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Billson rolled by veterans.

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Media Release

ALAN GRIFFIN MP Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Federal Member for Bruce BILLSON ROLLED BY VETERANS Wednesday 16 August 2006 Veterans Affairs Minister, Bruce Billson, appears to have been forced into an embarrassing back down by the veterans’ community. The Minister attempted to force veterans’ groups in several states to accept unreasonable conditions regarding the provision of Federal funds to build Vietnam War memorials. Mr Billson sought to stop the flying of the former South Vietnamese flag as part these memorials. Veterans were rightly offended at this blatant political interference in the historical depiction of what occurred. “For the Government to attempt to use funding agreements to determine the design of war memorials is an outrageous interpretation of their role,” Mr Griffin said. “The South Vietnamese flag which our troops fought alongside remains an important icon for significant sections of the Australian-Vietnamese community as well as for our veterans. After the Prime Minister’s intervention Mr Billson now concedes that funding for the memorials can be provided as long as the South Vietnamese flag is not flown in the presence of an official government delegation. Whilst I welcome the about face, and respect that official protocols need to be adhered to, one must question why it got to a stage whereby the Prime Minister felt the need to intervene. Contact Alan Griffin: 0419 353 476