Coulton calls for all veterans to be honoured

PARKES MP Mark Coulton is seeking to redress what he calls a "shortfall in recognition" of Indigenous Australians who have laid their lives on the line in wartime.

As Remembrance Day on November 11 draws closer, the MP has put forward a motion in the federal parliament he hopes will "go some way to appropriately recognise the Indigenous servicemen and women for their significant contribution".

The issue is important to the MP, whose electorate has the second highest population of Aboriginal people after the Lingiari electorate in the Northern Territory.

The full involvement of Indigenous diggers in past wars and conflicts is the subject of continuing research.

Mr Coulton understands at least 1000 Aborigines or Torres Strait Islanders served in the First World War, and 3000 in the Second World War.

"However, due to the limited historical records, this figure could have been much higher," he said.

Mr Coulton said the difficulties Indigenous people encountered in serving Australia ranged from official restrictions that prevented them from entering the armed services to re-entering society post-war.

"One example of the difficulties is that some Indigenous Australians were not allowed in their local RSL except on ANZAC Day," he said.

"The ANZAC spirit is now celebrated by all Australians side by side."

The MP said friendships formed on the battlefield did not take into account a person's background or race.

"The bonds built during conflicts, between white and Indigenous Australians, should be celebrated in our history," he said.

"The sacrifices made by those representing this country are honoured by all Australians."

Parkes MP Mark Coulton.

Parkes MP Mark Coulton.


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