Repatriation event: Where are our leaders? 8



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Australians arrive at Tan Son Nhut Airport, Saigon.

The remains of 33 Australians, who were buried in military cemeteries in Malaysia and Singapore, have been returned to Australia.

And while hundreds of people gathered at the RAAF Richmond airbase to see one of the largest military repatriations in Australia’s history, Malcolm Turnbull was inspecting a $75,000 mattress and Bill Shorten was eating oysters and patting a rat at the Sydney Fish Markets, reports Herald Sun.

Former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally says Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten should have been at the repatriation ceremony of military servicemen in NSW today.

“It’s a misstep” from both leaders, she said to Herald Sun.

She said it was especially perplexing because the PM and Opposition Leader are both in Sydney today.

The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader were obvious absentees from the service where the bodies of 25 veterans, two spouses and six children repatriated from Singapore’s Kranji Cemetery and Terendak Cemetery in Malaysia where they were buried five decades ago.

A member of the public, Samantha Hudson said, “Those days, our soldiers were treated badly. They were spat on and yelled at for fighting a war people were against. And now, it looks like nothing’s changed.”

Those gathered for the repatriation ceremony include several hundred Vietnam War veterans, servicemen and families of those who died.

ABC reports, the remains include those of service personnel and dependents interred at Terendak Military Cemetery in Malaysia, and the Australian who died during the Vietnam War and was interred in the Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore.

Vietnam veteran Lieutenant Colonel Ian Henderson said it was “wonderful” to see the remains returned to Australia.

“When I saw the smoke of the nose wheel of the second aircraft I thought, they’re at home,” he said.

“In a way it’s the culmination for Vietnam veterans that it’s happened. That none of our compatriots are left overseas.

“The Army went to great lengths to discover those who had been missing in action, at great lengths to find their bodies a couple of years ago.

“This is right that this ought to happen and bring them back as they have.”

Office of Australian War Graves director Ken Corke said it was a moving event for loved ones, “We’re pretty clear now that there’s going to be a range of different emotions today. [People will be] extremely happy that the 50 years of waiting has finally come to fruition,” he said.

“But equally for some, the grief is as raw today as it was 50 years ago. And for some of them, they will find it a very difficult day.”

How does this story make you feel? Is there any excuse for any critical government official to miss this ceremony?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Goes to prove PM’s & Opp Ldr’s priorities. Themselves, first, & last!

    Utterly disgraceful!

    Those brought home run rings around them. They’ve much more moral backbone than those two could ever have!

    Our ADF are just the best, & should obtain the respect they’re due, at ALL times!

  2. The government sent them to their deaths and then didn’t bother to bring them back home. Everyday Australian’s are showing their respect to these people and their families and once again reliving the horrors of the Vietnam War. Don’t worry about politicians, they cause all the problems anyway. The people who matter were there. RIP. Back home at last.

    1 REPLY
    • Summed up well Deborah….”Those who matter were there”…Thank you

  3. I think it was a disgraceful omission on the part of both leaders not to attend. Of course, once a war is over, veterans are often seen as an inconvenience to politicians. The Liberals sent the soldiers to Vietnam, Labour brought them back, and any decent, fair minded person would think that at least one of the leaders could have attended. I am sure the mattress and the lunch could have waited until another time. Of course, dead soldiers can’t vote, but their relatives and friends can, and hopefully they will.
    I am sad and sickened by this kind of behaviour. Who the hell do these politicians think they are?
    RIP Heroes. Glad you finally made it home. Lest We Forget.

  4. its all good Mal was just laying down on the job as usual & Bill was hanging out with his mate [ the rat ] just goes to show how much the care factor is with both these 2

    1 REPLY
  5. This shows us what a selfish mob of twats our polices are.

  6. These men gave their lives- our (so called) leaders could not give a few hours- disgraceful

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