Last year’s Anzac dawn service in Fremantle saw Aboriginal elder Professor Len Collard read out the Ode of Remembrance in Noongar language, causing the development of the new policy.
From now, all content (except the New Zealand anthem) must be presented in English. RSLWA has banned the Aboriginal flag and only the Australian, New Zealand, and WA flags are allowed to be flown.
Members of the RSL weren’t happy, complaining that the reading was inappropriate for an Anzac Day service.
The new policy states that the RSLWA recognises that, “while Indigenous Australians in the First World War served on equal terms, they were subjected to discrimination after the war in areas such as education, employment and civil liberties.”
Yet the ban goes ahead as they want their ceremonies to unite, not to divide. Many members of the public have taken to social media and Twitter in rage, questioning RSLWA’s decision.
Another day in WA as @RSLWA bans the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags at ANZAC and Remembrance Day services. You refused to acknowledge when mob served, and now you continue to refuse to acknowledge us.
— Anton Schirripa (@schirriant) February 20, 2020
The fundamental issue that the @RSLWA decision again highlights is that Australia STILL does not accept Aboriginal culture and history as its own culture and history. Its this little thing off to the side for “them” to celebrate on “their” days.
I dream of the day this changes.
— Roanna Edwards (@Roanna_Edwards) February 21, 2020
Chief Executive of RSLWA John McCourt spoke to the ABC about the decision, informing them the board could withdraw its support from the ceremonies if they do not abide by the new policy.
“All the RSL is asking for is two days,” he said.
I would suggest to @RSLWA that these guys fought and died for your colonial flag without recognition and are therefore well entitled to their own. And as there was never a treaty, this IS their country, upon which YOU are a tenant. pic.twitter.com/OtFiQpO05r
— SaintOtto – RogueScholar (@OttoCuddly) February 21, 2020