Shadow Cabinet opposes placing the Australian War Memorial amidst partisan debate

Shadow Cabinet has opposed any move that could put the Australian War Memorial at the centre of partisan political debate, saying its sanctity as a shrine of remembrance to Australian servicemen and women who made sacrifices in conflicts against an external foe, must be preserved.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Barnaby Joyce, said the Coalition recognised the historic conflicts between Europeans and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations referred to by some as the ‘frontier wars’; and recognised the historic internecine conflicts amongst Australia’s first nations’ peoples.

“The fundamental element is that the War Memorial was built in sacred recognition of wars that Australians fought as a nation, unified against an external foe. It is not to be a memorial for conflicts within Australia”, he said.

“The truth of both is absolute but the fundamental element is different. There are many memorials in Australia and in Canberra that represent the ultimate sacrifice of the person who lays down their life for others in a noble cause, but they are not all in the Australian War Memorial. This does not judge the value of those lives as different.

“Shadow Cabinet resolved that conflicts involving first nations’ people are best remembered at Ngurra, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Precinct, for which design work is already underway”, Mr Joyce said.

The new Ngurra facility, which the former Coalition Government had already committed nearly $320 million towards, will be built in the Parliamentary Triangle between Old Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial, in the heart of the nation’s capital.

“It’s positioning between the Australian War Memorial and the Parliament, by its very location, is a better philosophical representation of the issues pertinent to internal conflict as opposed to a common sacrifice against an external foe”, he said.

“It is proposed this will be both a learning centre and a national resting place for the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains. Over time, Ngurra will collect its own traditions and rituals that will be born from its national status as a place to celebrate, educate, reflect, and commemorate”, he said.

Mr Joyce said the Australian War Memorial was a place of unity which remembered all those who had fought for Australia, for a common purpose against a common foe.

“Conflicts within Australia that pitted Australians against other Australians in our own land, in some instances internecine, should be represented and discussed in a memorial that takes into account this significant difference, and not at the Australian War Memorial which has its philosophical remit in the carnage suffered by those who went to fight for Australia in the First World War”, Mr Joyce said.

The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP

Member for New England

Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

2 Field Ambulance Vietnam 1966/7

Forming part of the Australian Military committment in South Vietnam in 1966, 2 Field Ambulance was committed to Vietnam in March 1966 to support the Australian forces in Vietnam. Stationed at Vung Tau from 1 April 1966 until 5 July 1967, the unit included a 50 bed hospital element, a hygiene squad, a medical stores component and a surgical team comprising a surgeon and anaesthetist.

A detachment of the field ambulance moved to the Task Force base at Nui Dat to establish a subsidiary minor medical facility, its main function, to provide emergency medical treatment before evacuation for more definitive treatment. Medical facilities were supplemented by Regimental Aid Posts from some Task Force units.

8 Field Ambulance( tour 2 March 1967-12 March 1972) replaced 2 Field Ambulance in April 1967 and provided medical facilities at Vung Tau and Nui Dat until 1972.

On the 1st April, 1968, 1 Australian Field Hospital was opened at Vung Tau and catered for the Austalian wounded until 21 November 1971.

 

The Massacre of the 3rd Light Horse

Disaster at the Nek: The Massacre of the Australian 3rd Light Horse;
7th August 1915 “Goodbye and God Bless”

By Lieutenant Colonel Alistair Pope, psc, CM (Australian Army, Retired)

Introduction

In Peter Weir’s film “Gallipoli” when Mel Gibson screamed an anguished “No!” everyone in the audience was horrified as they knew that 600 men were being sent to their death. In the film Gibson failed to reach the Command Post in time to prevent the charge of the 8th & 10th Light Horse Regiments at the Nek. Weir’s film was good cinema, but bad history. In the film indolent and uncaring tea-drinking British officers were blamed for the Australian disaster at the Nek, when in fact it was an entirely Australian affair. The destruction of the 8th and part of the 10th Light Horse became something that everyone in Australia knew about, but nobody mentioned. As a result incompetent officers continued their careers uninterrupted by blame or guilt – while their heroic soldiers died needless deaths. One question that continues to intrigue historians, sociologists and psychologists today is: why did they do it? There are some indisputable facts about the disaster that befell the 8th and 10th Light Horse Regiments; the rest is myth, legend and truly heroic sacrifice.

