Veterans are up in arms about official emails from the Department of Veterans Affairs displaying indigenous and rainbow flags to the exclusion of the Australian national flag.
One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson said she had written to veterans’ affairs minister Matt Keogh, as well as the Prime Minister and Opposition leader, questioning why emails from the Department displayed any flags other than the Australian flag.
“Veterans who have served with the Australian flag literally sewn on their uniforms have received emails from this Department replete with indigenous and rainbow flags and the obligatory ‘acknowledgement of country’, but no Australian flag,” Senator Hanson said.
“Upon raising this matter with the Minister’s office, one veteran of Afghanistan and East Timor was told by a senior adviser Australia is a stronger society for its diversity. I agree, so why should the flag which represents all of Australia in all of its diversity be excluded in favour of flags which do not represent all of us?
“Is the Department ashamed of the Australian flag? Does the Minister believe the Australian national flag does not represent one of the most socially diverse and inclusive countries in the world?
“Veterans would like the Minister to please explain how excluding our national flag makes people feel Australia is inclusive and socially diverse. They would like him to please explain why his Department considers the Australian flag is not appropriate to be displayed on its correspondence while indigenous and rainbow flags are.”
Senator Hanson said it was important for the Department to prioritise services to veterans instead of signalling virtues unworthy of the label.
“As the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide has established, the Department has some important systemic issues to address,” she said. “These should take priority over ham-fisted attempts at virtue-signalling which only serve to alienate and marginalise Australians.”