Republic of Korea War Service Medal Approved for Wear

Veterans of the Korean War have been approved to wear the Republic of Korea War Service medal by Governor-General General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Minister for Defence Personnel Michael McCormack said the approval to wear this medal after initially refused by the British Government in 1951 shows the Australian Honours and Awards system has evolved to become its own unique system of recognising our service men and women.

“The Australian Council of Korea Veterans Associations has campaigned to have the decision reconsidered from an Australian perspective,” Mr McCormack said.

“The approval to wear the Republic of Korea War Service Medal demonstrates Australian Defence Force’s willingness to consider and accept change.

“During the Korean War, in which more than 15,000 Australians served, Australia used the Imperial Honours and Awards system and was therefore subject to the award policies set by the United Kingdom.”

Mr McCormack said the Republic of Korea War Service medal was introduced by South Korea in 1951 to recognise the assistance provided by members of the United Nations forces in combatting communist aggression in Korea.

“It has been policy to accept only one foreign award for a particular service or campaign,” Mr McCormack said.

“In this case the United Nations Medal KOREA had been accepted and therefore the offer of the Republic of Korea War Service Medal from the South Korean Government was refused.”

As a foreign award, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal is not administered by Defence and is no longer issued by the Republic of South Korea.

Eligible veterans may purchase a replica medal from any reputable medal dealer.

Veterans who have been awarded the Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with clasp KOREA (AASM KOREA) are eligible for the Republic of Korea War Service medal.

The eligibility criteria as directed by the Republic of Korea are as follows:

  • served between 25 June 1950 and 27 July 1953
  •  service prescribed must have been performed while:
    on permanent assignment
    on temporary duty within the territorial limits of Korea or on waters immediately adjacent for 30 consecutive or
  • 60 non-consecutive daysas crew members of aircraft in aerial flight over Korea participating in combat operations or in support of combat operations.

Further information on the medal, including fact sheet, is available on the Defence Honours and Awards website, here.

Opinion: Ban’s a futile effort

THE ADF has a long history of banning personal choice behaviours which are otherwise acceptable in polite society. Now the same Canberra syndrome has struck federal parliament with Prime Minister Turnbull imposing a bonking ban between ministers and their staff.

One suspects Mr Turnbull is about to discover what others take as a self-evident truth, banning personal choice behaviours rarely if ever achieves the intended outcome.

To ministers who find the temptations of sexual frisson too much to resist, there’s always Queanbeyan.

Just don’t get caught.


RARA Future Directions 2018 -2015 Service Development Roadmap

The RARA National Council (State & Battalion Associations’ Presidents) at its recent meeting  approved  a Services Development Program for providing fellowship and representation for the wellbeing of the RAR Family

RARA Roadmap Updated at NCM without action notes A3 17-10-17

Claims Defence lied to Riverina veterans refuted

The Department of Defence has hit back at claims it lied to former soldiers across the Riverina.

It comes after army veteran Bob Bak said the government had incorrectly labelled the military service of almost 9000 men during an overseas operation.

But, reports containing details the operation at RAAF Butterworth Air Base between 1970 and 1989, have since revealed this was inaccurate.

As a result, veterans say they have been stripped of a deserved “war-like service” recognition and its associated entitlements. They have since called for a public inquiry into the matter.

Despite these claims, the Department of Defence last week said Australian Defence Force service at Butterworth had been examined across several independent reviews, that found it to be peace-time service.

“Defence has responded to a number of claims for reclassification of Rifle Company Butterworth service,” a statement read.

“These claims were investigated through extensive research of available records … and found personnel were not engaged in duty relating to warlike operations.”

A department spokesperson said the role of the company was to provide a ground presence, to conduct training and to assist, if required, in the protection of assets.

“Unless authorised, (the company) was not to be involved in local civil disturbances or … security operations outside (base),” the spokesperson said.


 RCB Review Group’s comments on Defence’s rebuttal above and previous rebuttals

Our rebuttal of Defence statements made by the then Minister Stuart Robert and his staff at the House of Representatives Petition Committee in 2014 can be seen here

The Government did not respond to that document

Following that, two letters were sent to PM Turnbull seeking his personal intervention and if declined then to appoint an independent (of Government)  inquiry. Neither was  given.

We re-presented  all of the entire evidence  discovered after 2011 to the Defence Department for their consideration. We challenged their response that there was no new evidence since 2011.   Another deception

In our submissions we asked to meet with the Ministers’ officers to discuss  the new evidence supporting our claim. We are still waiting.

