Labor shows support for Diggers

SUPPORTING OUR DIGGERS: Labor's Richard Marles and Dr Mike Freelander at the Ingleburn RSL, showing support for service men and women.
SUPPORTING OUR DIGGERS: Labor's Richard Marles and Dr Mike Freelander at the Ingleburn RSL, showing support for service men and women.

Labor has shown its support for Diggers amid the current allegations against SAS soldiers with a visit to the Ingleburn RSL.

Federal Deputy Labor Leader Richard Marles and Macarthur MP Dr Mike Freelander met with Macarthur Diggers for a BBQ and beer on Friday morning.

Marles and Freelander both said it was important to show support for the majority of hard-working soldiers who did the right thing during their service.

"The last thing we want to do is make this political. It is an issue that is difficult for the nation and needs to be handled with sensitivity and care," Mr Marles said.

"Our first thoughts should be with victims and their families in Afghanistan.

"But it would be a tragedy if we only see our engagement overseas through the prism of these allegations. Thousands of Australians gave distinguished service in Afghanistan and risked their lives and behaved honourably.

"It is important that there is a voice speaking on behalf of them to the Aussie people to let the people know that the vast majority of those that served did so with honour and in some cases sacrifice and they absolutely deserve our respect.

"The allegations in respect of a few do not detract from the sacrifice of the many. Thousands of Diggers should be proud of their service and we should feel proud of them."

Dr Freelander said he has always been impressed with the dedication of those who serve in the military.

"We have many still serving military personal in my electorate of MacArthur and I respect what they do. We have to give them credit for what we've asked them to do in Afghanistan," he said.

"We need to make sure people are not condemned before all the evidence is examined in a court of law and we don't blame the many for the actions of the few.

"It would be a shame if the Diggers on the ground were ones that were left carrying the can for all of this, we have to be very careful, from military command to politicians not to apportion blame until all the evidence is heard."

Ingleburn RSL sub-branch President Graham Toll said he appreciated Mr Marles' and Dr Freelanders' support.

"We were disappointed in the federal government and senior defence officials who appear to have labelled the members guilty without a trial," he said.

"They've blamed more than 2000 members and they've tarnished every soldier from the beginning of the conflict until now and I think that is unfair.

"I welcome Labor and anybody who supports our diggers and does not trash those who have not had a fair trial and those who are innocent because of the actions of a few.

"The meritorious service awards should not be taken from anybody unless they are found guilty of war crimes."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the allegations of war crimes against Australian soldiers are 'disturbing and distressing'.

"We need to ensure that the seriousness of the contents of this report are dealt with under the Australian justice system by Australians in accordance with our laws," he said.



This story Labor shows support for Diggers first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.