Ceremony honouring those who defended Australia is observed the afternoon before the Yearly Opening of Parliament. At the Last Post ceremony yesterday (1 February 2021), which is attended by political leaders ahead of the commencement of the new parliament sitting, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese referenced Indigenous Soldiers who served Australia.
Albanese’s point was the stories Australians tell themselves about sacrifices made during armed conflict are not complete.
These stories often omit the war unleashed on the original inhabitants of the land by British settlers. Here’s an excerpt from his speech.
Our nation has stood against darkness and won, but darkness is not vanquished from the world. Freedom is not something we can keep carelessly. Nor is freedom free. We gather here to remember those who have paid its price. But there are holes in our memory we need to fill. Not least the Indigenous soldiers who went and fought. Those First Australians who donned the khaki and left their homes to fight for a nation that was not prepared to fight for them. A nation that did not treat them as equals. Not when they went. Not when they returned from those distant battlefields. Yet they went. They fought for a continent that had been the home of their people for a long, unbroken chain of millennia. A continent for which their ancestors had fought so desperately during the frontier wars — wars we have not yet learned to speak of so loudly. They died protecting their loved ones. They died protecting their way of life. They died for their country. We must remember them just as we remember those who fought more recent foes.
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