RCB Service Recognition – Senator Anning’s Questions to Marise Payne

In the Senate Question Time yesterday, 18th September, Senator  Fraser Anning  (Katter’ s Australian Party) asked  Sen. Marise Payne three questions on RCB Service recognition as warlike during the Malaysian Counter Insurgency War.

We thank Senator Anning for his support. He has read the evidence and is championing our claim for an independent inquiry

You can watch the event here:

A challenge to  the accuracy of Senator Payne’s answers is being prepared by the RCB Review Group. Until we present that challenge we ask our supporters to keep calm.

Senate Questions on Notice 9 – RCB Recognition of Service

Senator Brian Burston  (PHONP) presented Questions On Notice re RCB submissions to the Defence Minister, Sen, Marisse Payne on 15th December 2017. The answers from the Department of Defence were provided by Sen. Mathais Cormann (in the Minister’s absence) in the Senate in February 2018

There are ten questions and answers. Each day hereafter we will post one of those questions and the answer  with our response to the answer.

Question 9 – Sen. Burston (PHONP)

Why was Minister Billson’s determination to Grade RCB as “hazardous service” in 2006 not implemented prior to, or after, the change of government in 2007? 

 

Answer 9. Sen. Cormann for Sen. Payne

As a result of a number of representations on 18th September 2007 the them Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence declared that the service of Rifle Company Butterworth should be retrospectively reclassified as either hazardous or non-warlike service.

In 2009 it was found that the instruments had omitted RAAF security personnel. contained incorrect dates, omitted key references and were not registered in the Federal Register of Legislative instruments. In response to the continuing campaign conducted by ex RCB members seeking war-like service, a new review from first principles comprehensively investigated RCB service since inception, locating Government files and documents that were never considered in the 2007 review. 

The 2011 review was not supportive of the classification of RCB services as anything other than peacetime service.

On 21 March 2012 the then Parliamentary Secretary for Defence recommended that the nature of all ADF service at Butterworth should remain as peacetime from 12 August 1966 to the present. A detailed explanation of this decision was provided to the Chairman of the RCB Review Group in a letter dated 19 May 2012. This decision is consistent with the long-standing Government determination that the nature of service of all ADF service at the end of confrontation is peacetime.

RCB Review Group Response to the Answer 9.

RCB Logo SML

The Government response claims that Defence conducted a comprehensive review in 2009 (which it failed to include the RCB Review Group in), claiming to find new material not considered in their 2007 determination.  Why were we not notified and included in that Review?

Unsurprisingly, this led to the same result – non-recommendation of war-like service. The overturning of ex-Minister’s Billson’s decision, because it had not been processed, was a very opportune chance for the government (again on ‘advice’ from Defence), to ‘situate the appreciation’, therefore nullifying a Ministerial decision through an administrative fiat. This latest response to the Question again is another case of stubborn refusal to right a wrong.

RCB E-NEWS UPDATE – 1/2018

This is the first of our e-news updates. It aims to keep you informed of the facts and progress towards our RCB service objective to be recognised as warlike. The Government maintains the service is peacetime despite overwhelming evidence discovered and presented by us to Governments that proves a deliberate deception.

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RCB E-news april 2018 UPDATE final 20180408Apr

RCB’s Claim for Warlike Service Classification 1970-1989 – The Air Force Association calls on the PM for an independent examination.

In its letter to the Prime Minister, The Air Force Association believes “there is a compelling argument supporting an upgrade of the company’s service classification…. Consequently, …. the Air Force Association strongly requests the RCB’s deployment be examined by an independent body to determine the correct service classification.”

Letter Prime Minister – Rifle Company Butterworth Malaysia

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.

ENDS

 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

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

RARA endorses RCB service claim as warlike

In a letter to the PM in January 2016, the RARA National President Michael von Berg MC OAM endorsed the RCB’s claim for warlike service. ” ….it is our contention that the facts surrounding the reasons for the RCB deployment has been a subterfuge to overcome the Labor Government’s dilemma to apply its electoral mandate to return all overseas troops and yet retain a strategic presence at Butterworth. This was achieved by deception to disguise the deployment for training purposes to the Australian public”

Read the full text.
20160121 RARC letter to the PM

RCB Website Live

Welcome to the RCB’s website

It is the communications control centre for the RCB Review Group’s management of Operation “Exposure” which aims to have the Government declare RCB service as warlike or failing that to appoint an independent (of Government) public inquiry into the rightful recognition of the nature of RCB military service.

The Reference menu provides the time-line of and access to all our submissions with evidence, the Government’s  replies and our responses to them. Check it out here

We encourage your support by direct engagement in having your say direct to us and to Federal MPs/Senator on all matters associated with RCB service. If you have additional evidence to that already revealed here then please tell us.

Rifle Company Butterworth – Warning Order “OPERATION EXPOSURE”

 

 

 

 

 

Following Governments’ failure to agree to RCB Review Group’s legitimate claim for recognition of their service 1970-1989 as warlike,  the  Group  intends to take further action to secure an independent judicial enquiry.

All RCB  persons who served at that time are encouraged to support the RCB Review Group

Core History Paper – A case for recognition during the SME V3

 

Engaging Southeast Asia? Labor’s Regional Mythology and Australia’s Military Withdrawal from Singapore and Malaysia, 1972–1973

The decision in 1973 to withdraw Australian forces from Malaysia and Singapore constitutes a neglected but defining episode in the evolution of Australian postwar diplomacy against the backdrop of the Cold War.

A detailed examination of this episode sheds interesting light on Australian foreign policy from 1972 to 1975, the years when Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) served as prime minister. The Whitlam government’s policy in Southeast Asia was not as much of a watershed as the secondary literature suggests.

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This is an important article that reinforces the reasons for the strategic deployment of the Rifle Company Butterworth