The ‘plan’ to capture the Turkish position at “The Nek” was as simple as any attack plan can be. Bombard the enemy for thirty minutes then charge them head-on and capture or kill them with the bayonet.

The Reasons for the Attack

After the amphibious landings on 25th April 1915 at ANZAC cove any chance of advancing across the peninsula had petered out. By May the initiative was lost and a ‘Western Front’ stalemate among the hills and gullies of the peninsula was solidly in place. Both sides were now well-entrenched and any attack to gain a few metres could only be made at an extraordinary price in lives. In August just such an attack was planned by the Allies to break the deadlock by capturing the high ground of a feature called Sari Bair then held by the Turks. This advance was eventually designed to link up with a new landing taking place further up the peninsula at Suvla Bay.

To reach the Turkish entrenchments on “Baby 700” required crossing ‘The Nek’, an area about the size of three tennis courts, and no more than 30 yards wide. The attack by the Australian 3rd Light Horse Brigade was planned as a diversion, supported by an attack by the New Zealanders from the rear of the position, from Chunuk Bair, a position they were due to capture during the night of 6th August 915.

The Attack

The attack was due to commence at 04.30 am of 7th August, preceded by a 30 minute naval bombardment. However, as the watches of the naval gunners and the troops had not been synchronized the guns fell silent seven minutes early. The Light Horsemen waited while the Turkish soldiers re-occupied their positions and set up interlocking machine guns. At the due time the first wave of 150 men of the 8th Light Horse ‘went over the top’, led by their commander, Lt Col A. H. White. They were mown down in seconds, but it was reported
(almost certainly incorrectly) that some made it to the Turkish trenches. Based on this report the second wave attacked two minutes later and were also massacred.

The Commander of the Western Australian 10th Light Horse, Lt Col N. M. Brazier appealed to the Brigade Major, Colonel J. M. Antill to call off the slaughter, but Antill (who thoroughly disliked Brazier) simply replied “Push on.”

Brazier returned to his regiment and ordered the third wave to charge. The ‘battle’ had become nothing less than plain murder. The Turks were now thoroughly ready and killed or wounded all 150 men within thirty seconds of leaving their own parapet! Brazier again appealed to Antill to stop the slaughter – and received the same reply to “Push on.” However, this time Brazier found the Brigade Commander, Brigadier Hughes who lamely suggested trying a different angle of attack. Finally Hughes agreed to call off the attack, but before Brazier could return to the trenches the left flank of the fourth line rose from their trench and charged without orders in the absolute certainty that they would be killed. Their attack went no further than their predecessors.

Supporting Attacks

It would be remiss to honour these warriors without mentioning some other equally brave actions on the same day. At Quinn’s Post, in another diversionary attack 2nd Light Horse Regiment of the 1st Light Horse Brigade sent 50 men in the first of four waves to attack a Turkish trench less than 20 yards (18 metres) away. The follow up attack was called off when
49 of the 50 troops were killed without crossing even this short space. In a supporting attack two companies of the Royal Welch Fusiliers launched an attack against a strong position called the “Chessboard” (because of its interlocking trenches). That attack was also abandoned after 65 casualties were incurred for no gain.

The Results

It is often said that as WW1 was a war of attrition in which the measure of success is the number of enemy casualties inflicted compared to one’s own. By any measure August 7th,
1915 was a disaster for the Australians. Of the 500 or so men from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade who charged at the Nek that day 372 were killed or wounded. The cemetery at the Nek contains the remains of 316 Australians. A further 49 died from 1st Light Horse Brigade and 65 from the Royal Welch Fusiliers. It is possible that the Turks may have suffered a few casualties.

Their Epitaph

Trooper Harold Rush died in the third wave. His headstone in the Walker’s Ridge Cemetery records his last words to friend nearby:

“Goodbye Cobber; God Bless You”

As the Author, Les Carlyon writes after visiting the scene of such heroism – and such a waste of heroes, “… visitors to the peninsula stare at the words and wonder why, when they open their mouths, no words come out.”

