SENATOR THE HON LINDA REYNOLDS CSC
Minister for Defence
Senator for Western Australia
Defence will commemorate National Reconciliation Week (NRW) in a different way this year with virtual activities to be held between 27 May and 3 June 2020.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said Defence embraced and celebrated National Reconciliation Week each year as part of an ongoing commitment to Reconciliation and the Whole-of-Government ‘Closing the Gap’ strategy.
“Reconciliation is a responsibility we all share. Together, we can strengthen relationships and understanding between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the wider Australian community,” Minister Reynolds said.
“This year’s theme ‘In this together’ is resonating in unforeseen ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and reminds all Australians that the things we value most – our connectedness, wellbeing and mutual respect – are best achieved when we work together.”
Indigenous representation in the permanent Australian Defence Force (ADF) has increased over the past 12 months with now more than 1,800 Indigenous permanent ADF members.
“Participation continues to increase across the three Services, with a range of programs and strategies in place that are designed to help achieve a five per cent participation rate by 2025, as outlined in the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan (D-RAP)
,” Minister Reynolds said.
“As part of our commitment to the D-RAP and increasing the cultural capability of our workforce, a number of appointments have recently been made to promote and enhance Indigenous participation in Navy, Army and Air Force.”
Lieutenant Commander Samuel Sheppard and Commodore Mal Wise have been appointed to the Navy Indigenous Adviser and Navy Indigenous Champion roles.
Army has this month appointed Lorraine Hatton OAM, Aunty Lorraine, as its new Army Indigenous Elder.
Additionally, Air Force has appointed 12 members to the newly formed Indigenous Champions Network.
Defence has created a variety of virtual activities and short videos to recognise the importance of National Reconciliation Week as well as visually highlight the contributions of Defence Indigenous personnel and Defence’s achievements aligned to the D-RAP.