Now that the MPs are this week back in their electorates it is a good time to visit them. We expect that the Defence Department will have prepared a letter for the MPs to respond to the letters we sent to  all the MPs and Senators.  Send us a copy of their letter please so we can guide your reply.
Robert Cross

OPINION – New Minister has a Job to Do

TOWNSVILLE should be a priority destination for recently appointed Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael McCormack.

McCormack represents the NSW seat Riverina for the National Party, with his electorate office in Wagga Wagga. Wagga is perhaps best known as the location of the army’s recruit training battalion at Kapooka, also known as Home of the Soldier.

Since McCormack is now also Minister for Defence Personnel he is ideally placed with local RAAF and army personnel to understand the issues faced by itinerant defence families.
He should bring to his dual portfolios some sympathy for the plight of those serving and those who have left the service for whatever reason.

While the affable Dan Tehan made the right noises, many veterans remain disappointed with his inaction on issues such as the ADF’s flawed mefloquine and tafenoquine antimalarial drug trials. This is a major issue for those affected.

Townsville has a significant concentration of veterans suffering the adverse consequences of mefloquine and tafenoquine poisoning yet DVA seemingly on ADF advice insists there is no problem.

To be fair to Tehan, any minister depends on the advice of specialists in the ministries they head.
The same applies to ministerial staff who often believe their prime function is to protect the reputation of their minister and the Government rather than offer frank and fearless advice on behalf of affected constituents.
When that advice is flawed or biased then a minister’s advice is equally biased and flawed.

McCormack could make an early mark by listening to people like Townsville-based veterans John Caligari and Ray Martin who continue to fight for the soldiers they once led, understanding command is a lifelong responsibility.

He should also talk with the wives and partners who struggle to understand why someone they love can return so damaged from operational service and who are then expected to pick up the pieces to keep their relationships and families intact.

McCormack could also make a mark by insisting faceless bureaucrats explain why awards should be granted to those who feel their service has gone unrecognised rather than accept their flawed advice as to why they should not.

Yes Minister


Sen. Jim Molan’s First Speech

It’s only fair to this house that I state what I hope to focus on as a senator for New South Wales. I will put the people of New South Wales and Australia first, to the best of my ability, in everything this house asks me to consider.

The following are some extracts:

Someone once said that, if opponents don’t speak against you, you probably are not standing up for enough. Anyone who’s googled me—and that seems to be most of the Western world and all the media in the last week or so—knows that various opponents regularly speak against me because I have publicly voiced my views on issues. I was targeted because I criticised the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government over its neglect of its national defence responsibilities. Some single-issue polemicists wanted to take me to the International Criminal Court years ago as a supposed war criminal because I fought in Iraq, and that has echoed more recently. Those who failed to stop the boats or said it could not be done attacked me, and of course they attacked many others, because we did it. I was publicly attacked by apologists at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas because I was a board director, with a military background, of the then brilliant St James Ethics Centre. And, most recently, I was abused as a murderer at a function held in Redfern. If opponents don’t speak against you, you are probably not standing up for enough.

Let me finish with reference to the most important determinant of what I am, the Australian military. If I had a military mentor over the years, it is retired Lieutenant General Des Mueller, who launched the book that I wrote back in 2008, and I thank him for 25 years of wise counsel. Des was and is a brilliant blend of Sparta and Athens. My boss in Iraq was US General George Casey, who commanded the war in Iraq for three long years while I ran it for him for only the first of those years.

Too many to name are the Australian soldiers of all ranks who’ve worked for me, with me or above me over 40 years, because I’ve learnt so much from them while pretending to know much more than I ever actually did. Many of them have contacted me in the past week to express their support for me when the place of men and women in uniform in our society was challenged.

Napoleon said: if you want to learn a nation’s interests, go to the graves of its soldiers. Many Australian dead have been brought back to Australia, but many still lie close to where they fell. Australia’s interests lie across the face of this earth. We are an international nation with worldwide interests. I’ve visited many battlefields and played cameo parts on some. What strikes me is the consistent performance of Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen over more than 100 years and around the world. Today’s soldiers are as good as, if not better than, any we have sent overseas, and much of that is due to our Australian culture and the leadership, training and equipment that accompany them. To me, they represent everything that is good about Australia because they are Australian. I dedicate my efforts in this house to them. Thank you.