The question of ‘why’ remains unanswered and forever unanswerable. The Australians of that era felt a need to prove they had the grit and fortitude to be the equal of any in the British Empire. But those were also the days when supporting your ‘cobbers’ (friends and colleagues) was the most important part of the ethos of a pioneering, frontier nation. They died for each other as that counted for more to them than life itself or anything else.

They truly embodied the Spartan epitaph at Thermopylae:

 

Gunners on target

Exercise Chau Pha

Gunners, forward observers and command post officers of the 4th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery (4 Regt) were put through their paces on one of the most explosive and dynamic artillery exercises.

Exercise Chau Pha, held at the Townsville field training area in June, was designed to progress live-fire certification from battery to regimental level, and prove the regiment’s ability to provide offensive support to combat teams within the battlespace.

Lieutenant Genevieve Butler, from 106 Battery, completed her first live-fire plan as a command post officer (CPO) during the exercise and said it was a high-pressure, high-reward experience.

“When you’ve got live ammunition and people relying on you to know the information is accurate, it is really daunting,” Lieutenant Butler said.

“But we’ve also got the staff around us for safety and the gunners know what they’re doing, so it’s a seamless exercise.”

As the CPO, Lieutenant Butler was responsible for receiving the forward observers’ call for fire and computing that data for the gunline to then engage specific targets within precise timeframes.

“It’s pretty cool to be commanding the battery, as my first live-fire activity as well,” she said.

“Having the ability to facilitate all of those rounds being sent down range and working with the gun line, it’s a pretty rewarding experience.”

Lieutenant Butler said there was a great sense of relief after completing the mission successfully.

“When you’re sitting in the protected mobility vehicle during a fire mission, sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s going smoothly, but then you hear the rounds are landing on target. Hearing that play out in real life is a really good feeling,” she said.

PHOTO

Australian Army Gunners Thomas Graham, left, and Zach Campbell from the 4th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, load the M777 155mm Howitzer during Exercise Chau Pha. Photo: Gunner Gregory Scott

Sending more than 300 bombs down range from his gun detachment in just one day, 106 Battery Delta detachment commander Bombardier Patrick Bartlett said the opportunity to conduct large live-fire missions was an unmatched experience of adrenaline and physical endurance.

“Shooting bombs is one of those uniquely addictive experiences you get to experience in Defence,” Bombardier Bartlett said.

“There’s really nothing that compares to finishing a fire mission with large fire rates; it’s an absolute dream.

“Physically, artillery is one of the most explosive and high-intensity jobs. The gun preparation is pretty taxing; the guys are lifting 45 kilo bombs at a minimum, barrel-ramming and getting repelling charges ready. It can be exhausting.”

But many hands make light work, and Bombardier Bartlett said there was a lot of training and preparation to ensure all the gunners were prepared to execute high-level live-fire plans in the field.

“Team synchronicity is absolutely paramount,” he said.

“We can’t move the gun without a team effort and that’s why we train our lads really hard, so they can integrate with anyone in our battery and do their drills accordingly.”

The regiment is now certified to participate in the upcoming Brolga series of exercises, where it will integrate as the 3rd Combat Brigade’s organic fire support.

A Diggers Post

Hi Ray ,

 An old mate of mine Gary (Lumps) Swalling “Nasho 12 Intake Queenslander“ Vietnam 69/70  has just put this up on YouTube. If you think it’s good to send out on your “Veteranweb” and Importantly “Lumps” gives his approval, I will leave it up to you. This is not the first clip that Lumps has published on YouTube.
Mike Sheahan

VALE: Colin Garson – RAA

Peter Gore has advised us of the death on 1 May 2022 of RAAA(Q) Life Subscriber and loyal supporter Colin (Col) Garson. He was a regular attendee at their lunches, only ceasing when he was no longer physically able to manage. Col had been in Residential Aged Care for some time and was admitted to Prince Charles Hospital (Chermside), where he died a short time later.

Col’s history included National Service in the 50s and 60s, with RAA postings to both 11 Fd Regt and 5 Fd Regt.  He was 89 years young.

Funeral details will be advised when available.

RIP Col Garson – a true gentleman.

Peter Bruce

Obituary Resource Officer

VALE : 2781739 PETER HOWARD DETTMAN, D COY 6 RAR, JUN 66 TO JUN 67

Sadly we have been informed by John Heslewood & Barry Vassella, that Peter Howard (DETTO) DETTMAN passed away on Friday 1 April 2022 from a heart attack.

