RCB Recognition of Service 3 – 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 3 – Sen. Burston (PHONP)

Is the minister prepared to take disciplinary action against public servants/Ministerial staffers found to be generating deliberate mis-information thereby putting elected Ministers into a situation of contempt of Parliament during Petition hearings now on record on the matter of the RCB petition?

Answer 3. Sen. Cormann for Sen. Payne

There is no evidence of any such prejudicial conduct in this case.



RCB Review Group Response to the Answer 3.


Try reading the official including Hansard records. On 3 March 14 a Petition was placed before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Petitions (HRSCOP).  This triggered a Nature of Service Branch (NOSB) paper dated 28 Apr 14 to assist the Assistant Minister for Defence (Robert) respond.  Minister Robert duly sent a letter to the Chair HRSCOP on 29 May 14 which included the NOSB paper to maintain the clearly intransigent Defence position. This same document was then presented to Parliament and published in Hansard on 16 Jun 14 by Minister Robert. The contents of both the letter and its support NOSB paper demonstrated distortions, untruths and selective omissions that sought to ‘prove’ RCB service was not warlike when the evidence clearly showed it was: and Defence had that evidence.

On 24 Jul 14, it was brought to the attention of the HRSCOP that the NOSB paper that Minister Robert used was deliberately misleading Parliament, with evidence given to support that assertion.

The RCB Review Group repeated this advice again on 18 Aug 14 directly to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence (Darren Chester), and provided an in-depth rebuttal of numerous assertions made by the NOSB in their paper.   Notwithstanding, Minister Robert, with all of this material at his advisors’ fingertips still chose to present essentially the same position to the HRSCOP on 29 Oct 14. See Hansard  for that data; it is clear that public servants provide the Minister material that is knowingly false and/or fails to provide the full and correct information. It is understood that such action constitutes an offence under certain Codes of Conduct.

The RCB RG provided a further rebuttal to the HRSCOP in its letter and attached document dated 1st December 2014. The response from the HRSCOP  advised that the Committee considered the matter but has no role to investigate, comment on, resolve or follow-up matters relating to the subject matter of the petition, or on any petition.  That means that any outcome from the Petition’s process rests with the appropriate Minister. 

Is this a case of Caesar judging Caesar?



  1. Peter, can I ask if you have been in a warzone before your “warservice” at RCB?

  2. Is this a handful of old guys that missed out on getting their gongs? I understand because I was amongst that and was “lucky enough” to get some deployments in the MEAO at the end of my career. Now we have navy guys “blending in” to the war in Butterworth with them transiting?

  3. Peter Kelly says


    It sounds akin to the air traffic controllers who were in Richmond in Australia (outside Sydney) who were awarded the AASM for the evacuation of Saigon because they were posted to the squadron that performed the evac flights. The Australian soldiers at RCB, who were actually involved (including the ADG guys who eventually replaced us and went into Saigon after we were taken off the aircraft), received nothing – because they weren’t on the posted strength of the squadron. There are anomalies like this everywhere.


  4. Tas Browning says

    Mac your comment in regards to RAN people getting the AASM and not serving in Afghanistan itself needs clarification from you mmm
    Another note is that not very often does anyone know what is outside the WIRE where ever that is???

  5. Peter Kelly says

    Hi Tas,

    I don’t know of Mark Jordan and I have no problem with off-line contact. My personal email is [email protected].



  6. Tas Browning says

    Hi Peter, I wish to make contact off line? is that OK?

  7. Tas Browning says

    Hi Peter, I have just received a letter from DHA with a knock back on my submission, signed by Mark Jordan, do you know of him?
    Best regards

  8. Tas Browning says

    I’m not sure if the critics here have done much research of the Archives, but they are VAST and widespread, I am a naval historical and researcher and in one file I found Where Indonesia delivered a “Declaration of War” to the Australian Embassy in Djakata in Jan. 1958,Fact.
    amongst a lot of other info

  9. Peter Kelly says

    Hi Tas,
    No problems.


  10. Tas Browning says

    Many thanks mate for your comment, its very much appreciated indeed.
    I hope there is no problem with your previous comment from those in the big place?
    My submission is in regards to passage through the Sunda strait in March 1962 and May 1963 where we went to “Action Station to force passage.
    Keep well
    Best Regards

  11. Peter Kelly says

    Hi Tas,

    My pleasure. Keep going.

    Thank you for your service.



  12. Tas Browning says

    Hi Peter,
    Many thanks for your input, it reflects what I have known for many years and it gives me more reason to keep pushing my submission that has been ongoing for many years with responses like you have described.
    Best Regards
    Tas Browning ex-RAN

  13. Peter Kelly says

    I am happy to agree to disagree. I’ve worked in the parliament, I’ve attended meeting with Minister Tehan, NOSB staff and all manner of people to discuss this very matter. I’ve witnessed the way in which they waffle their way around the facts and deny certain things ever took place, but as soon as an RCB veteran is present, they shut up shop and call the meeting to an end, rather than admit they are bullshitting. I’ve seen this with my own eyes. I’ve heard it with my own ears. I have been privileged to attend these meetings. I know they are denying the truth. Have a great ANZAC Day and thank you for your service. Cheers.

  14. Crackles says

    We will have to agree to disagree mate!
    I won’t comment on what others have done for their AASM,as that was up to the government to rightly classify, the same as they did for this situation. As I have said, I was quite embarrassed to get an ASM for Butterworth,but what would I know.

