The public is being ‘consulted’ on a date for a new national day of commemoration – while the head shed seems confused on the details [*see editor’s note below].
FILE PHOTO: Members of Overwatch Battle Group–West get ready to participate in an ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Talil, Iraq, 2008. Photo by Brian Hartigan.
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton today announced that a new national day of commemoration will be established to ensure that we, as a nation, formally recognise the service and sacrifice of Defence personnel and their families who helped to save Australian lives from terrorist attacks on our own soil.
The ADF on the other hand wants the day to acknowledge the service of ‘military personnel and civilian staff from various agencies’ in the Middle East Area of Operations, those who supported at home, and to honour those who lost their lives
“Australia joined its allies in the Middle East after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. On 11 July 2021, I confirmed that after 20 years, all Australian Defence Force personnel had departed Afghanistan, bringing our nation’s longest war to a close,” Minister Dutton said.
“A national day of commemoration will be a focal point for recognition of all those who served in, supported, or lost their lives during these campaigns.
“Noting the significance of this commemoration, we are seeking the views of ADF personnel, their families, veterans, ex-service organisations and the Australian community on an appropriate day to commemorate those who have served in the Middle East.
“Defence has established a website to facilitate this consultation which will be open for a period of two weeks from today, Monday 19 July, until Sunday 1 August 2021.”
Visit the web site and cast your vote here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Defence’s ‘consultation’ web site is limited to just three tick-and-flick questions, focused mainly on what date this new commemoration should be held.
More interestingly (to me at least), the web site is titled differently to the minister’s suggestion above – “Commemoration for Australians involved in the Middle East Area of Operations” versus “the service and sacrifice of Defence personnel and their families who helped to save Australian lives from terrorist attacks on our own soil“.
If Defence’s version is adopted, then diplomatic staff, AFP and spooks etc etc would (and civilian contractors should) also be included – while the minister’s version might include ADF members involved in border-protection duties, but exclude their other-agency colleagues.
It seems to me, Defence would like to restrict recognition on this new day of commemoration to Middle East operations only and the minister would like to restrict it to ADF only – or, in other words, ADF wants to focus on ‘what was done, where’ while the minister might be leaning towards the ‘why’.
I just want to also put it out there that I for one am damn proud and grateful to our state and (especially) federal police, spooks and others for directly protecting the home soil on multiple occasions – probably more often that we know.
I feel cheated that I couldn’t say so in this ‘consultation’ process!
P.S. I realise “The War on Terror” is what the Yanks call it. We actually don’t have a name for it. “Our nation’s longest war” doesn’t qualify for a name – or a succinct headline.