Derek Sims
Derek Sims

RSL chief condemns Ray Martin

CHANNEL 9 current affairs host Ray Martin was condemned for promoting debate on the Australian flag on Anzac Day during yesterday’s Anzac memorial service in Murwillumbah – with the crowd of nearly a thousand applauding RSL sub-branch president Derek Sims.

The crowd clapped heartily in support of Mr Sims after he told the gathering a planned TV debate of the flag’s future on Mr Martin’s 60 Minutes television show last night should have been held on a different day.

“One of the ideals we veterans served for is free speech,” Mr Sims said.

“But the RSL thinks Mr Martin could have picked a better day other than Anzac Day to discuss this on TV.

“Let him do it on Australia Day.

“A lot of men died and were maimed under that flag.

“I condemn Mr Martin for having that show put on on Anzac Day.”

National Party state MP for Lismore Thomas George, who attended the mid-morning service in Murwillumbah, said he had been astounded by the criticism of Mr Martin by people he spoke to in both Murwillumbah and at the dawn service in Lismore.

“I’ve never had so much opposition and disgust expressed to me,” Mr George said.

“I was at the dawn service in Lismore and the number of people who came up to me unsolicited and expressed outrage at even discussion about changing the flag was remarkable.”

For the sixth year the Murwillumbah RSL sub-branch invited high school representatives to conduct the official part of the service.

Tweed Valley College captains R’chelle Louwen and Callum Burns took to the podium to give the official address.

Callum said Anzac Day was one to remember the sacrifice of men and women who had died for “an ideal and a way of life” while R’chelle asked the gathering to “mourn with pride” those who had died.

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