At this time, it will be a private family funeral, location, time etc are unknown.   If any more information becomes available, we’ll let you know.

Please join us in offering our deepest sympathy to those who will mourn the passing of a loved one.  Another 6 RAR family member, taken too soon.

LEST WE FORGET

Allan Whelan, Secretary

Another story of Woke top brass

No matter what your profession, who’d want to be employed by these woke top brass?

It’s good to hear both sides of the story rather than the version that the press wants to spread.

Zachary Rolfe, a former 1RAR veteran felt more comfortable in Kabul than in Alice Springs.

 

Zachary Rolfe documentary exclusive: murder-charge NT cop reveals why he shot Kumanjayi Walker and how he tried to save his life.

My name is Zach Rolfe. I am a Northern Territory police officer.
I was born in Canberra and grew up here.

My mum Debbie is a lawyer and my dad Richard is a car dealer. I have two older brothers who are twins

I finished Year 12 in 2009 and in 2010 I joined the army.

I was posted to 1RAR in Townsville. I spent five years in the infantry and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.

In 2016 I joined the NT Police. I’d never been to the NT before that.

Upon graduation from the police academy in December 2016 I moved straight down to Alice Springs, which had been my first preference for a posting.

From what I’d heard it was the busiest station and the most volatile environment so I’d wanted to dive into the deep end and learn my craft down there.

The move was definitely eye-opening. To be honest, for the first few weeks in Alice I would have felt more comfortable in Kabul. It was a completely different world to Canberra where I’d grown up.

But I quickly adjusted and I loved the work. I still love it. I loved the station and working with the boys and girls on the ground.

My short-term goal was to master general policing down there before eventually applying for the Territory Response Group up in Darwin.

I applied for TRG because I want to be in that specialist unit and do the jobs that they do. To me, that’s the pinnacle of policing.

I successfully completed TRG selection in August 2018 and was waiting for a spot to open up.

In the meantime, I was happy in Alice Springs. Policing down there is very busy.

Most of our jobs are with the Indigenous community. They’re mostly domestic violence offences, alcohol-related violence offences and property offences such as break-ins.

There’s probably a higher level of violence towards police there than in other areas. I think most police in Alice Springs have been assaulted.

Since the incident at Yuendumu, NT Police have been labelled racist, but it’s simply not true.

I personally don’t care what race anyone is. I never have and never will. Race will never affect how I police or my perception, regardless of how many jobs we attend. I care about people’s behaviour, not their race.

Also, I honestly have not witnessed racism among my colleagues during my time policing.

I’ve had a number of complaints against me about use of force. They have all been investigated and, in all cases, I’ve been cleared.

Those incidents all required force to be used. That force was never excessive – it was relative to the situation on the day.

I’m a member of the Immediate Response Team (IRT) which is a semi-tactical group in Alice Springs used for high-risk jobs and high-priority arrest targets.

It depends on the job and how long we expect to be away but generally we deploy as a minimum team of four.

On Saturday November 9 I was rostered for an evening shift starting at 3pm and ending at 1am.

At 2.30pm I was just about to leave my house to go into work when I got a call from the sergeant saying that I was being sent, as a member of the IRT, to Yuendumu to arrest Arnold Walker.

Walker was a high priority arrest target because of his propensity for violence.

Information on the ground indicated that when he was at Yuendumu, he was the most prolific “breaker” in the community.

We were aware that since being released from prison in October Walker had breached his parole by cutting off his Electronic Monitoring Device and that he had returned to Yuendumu.

We were also aware that on Wednesday November 6, a few days prior to the IRT being deployed, he had assaulted two local police with an axe during an attempted arrest.

The officers involved are extremely lucky because they both could have been seriously injured or killed that day.

Immediately after that November 6 incident, the Remote Sergeant at Yuendumu started negotiating with the family of Walker’s partner for them to bring him into the local police station to be peacefully taken into custody.

The family had stated that they would comply but three days after the axe incident they still hadn’t surrendered him.

Walker was a fit, strong young man and the Yuendumu police realised they needed a higher response in order to arrest him, so on Saturday November 9 the Sergeant requested the IRT attend.

We were going to arrest him – not just for the breach of parole as has been reported – but also for assaulting police with an axe and then damaging their vehicle.

