Legislative Council: Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Aboriginal Veterans Commemorative Service

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (14:38): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

Members interjecting:


The Hon. R.B. MARTIN: Will the minister inform the council—

Members interjecting:


The Hon. R.B. MARTIN: —about the 2022 Aboriginal veterans commemorative service and launch of the book titled For Love of Country?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:38): I thank the honourable member for his important question. It would be a great pleasure to inform him of the commemorative service and the launch of the book. At the end of Reconciliation Week recently, on 3 June, I had the opportunity to attend the 2022 annual Aboriginal veterans commemorative service and launch of the new book by Ian Smith, who is co-chair of the Aboriginal Veterans of South Australia, titled For Love of Country.

I want to thank a number of parliamentary colleagues who were there at that service, including the Hon. Justin Hanson and the new member for Waite, Catherine Hutchesson MP, from another place. Also from the other place, the member for Dunstan, Steven Marshall, and Mr Adrian Pederick were in attendance.

For 16 years, the Aboriginal Veterans Commemorative Service has run to honour those who have and who continue to serve our country. While it was a very wet and cold morning, the sombre nature and the importance of the event were not detracted from by the weather. The morning started with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by Flight Lieutenant Steven Warrior, followed by the keynote address by guest of honour Lance Corporal Joanne Simpson-Lyttle, an Indigenous woman who is currently serving.

Those commemorating the service reflected with live music and an acoustic rendition by Katie Aspel of the Vonda Last song For Love of Country, and the background music later was provided by the Naval band, which was exceptional as always. Once again, dozens of tributes were placed at the base of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial, which included a number of wreaths but also, in an increasing and I think welcome trend, quite a number of new books.

The placement of new wrapped books at the base of war memorials as a tribute sounds a little different but this has been an initiative run over a number of years now. Once the service is over, these books are collected and donated primarily to regional Aboriginal schools that can benefit from these new books.

There were a number of Australian Army cadets present who contributed to the commemoration. It was pleasing to see so many young people, not just the cadets, interested in the service and interested in paying tribute to those who have served. This follows on from the service each year that happens on ANZAC Day. I have reflected in this chamber before about the ANZAC Day service on North Terrace that had a particularly inspirational component paying tribute to Aboriginal people who have served, as well as the ANZAC Day service at the memorial at the Torrens Parade Ground.

The morning finished with a gathering in the drill hall to hear from Ian Smith, who launched his new book For Love of Country about Indigenous men and women from South Australia who have served in the Australian Defence Force since Federation. I particularly want to acknowledge Veterans SA for putting on such an important event. I encourage members of the council to get online and see if they can find the book and do themselves a favour and buy a copy.