Working For Better Future


Five months ago, Leading Aircraftman Willhelm Lauenstein shifted his focus from circuit breakers and wiring to community engagement, retention, recruiting and cultural awareness.

Formerly an electrician and now an Indigenous Liaison Officer (ILO) with 13 Squadron at RAAF Bases Darwin and Curtin, he helps to support First Nations peoples in a unique way.

During National Reconciliation Week, Leading Aircraftman Lauenstein will present two Indigenous paintings by Aircraftwoman Dakota Dalton to the Air Movements Terminal at RAAF Base Darwin.

He is proud that thousands of Defence members and foreign forces will see the artwork each year as they arrive and depart RAAF Darwin.

“Reconciliation Week is an opportunity to acknowledge Australia’s history and the impacts of past actions on Indigenous peoples,” Leading Aircraftman Lauenstein said.

“But it is also an opportunity to work collaboratively to a better future.”

‘Now more than ever we should be supporting and guiding our youth to a better future.’

Leading Aircraftman Lauenstein, a Wuthathi man, believes we all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and building relationships and communities that value First Nations peoples, histories, cultures and futures.

“Growing up, my balas (brothers) in the Defence Force played a big role in my life – and they still do till this day,” he said.

“When I was able to see first-hand the positive impact pursuing a Defence career had in their lives, it only made sense that I did the same.”

Being an ILO is one of Leading Aircraftman Lauenstein’s career highlights, with others including representing Air Force at the Tri-Nations Rugby League Competition in New Zealand and participating in the Indigenous development and employment program run by JY Australia.

The 2024 National Reconciliation Week theme ‘Now More Than Ever’ is a reminder to all Australians that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of First Nations peoples will, and must, continue.

“In our culture it’s not trying to hide from the past but acknowledging what happened so we can try and learn from it,” Leading Aircraftman Lauenstein said.

“Now more than ever, we should be supporting all First Nation peoples’ businesses.

“Now more than ever, we should be supporting each other to do better and, most importantly, now more than ever we should be supporting and guiding our youth to a better future.”

/Public Release. View in full here.