RSL bans flying of the Aboriginal flag at Anzac ceremonies

RSL bans flying of the Aboriginal flag at Anzac ceremonies

  • RSLWA has introduced new rules for Anzac and Remembrance Day ceremonies
  • The Aboriginal flag can no longer be flown during both commemorative services
  • The policy also stated that the Welcome to Country is not ‘appropriate’ 
  • An Aboriginal elder read the Welcome to Country in Noongar language last year
  • RSLWA complained that it was not English and the board decided to ban it 

An Australian RSL has banned the flying of the Aboriginal flag and the performance of Welcome to Country at all of its Anzac and Remembrance Day ceremonies. 

The WA branch of the RSL said all content except the NZ anthem must be in English in its new policy released on Friday. 

‘While having utmost respect for the traditional owners of land upon which such sites and memorials are located, RSLWA does not view it appropriate that a Welcome to Country is used at sites that were specifically established to pay homage to those who died and who came from a wide range of cultural backgrounds,’ the policy stated, according to the ABC. 

The new policy came in response to complaints from RSLWA members, who did not like that an Aboriginal elder had read the Welcome to Country in his native tongue. 

Professor Len Collard read the Welcome to Country in the Noongar language during an Anzac Day dawn service in Fremantle last year. 

Speaking to the broadcaster, RSLWA chief executive John McCourt said some of his members told the board that this was not appropriate. 


  • All content, bar the New Zealand national anthem, is to be presented or sung in English
  • Only the Australian, New Zealand and WA flags may be flown
  • No Welcome to Country and/or Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies
  • Respecting the right of regal, vice-regal and government representatives to use the Acknowledgement of Country but not at the dawn service or services at recognised war memorials