RCB Recognition of Service 2 – Senate Questions on Notice

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 2 – Sen. Burston (PHONP)

Given the Minister expresses complete faith in the 2011 DHAAT findings and given that it has been pointed out that the same findings totally ignored all evidence after 1975, how can the Minister continue to believe the flawed findings or worse still, multiple errors failure and mis-information from the NOSB which is the prime source of expert advice on such matters as the RCB claim?

Answer 2. Sen. Cormann for Sen. Payne

The Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal (The Tribunal) is a statutory body that has been established under The Defence Act 1903. All enquiries by the Tribunal are undertaken undertaken in accordance with the general principles  of procedural fairness. The inquiry into recognition of service with Rifle Company Butterworth received written submissions from 29 parties, heard oral evidence from five individuals and undertook its own research into the claims. There is no credible evidence to suggest that the findings of The tribunal “totally ignored all evidence after 1975”. On the contrary, the Tribunal’s report cites evidence from Wing Commander Joe Piers (retired) who was commander of the Ground Defence Element from 1979 to 1981.

RCB Review Group Response to the Answer


The Minister’s answer states there was ‘ no credible evidence to suggest that the ‘findings of the Tribunal totally ignored all evidence after 1975’.

This response beggars belief.

Even a cursory read of the 2011 DHAAT report shows that, under “Evidence” there is no consideration whatsoever of the huge amount of claimant  evidence put before the Tribunal.

It only provides the most shallow pro-Defence bureaucratic argument of pre-1975 events seeking to negate the unanswered evidence put up by the RCB claimants which covers the entire period 1970-1989. 
Of 59 paragraphs constituting the entire DHAAT report, only eight deal with evidence. The rest is padding designed to justify, in our opinion, a pre-determined position. 

The Minister also states ” . the Tribunal’s report describes evidence from Wing Commander Joe Piers (Retd) .. “. It does not; it only lists his name in an Annex. Two unspecified “senior commanders” are mentioned in the procedural part of the report, but what evidence they gave (if any) is not stated. Nor can it be challenged. This is procedural unfairness to the extreme.


  1. Crackles says

    Agree with you Mac, this is a huge stretch to what Warlike service really is. This is nothing but a money grab and cheapens all of us that have done our time in various sandpits.

  2. RCB was and is not warlike service. I have done a trip to RCB 80s and it was nothing like my deployments to Afghanistan. To say it was and to expect the same recognition is a grab for DVA money. So you had live rounds.? we do every training Day in Australia. Timor Leste was only a ASM and we had real enemy and real “Same” gunfire at us. Also no ICB for the guys. So you can push this and may get it over the line and i will remember my mates that died in Afghanistan who earned their AASM.

  3. Richard Barry says

    Interesting read. I have to confess I know little about the subject at hand. Although I do admit having some knowledge of the ‘workings’ of the DHAAT.

    I currently have a comprehensive submission sitting with the new Minister for Veterans’ Affairs about a foreign award for 3,020 national servicemen who served in South Vietnam. These men have never been officially recognised for their gallantry in being prepared to die in a foreign country.

    DHAAT has, for some reason chosen not to take into consideration the special conditions that applied to these men under the National Service Act 1964 and subsequent amendments. I am sincerely hoping the Minister can right the wrong and ensure procedural fairness is adopted.

    • Yes i agree, I hope the Minister can right the wrong and ensure procedural fairness is adopted. As Vietnam was a war, unlike RCB.