'Unacceptable': Turnbull Slams Nazi Flag Flown From Army Vehicle
Those involved were "disciplined", PM said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says it is "completely and utterly unacceptable" that a Nazi flag was flown from an Australian defence force vehicle in Afghanistan.
The ABC revealed on Thursday that a Nazi swastika flag had been flown from an army truck in Afghanistan in 2007. A picture published by ABC shows the red flag flying from the front of the vehicle, held by a defence force member, as multiple others ride inside.
The ABC reported the flag was up for a "prolonged period", but this was disputed by an official statement from the Department of Defence that claimed it was only flown "briefly".
At a press conference in Hobart on Thursday, Turnbull confirmed the incident had occurred and slammed those involved.
"Completely and utterly unacceptable," the PM said.
"It was reported in 2007, and the flag obviously was removed and the personnel involved were disciplined."
He said defence minister Marise Payne would "have more to say" about the event.
"But the incident... it was wrong. It was absolutely wrong, and their commanders took action at the time," Turnbull added.
Race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane tweeted that such behaviour has "no place in any of our institutions".
The news comes after the Australian army banned "death symbols" -- such as skulls and crossbones, or grim reaper images -- being worn on uniforms or otherwise displayed by members. Australia's Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, said such imagery "erodes" the ethos of the armed forces.
"Such symbology is never presented as ill-intentioned and plays to much of modern popular culture," he said in a memo, reported by the ABC in April.
"As soldiers our purpose is to serve the state, employing violence with humility always and compassion wherever possible. This symbology to which I refer erodes this ethos of service."