As Australians celebrate the history, culture and
achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples during NAIDOC Week, Minister for Veterans’
Affairs Dan Tehan has today paid tribute to Indigenous
ex-servicemen and women.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a very long and
proud history of serving in all sectors and units within
the Australian Defence Force through the wars, conflicts
and peacekeeping operations that Australia has
participated in from the Boer War through to present-day
conflicts,” Mr Tehan said.
“Many of these men and women are the unsung heroes
who pushed through adversity to enlist and serve their
country. Their contribution is all the more significant
when viewed against their lack of citizenship rights and
early policies that discouraged and limited their
The Minister also acknowledged the commitment of
Indigenous members post-service.
“Many of today’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander ex-servicemen and women work tirelessly in the
ex-service community to assist others in need. For them
it’s not about skin colour, it’s about being there for
their mates, because the bonds formed in service last a
lifetime,” Mr Tehan said.
Mr Tehan noted that some Indigenous ex-servicemen and
women may be unaware of the support available to them
from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“I encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible
to receive support from the Department to come forward.
www.dva.gov.au or phone 133 254 or freecall 1800 155
254 from regional Australia.
“We need to spread the word about the proud history
of Indigenous service but also ensure they are accessing
the support and services available to them.”