On November 9, we were briefed on the general details at the police station in Alice Springs but we didn’t have much intelligence or know where he was, so the plan was to get to Yuendumu and gather further information there.

I’d never been to Yuendumu before November 9.

Two of the IRT members were senior police officers. Myself and another member had military experience. We also went out there with a K9 handler and his German Shepherd.

We travelled in three vehicles.

The dog handler left before us and started performing active patrols upon arrival in Yuendumu.

Soon after, myself and the other three IRT members left Alice Springs in two vehicles.

We arrived at the Yuendumu police station at about 6.30pm and had a quick intel briefing there with the Remote Sergeant, Julie Frost.

I got maps of the area and we left the Yuendumu police station just before 7pm.

It was coming to dusk. There was ambient light outside but inside houses it was getting dark.

Each of us had Tasers, Glocks, pepper spray and batons. One of the boys was carrying a beanbag shotgun and another was carrying a rifle.

The other boys were wearing their police-issued load bearing vests with armour inside.

I was wearing covert body armour under my general duties police shirt. That’s just my preference as it’s a bit lighter and I can move better in it.

We all had body-worn cameras on and as soon as we stepped out of the cars, those cameras were rolling.

First, we attended the house where the axe incident had occurred on November 6 and a man there informed us that Walker was at another group of houses approximately 600m away.

Unfortunately, because we only had the light information that it could have been any one of the three houses, we couldn’t put in a proper cordon.

So, two of the IRT guys and the K9 handler acted as spotters on the external sides of the houses in case Walker ran.

Myself and another officer just started talking to the people in the yard, asking them for information and whether they’d seen Walker or his ‘wife’ Rickisha.

Everyone who we spoke to, who turned out to be his family, told us that they had not seen him, didn’t know where he was and that he definitely was not inside the house where we found him.

Myself and my partner walked into the middle house – the red house – and immediately bumped into a man matching Walker’s description on his way towards the front door.

He approached us and tried to walk past us. We asked him his name and he told us it was Vernon Dickson.

At that point, the man’s hands were empty which is why I got so close to him.

I asked him just to stand next to the wall while I put my phone next to his face to compare him to the mugshot I had saved.

The mugshots aren’t ideal but I could see that it was Walker and slipped my phone back into my pocket.

I tried to keep him calm, told him that everything was fine and asked him to put his hands behind his back.

He then reached into his pocket and grabbed the scissors.

At that point, as fast as it can, the interaction escalated from nothing to 100 per cent.

Walker hit me twice in the head and I could tell from boxing experience that he was hitting me wrong. He wasn’t using his fists and his hand was angled a bit differently.

Then I looked at his right fist and saw a metal blade before I felt it penetrate my shoulder which I was using to protect my neck.

I didn’t immediately identify the weapon as a pair of scissors but that doesn’t change what I would’ve done. You can still kill someone extremely easily with a pair of metal scissors.

I then hit Walker, giving him a quick jab and stepping back to create distance.

My partner hadn’t observed the blade and stepped in, going hands-on with Walker, to effect the arrest.

At this point, I observed Walker strike my partner in the chest and neck area with the blade multiple times.

I pulled out my Glock and fired one round into the back of Walker’s torso, to no effect.

I completely understand why people without the knowledge would ask why I didn’t go for my taser but the taser is an ineffective tool when you’re in such close proximity. You can’t trust the taser to work where there’s the threat of death

Capsicum spray is good to avoid a fight that hasn’t happened yet or split up a posturing fight but it wouldn’t have stopped the struggle. It would have just stung and potentially blinded all of us in the room.

The non-lethal accoutrements I had on me at the time would have been ineffective in that close-quarter situation where there was the risk of serious harm or death.

And I was in immediate fear that any one of those blade strikes could have caused serious harm or death to my partner.

As per our training at the police academy an edged weapon is a lethal weapon and the response is to use your Glock if required. I just followed my training.

I had never shot anyone before that encounter.

As soon as the first shot was fired, I could hear screaming and wailing outside.

My partner and Walker stumbled and fell onto a mattress on the ground.

The first round did nothing to neutralise the threat.

I saw Walker continue to strike multiple times at my partner’s neck area, so I fired two more rounds into Walker.

