Greens agenda is dividing our council and community
I am writing as the city of Albury RSL sub-branch president to you, the community.
Do not let Councillor Amanda Cohn and her Greens supporters divide us for their political gain as we lead up to the Albury Council election in September.
When the debate about the two additional flagpoles at the Albury War Memorial comes to council on Monday night, I am not permitted to be in the council chamber as it is considered that I have a conflict of interest. I contend that so does Councillor Cohn as she has an equal interest in the outcome and must also step out of the chamber.
It is interesting to note that when the original motion came to council, Councillor Cohn added including two additional flag poles at the Albury War Memorial without any advanced discussion with her fellow councillors or the RSL.
I worked hard to encourage the Indigenous community to agree on the wording of a plaque for the War Memorial. This has been completed with their decision to include the Australian flag on the plaque along with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. This was their decision and not mine. I have given this plaque and interpretive panel the first position in the order of plaques to signify our respect of their service to our country.
I served for 46 years in the Australian Army alongside Indigenous service men and women. I was greatly influenced by my Aboriginal instructor at Recruit Training, Corporal Bobby Blair. I served in Vietnam alongside Aboriginal servicemen. Bullets do not discriminate because of the colour of your skin. We were all equal then, and now, as we continue to serve our country.
My final point is that the four councillors that supported Councillor Cohn have never served in the uniform of their country, the other four, have all served their country.
On February 15 at a council briefing on development applications, Councillor Cohn argued that if a petition listing 100 signatures is presented, that should be counted as 100 individuals. Accordingly, when reading through the submissions with regards to the flags protocol, then the fact that the RSL passed a motion to not support the addition of two additional flags, this submission should count as 150 based on membership.
In summary, the RSL and the veteran community are not anti the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags but do not believe that their place is at the Albury War Memorial. They are not flown in Canberra or Sydney as but two examples. If these two flags are to be flown at the War Memorial of which the RSL is the custodian, then equally we must also fly the Union Jack for those Australian soldiers including Indigenous servicemen that fought during the Boer War before the Australian flag was introduced in 1901, and also the United Nations flag under which Australians how served since 1947.
I believe Councillor Cohn has not justified or presented her case to any degree as she is simply following the Greens agenda.
Graham Docksey, OAM, JP, Albury
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