Friday 23 Feb 2018 | 16:56 | SYDNEY
Friday 23 Feb 2018 | 16:56 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Gillard's last military funeral



24 August 2011 13:42

An Australian Army officer writes:

The presence of politicians at military funerals fulfils a number of important roles:

  1. comfort to the family that the government respects the role their loved one performed on behalf of this nation;
  2. recognition to past, present, and future service personnel that the government respects their roles;
  3. public identification and endorsement of the military role;
  4. a neutral space where politicians can be seen as being united.

We have been blessed with only 28 funerals to date whereas allied nations have suffered much heavier losses. Should our losses increase and the Prime Minister be so heavily committed that the incumbent feels unable to be present, the funerals should be delayed until such time as the PM can attend. The presence of the PM is not token. It means very much to family and service personnel alike. For the PM to delegate the responsibility to another degrades the value of the military role.

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