It wasn’t until after the third round that he stopped trying to stab my partner.

That was the minimum force that was effective in stopping that threat to life.

Obviously, it was difficult in that environment and in that close quarter scuffle, but if I wasn’t confident that I could take those shots without putting my partner at risk I wouldn’t have.

After the third shot I holstered my Glock and pushed my partner off him, out of the way, and rolled Walker on to his stomach.

I saw that he had a pair of metal surgical scissors in his right hand.

I ordered him to let go of the scissors and when he refused, I tried to pull them out of his hand.

I repeatedly demanded he let go of the scissors but he wouldn’t and continued fighting us. He also stated that he was going to kill us.

My partner eventually pried the scissors from his fingers and flung them on the floor.

Walker was still trying to fight us so we handcuffed him and I was about to glove up to provide first aid when another IRT member at the door informed us that we had to leave as there was now a threat to our safety.

He had observed community members flocking to the house and perceived them to be violent and aggressive.

We picked Walker up by his armpits and quickly carried him outside to the police vehicle.

My partner and I lifted him into the cage on the back before climbing in to render first aid on the way to the police station.

It was about a two-minute drive and at that time he still had a lot of fight in him, so we searched him for weapons before removing his handcuffs and assessing his injuries.

There were no medical staff at the clinic. They had been evacuated from Yuendumu earlier that day due to fears for their safety. So, we drove to the police station and got Walker out.

We stripped him down to his underwear to better assess his injuries before moving him into the police station for treatment.

Three shots in three seconds: the terrifying encounter that left Indigenous man Kumanjayi Walker dead.
We laid him down in a cell in the watch house side of the police station because it’s the cleanest part of the police station and close to the first aid equipment.

Myself and the other IRT member with military experience had the most medical experience so together we took charge of the first aid and did what we could with the resources that we had.

Walker would have been suffering from a mix between a pneumothorax and a hemothorax, which is where the air is released from a penetrated lung into the chest cavity.

We sealed the wounds as best we could with a three-sided bandage to allow the air to escape his lungs without increasing pressure in his chest cavity.

There was not much more we could do with the kit that we had except to maintain observations on him and get the defibrillator ready in case his heart stopped.

Walker had sustained priority one injuries which meant that he needed to reach a surgical ward within an hour for any chance of survival.

For the first 70 minutes, Walker was still moving, talking to us and holding our hands.

We were just trying to make him comfortable and reassure him, despite our concerns.

He was just saying that he felt funny which was normal as he started going into shock.

For 70 minutes he was still with us and talking to us, so we kept him alive past the golden hour but unfortunately, due to the lack of medical resources available, we could not keep him alive beyond that.

The Sergeant had been attempting to get other medical resources to our location but it was too dangerous for RFDS to land their plane because the community was nearly rioting at this point.

The two nurses who did manage to reach our location that night from Yuelamu – these nice ladies in their 60s and 70s – were assaulted by the community.

Rocks were thrown at their ambulance and one of the nurses was hit on the head.

Meanwhile Walker wasn’t in pain, he was just getting tired, and then quietly passed away.

We conducted CPR for another half an hour after that but there were no signs of life.

At that point we had to start worrying about security.

From inside, we could hear the community throwing rocks at the police station.

There was communication between the police and the community outside but the decision was made not to immediately inform the community that night that Walker had died for security reasons.

We felt that the threat to police and medical staff – due to how it looked like the community would react – was too high.

There was a plan to evacuate the police station. We had loaded all of our kit into vehicles and we were ready to go but as we were about to step off an assistant commissioner in Alice Springs directed us to return to the station as reinforcements would be sent to us.

Six police officers then flew out from Alice Springs on a small police air wing plane.

They had to circle above Yuendumu until it was safe to land because there were community members on the air strip.

At about 11pm, we did a quick convoy out to the plane. The extra police members got off the plane and I hopped on.

I returned to Alice Springs because I needed medical treatment for my stab wound and for the purposes of the investigation.

I landed in Alice Springs just before midnight and went to the hospital where my wound was cleaned and patched up. After I was treated and given a tetanus shot – and detectives seized my clothes – I returned to the police station where I spoke with the lead investigator of the incident at that time.

