BY TRACKER, APRIL 12, 2012
NATIONAL: The ACT Liberals have attacked a planned Aboriginal march on ANZAC Day, stating it is “disrespectful”.
One of the four original founders of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy – Michael Anderson – is planning a peaceful march in Canberra to commemorate the history of past massacres and “genocidal” mistreatment of Aboriginal people, Fairfax newspapers reports.
“Our country was taken by superior force at gunpoint,” Mr Anderson told Fairfax.
”Blood has been spilt on the wattle and this war of attrition against Aboriginal people is continuing.”
But the march has been attacked by the Canberra Liberals, with Opposition Indigenous affairs spokesperson Jeremy Hanson stating it risked “causing anger and division”.
”Any protest risks not only disrupting an important commemorative event for the nation but risks causing anger and division in our community which may impede reconciliation,” Mr Hanson told the Canberra Times newspaper.
But Mr Anderson says it is not a protest.
”That’s not a protest – it’s a march commemorating the dead and the people who died in defence of their land, on their land,” Mr Anderson told the Canberra Times.
”The march will go ahead and I think it will be received in the same way it was received last year, with warm and welcoming arms.”
There is a growing recognition of the service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans in the armed forces, with marches commemorating their contribution now held throughout the country.
Many fought equally for the Australian defence forces, only to be treated unequally when they returned home.