Former soldier Bob Bak calls for ‘true’ service recognition

The Wagga  Daily Advertiser reports that one of Wagga’s former soldiers says he and more than 9000 other infantrymen were lied to.

When Bob Bak was sent to Malaysia with the Australian Army Rifle Company in 1971 and again in 1976, he was told the purpose of the operation was for training.

Mr Bak said soldiers and airmen stationed at RAAF Butterworth Air Base between 1970 and 1989 were sent for “strategic protection”, with troops ordered to keep the base and its assets secure.

The operation came at a time when the success of communist terrorism in Vietnam was a global concern. The Australian government, in response, said it would commit troops to Malaysia, as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve Land Forces.

Despite being publicly labelled a “peacetime” deployment, Mr Bak said a number of military documents found the government had been “well aware of the seriousness of the threat”.

According to the Rifle Company Butterworth Review Group, this means personnel deployed to the base during this time were serving in war-like conditions.

“Documents clearly outline a cover-up of these tasks as training,” Mr Bak said. “(But) we were at a constant state of readiness. We were given operational rules of engagement to apply when necessary … that put us in danger.”

For this reason, Mr Bak said the group was demanding recognition of war-like service and pushing for the launch of a public inquiry into the alleged cover-up.

Without the appropriate recognition of service, he said every defence member involved in that operation had been denied significant associated benefits and entitlements, like the Service Pension.

The Daily Advertiser understands the criteria for war-like service requires there to be an “existing enemy threat; an incurred danger, resulting from being present during declared rules of engagement and the carriage of live ammunition; and an expectation of casualties”.

“We were told to carry live ammunition during during security patrols,” Mr Bak said.

“It was also carried by nominated members during training outside the base to protect from wild animals and belligerents … We had orders to shoot.”

He said a recorded “direct army order” called on all senior personnel to refer to all matters as “training-related”, despite orders later revealing the deployment of the Rifle Company Butterworth was for the “security and protection of Australian Defence Force assets and service families living on and near the base”.

Mr Bak said he and other service veterans were tired of being ignored by the government and were calling for further submissions to add to the group’s petition.

The Department of Defence was contacted for comment but failed to respond before deadline.

15th February 2018

Defence Veterans’ and Families’ Forum – Darwin 22 February 2018

We encourage veterans and their families who live in the area to attend to make themselves known to your local member Luke Gosling (who is a past serving military person) and the Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and present your issues.

ALP – Banking Royal Commission Must Include CSC In Terms of Reference

Amanda Rishworth

Labor has written to Treasurer, Scott Morrison and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Michael McCormack backing calls by ex-service organisation to include the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) into the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into the misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.


Operation “Exposure” – The Government’s statements and RCB Rebuttals

The statements provided by the Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon. Stuart Robert MP and his Team to the House of Representatives Petitions Committee’s Canberra Hearing on 29th October 2014 are commented on and rebutted by the RCB Review Group in this document.

RCB Group Comments Rebuttal of 0ct 29 Ministers Statement to Petitions Hearing RCF

This is an extensive rebuttal of the Minister’s statements with 60 comments based on the evidence discovered by the RCB’s Research Team.

The response by the Petitions Committee Secretariat to our rebuttal (and that of Ken Marsh a RAAF claimant) was to advise that “it is not the Committee’s role, however, to systematically test each of these claims or counter-claims. Accordingly, the Committee does not plan to take any further action on this matter”.

Here is one example

Minister Robert: “In conclusion, the service of Rifle Company Butterworth has been reviewed comprehensively by Defence and by several independent reviews, including a review by New Zealand.  
Reviews of service have found consistently that this service does not meet the essential criteria for reclassification as special overseas service or as warlike service.  
The role and responsibilities of the RCB, and all evidence of the exposure to the risk of harm, support the extant peacetime classification.  
At no time throughout the period 1970 to 1989 did any Australian government consider it necessary or appropriate to reconsider or change the classification of RCB or any other ADF service at RMAF Base Butterworth.” 

RCB Logo SMLRCB Comment 48.  “We believe we have effectively rebutted the above claims and that the time has come to rectify this injustice and to finally be honest with the Australian people about the true nature of the RCB’s role in Malaysia during the Second Malaysian Emergency (SME).  
Should somehow the Government be unable to reach the fair decision alone then perhaps it will need an independent arbiter with the historical analysis skills to conduct a hearing that
is binding.”

More to be revealed in  following postings