RSL reaffirms Aboriginal flag stance

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

The Aboriginal flag will not fly at Albany’s Anzac Day services next year after the Returned Services League of Australia reviewed its flag policy.

It comes after RSLWA president Peter Aspinall placed the flag protocol review on the national RSL agenda after a debate following the absence of the flag at Anzac Day services in Albany in April.

The national executive of RSL handed down the decision at its July meeting.

“National RSL have reaffirmed that for RSL-conducted commemoration services, the gazetted Australian national flag is the only one we will fly, along with the formal national flag of any relevant ally to that commemoration,” Mr Aspinall said.

However, he said this protocol only related to RSL-conducted commemoration services and had been the position since Federation. “There is only one flag that represents Australia as a nation and all of those vet-erans that served did so be-cause they were acting and committed to those conflicts by the Australian Government,” he said.

“The fact is the national policy of the RSL is that the only flag that formally represents the nation of Australia is the Australian national flag.”

The Australian Flags booklet by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet outlines the order of precedence of flags in Australia:

Australian national flag.

Other nations’ national flags in alphabetical order — for example, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

State flags (NSW, Victoria, Queensland , South Australia, WA and Tasmania).

Territory flags (ACT and NT).

Other flags prescribed by the Flags Act 1953 — for example the Australian Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag.

Australian Defence Force Ensign.

Australian White Ensign.

Royal Australian Air Force Ensign.

Merchant Marine flag.

RSL Albany sub-branch Geoff McNeill said the RSL sub-branch had always followed the flag protocol.

“As an RSL, we agree there is only one Australian flag and that is the one we will fly,” he said. “That is in accordance with Flag Act, which is an act of Parliament.”

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