He had already watched the body-worn video (BWV) and informed me that my actions had been cleared through justification. They were now just following up on authorisation which was the administrative side involving questions like whether I was wearing the correct police uniform and had power of entry.

The lead investigator informed me that he’d be in touch with me later that day because it was now Sunday morning, to get my statement, and I returned home at about 3am.

I got a few hours’ sleep before returning to the police station on Sunday where I met with the police psychologist who cleared me to return to work.

By then the Northern Territory Police Association had put me in touch with lawyers who advised me to decline a police interview at that time.

I was rostered for two days off and had planned to return to work as normal on Wednesday.

Initially I didn’t believe there would be any ramifications from the incident. It was a clean shoot.

There was footage of it from both myself and my partner’s body-worn camera.

Tuesday morning, I woke up with a number of the NTPA members knocking on my door to inform me that my name had been released on social media.

I did expect, because Alice Springs is such a small community and a number of hospital staff were aware of what had happened, that my name would be released. I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.

I started receiving threats through social media. We were taking them seriously. There were definitely legitimate concerns for my safety that day.

NT Police assistant commissioner Narelle Beer then asked me to go to Darwin but I declined.

Meanwhile, my mum was on her way to Alice Springs. As a result of the incident, she had organised to come up for two nights to catch up and check that I was OK.

After she landed, we decided that I should take a few weeks’ leave and get out of town. At this point I was in no trouble that I was aware of.

Then on Tuesday afternoon AC Beer said that it was now a direction that I travel to Darwin, which is an order that I have to obey or disciplinary issues would follow.

So, on Tuesday afternoon mum and I flew to Darwin and stayed at the police visiting officers’ quarters (VOQ’s).

On Wednesday in Darwin the police brass kept stalling about a decision on where I was to go from there so at about 3.30pm I called my police liaison – a superintendent in Darwin – and informed him that I’d be on a flight the following morning, Thursday morning, to Canberra.

An hour later five detectives rocked up to the VOQ and placed me under arrest for murder.

They transported me to the Darwin watch house where they processed me and put me in the cell for about five hours before charging me with murder.

After that there was an out-of-session court hearing for a bail consideration with the on-call judge.

The detectives read out – to the judge over the phone – the statement of facts, which was about 90 per cent correct.

Police denied me bail but informed the judge that if I was willing to follow their bail conditions, they were happy to approve bail.

The judge granted me bail if I agreed to leave the NT, reside at my parent’s house in Canberra, sign into a police station every week, relinquish my passport and have no contact with the police officers who were at Yuendumu on November 9.

I feel like I was ambushed and flown to Darwin because it would have been more difficult to have me arrested in Alice Springs where the investigative team had all seen the BWV and knew what had happened.

A couple of hours after the shooting, the BWV was on the police system.

I still get mad every now and then about the treatment from the NT Police brass.

I feel like they threw me under the bus.

They had evidence that cleared me yet they still arrested me for murder.

The leadership sacrificed me to appease a crowd which is not what a good leader would do. A good leader should take the hits. If they have a win, they should give it to the team. And if the team has a loss, a good leader takes the loss.

They should have stood up and told the truth or just released the BWV if they didn’t want to defend me themselves.

I want to tell my story because the NT Police didn’t stand up in front of the media and tell the truth.

It is extremely unfortunate that Walker passed but I did what I had to do to protect my partner and myself. I had been stabbed but my main concern at the time was my partner, who has a wife and kids.

Walker put us in that situation. He put my partner’s life at risk and my own life at risk.

I would not do anything differently. I do not wish I’d done anything differently.

All I can say is that I’m not racist. I don’t care what race anyone is. All I care about is behaviour.

To put it as bluntly as I can, if a white guy stabbed me and tried to stab my partner, I’d shoot him just the same.
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Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe tells journalist Kristin Shorten about the moment he was charged with murder and why he believes he was “thrown under the bus” by police leadership to appease an angry crowd and arrested despite “evidence that cleared me”.

Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe speaks to journalist Kristin Shorten about growing up in affluent Canberra, his military experience, joining the Northern Territory Police Force and why he felt more comfortable in Kabul than in Alice Springs.

Almost two-and-a-half years after Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe fatally shot Kumanjayi Walker during an arrest at Yuendumu, the 30-year-old has been found not guilty of the Indigenous man’s murder.