OP SLIPPER SOTG
OP SLIPPER SOTG

Dutton overrules defence chief on medal ban

Australian special forces soldiers will reportedly be allowed to retain their Meritorious Unit Citations unless convicted of war crimes in a major decision by Defence Minister Peter Dutton.

And in another significant announcement since moving from the Home Affairs portfolio to Defence, Mr Dutton today backed a Royal Commission into veteran suicides pledging to do "whatever is humanly possible" to support returned service men and women.

"We don't want to see veterans self harming obviously, we don't want to see their families suffering," he said.

"We want to provide whatever support we can."

 

 

Mr Dutton’s decision overruled Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell’s previous call.
Mr Dutton’s decision overruled Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell’s previous call.

Mr Dutton's decision overruled Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell's previous call of stripping citations from more than 3,000 special forces soldiers as collective punishment for the alleged crimes uncovered by the Brereton inquiry.

Mr Dutton told The Australian "99 per cent of our ADF personnel serve, and have served, our country with distinction".

"We honour these young men and women and they will be wearing their unit citation medal with pride," he said.

"Almost 40,000 honoured our country with their service in Afghanistan and Iraq and I couldn't be more proud of their sacrifice. We honour them and their loved ones this Anzac Day."

Australian Specials in, Oruzgan, Afghanistan, disrupting Taliban insurgent operations in the region. Picture: Department of Defence
Australian Specials in, Oruzgan, Afghanistan, disrupting Taliban insurgent operations in the region. Picture: Department of Defence

 

He added that Chief of the Defence Force Campbell took the decision well.

"He is the most professional capable person you could meet. He's pragmatic he understands that I've been able to look at all the facts afresh, and the decision he made in the first instance is perfectly reasonable," he told 2GB.

"My judgment is we look at the circumstances now there is a different process that has been set up."

The decision comes just a week out from Anzac Day - where thousands are expected to return to our streets in remembrance.

The Meritorious Unit Citation was awarded to special forces soldiers for sustained and outstanding warlike operational service in Afghanistan.

Mr Dutton will visit the maligned Special Air Service Regiment, in Perth's Campbell's Barrack, this afternoon.

Last year, veterans told The Daily Telegraph the stripping of medals had ripped open the scars of families who lost loved ones in the conflict.

The Daily Telegraph also launched the campaign, called Save Their Medals, which demanded veterans retain their citations unless convicted of war crimes.

 

 

 

Originally published as Dutton overrules defence chief on medal ban