In which our intrepid hero makes another brief note about ANZAC Day.

Waiting to watch Spicks and Specks, I caught an ABC News update, which mentioned that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen decided not to march in ANZAC Day Parades and instead held their own services.

By all means, I don’t begrudge them the right to hold their own services, but the news story implied that they chose to do so in protest of discrimination against returned indigenous servicemen from war past. Apparently, they were denied land grants and resettlement that non-Indigenous servicemen received.

Now, maybe they’ve also been denied the right to march with other veterans, but I doubt it. If the half-dozen Estonian ex-servicemen or the Rhodesian ex-services—whose country hasn’t even existed for nearly 30 years—can march, I don’t see why Aboriginals or Torres Strait Islanders would be excluded.

I suspect that the decision to hold separate services—as many things in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities seem to—exists only to benefit a few individuals’ cynical exploitation of their own peoples.

The sensible thing to address the mistreatment of returned Indigenous personnel would be to march with the rest of the veterans—and use that to raise the issue’s public profile.

After all, events like the Walk for Reconciliation show clearly that non-Indigenous Australians—the other 98.6% of the population—have an awareness and a sympathy for Indigenous issues.

Once again, the cause of reconciliation is hindered by the very people who should be promoting it in a positive manner.

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