In times of war, a red cross on a white background means 'don't shoot'. It shows that impartial assistance is available for anyone who needs it, with no discrimination to what side they belong to.
People die in conflicts when its meaning is misunderstood.
What the emblem means
What do you think of when you see the red cross? Most Australians say health care or medical assistance. But this is a misconception. In armed conflict, the red cross, red crescent and red crystal mean 'don't shoot!' The person, building, vehicle or equipment displaying the emblem is not part of the fight, but is providing humanitarian assistance.
Misuse of the emblem in peacetime diminishes its protective power when it is most needed: in times of war.
You can help by avoiding and reporting misuse of the emblem in Australia. If you think you have seen an example of emblem misuse, please use the form below.