  15. Peter Kelly says


    I have not “shot you down” as you state. I have merely stated what your behaviour is i.e. based on not having read the evidence. If you HAVE read it and you don’t agree with it’s findings, all I can say is that you didn’t understand what you were reading. The evidence, when printed out, stands over a metre high. Are you saying you’ve read it all? I doubt you’ve even seen it all, but I could be wrong.

    Maybe we’ll just have to agree to disagree. History is full of examples where things have been corrected after decades of neglect. This is no different, except that it is a willful act on the part of the government, not neglect.

    If impartial people can see the error, why do you think those who were there are wrong? Answer me these two questions, if you would:

    1. Should the guys who served at Diego Garcia be awarded the AASM?

    2. Should the guys who served at Ubon be awarded the AASM?

    Please support your answers with reasons and evidence, not just “yes/no”.


  16. Ok Peter, keep on asking for review after review until you get what you want mate.
    Having served in Warlike and Non Warlike Operations, and after reading the so called evidence I know what this one falls under.
    Isn’t strange that anyone who questions the validity of this medal grab is shot down by your good self, I wonder why…..

  17. Peter Kelly says

    Like most detractors, you are absent the facts. No, there was not a review conducted by two Infantry WOs. It was conducted by NOSB and by a woman (ex-RAN), plus a public servant.

    If the umpires decision was infallible, there wouldn’t be electronic referees and the slo-mo review of umpires decisions (seeing as how you’re using a sporting analogy).

    If you are not prepared to read the evidence, you are just bullshitting your audience with no substance. Please don’t.



  18. The government and defence have made their decision after reviewing all the information at hand.I believe it was completed by two infantry WO’s with a very high standing.
    You guys should accept the umpires decision and move on. Accept it was a peacetime operation and wear your ASM with pride. Us new veterans really don’t care how big your rack is, it’s more about you serving with pride

  19. Peter Kelly says

    Your ignorance is astounding. The facts point to there being a war in Malaysia from 1968 to 1989. To deny that is to deny history.
    It’s obvious you don’t understand the benefits of comparison when it comes to historical research. Diego Garcia – AASM – the troops were unarmed. Ubon – AASM – not a shot fired and no-one “outside the wire”.

    Again, I say you haven’t read the history. You haven’t researched the facts. You’ve taken your limited experience and extrapolated it to the whole and that’s both ignorant and foolish. Every time you write something you reinforce that.

    There’s plenty of people with more experience and ability who argue, as I do, that the recognition is warranted. Justice Mohr agreed after an objective examination of the FACTS. Now, he was a general (having risen from the ranks) and a magistrate. Tell me that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and you have more experience and/or qualifications to determine the eligibility for the award than he. I can’t wait.

  20. Peter.
    We are Talking RCB not about other UN deployments. You are trying to muddy the conversation on RCB being a “WAR ZONE”.
    It was not a war zone. FACT in history.

    Peter, I will take your comment,
    “Maybe RCB was not a war in your opinion in the 80s. I don’t know. I wasn’t there then”
    As your contribution on the AASM for RCB debate as not really any relevance
    I’d ask that you not make ill-informed posts. Makes you look ignorant and foolish.

    Pete wrote “I was off doing other shit around the world for which I know I will never be recognised”.

    Well Peter, so what. Most people do “Shit” that we will never get recognition for. Most don’t do it for the recognition or the pay.

    So again i write, RCB was not a War Zone. But that’s Just me,the majority of the guys who went and the ADF.

    This all sounds like, the older guys feeling as though they are left out.
    Same as the 1972+ guys missing Vietnam. Tuff. “was what it was”.

  21. The government and defence have made their decision after reviewing all the information at hand.I believe it was completed by two infantry WO’s with a very high standing.
    You guys should accept the umpires decision and move on. Accept it was a peacetime operation and wear your ASM with pride. Us new veterans really don’t care how big your rack is, it’s more about you serving with pride.

  22. Smithy, Yes and i have been to RCB [80s}and it was defiantly Not WAR.
    You Smithy are after something you are not entitled to, a AASM. We had harder tips to Tully than RCB.

    Pete, RCB was not a war Zone. If it was we would have a AASM not a ASM.
    I have no problem getting a ASM for Timor 06+, the Government had it correct. I don’t think we should of received a AASM for Timor 99+ However it was awarded.
    Now i do think my AASM Clasp for Afghanistan is earned as it is a War.
    I have done 7 SOTG rotations to the Gahn and you want to be awarded the same medal as myself and my team. You go for it, you did have live ammo and ROE and you even thought you may have casualties.
    Governments are always waiting for us War Vets to die off. nothing new on that one.
    I hope they don’t try and give us an upgrade to a AASM as it would be a sad day, however you guys are the squeaky wheel and will probably keep asking and asking till you get one.

    • Peter Kelly says

      Maybe RCB was not a war in your opinion in the 80s. I don’t know. I wasn’t there then. I was off doing other shit around the world for which I know I will never be recognised. I was there a bit before you when things were hitting the fan everywhere – the fall of Cambodia, the fall of Vietnam etc. All of South East Asia was in turmoil and Malaysia was at war.

      A lot of peacekeepers and peacemakers have been killed in situations where civil war, or invasion has happened while they’ve been in a country. In the case of Lebanon, the embassy packed up and left because of the hostile situation that had broken out. The UN troops had to stay – unarmed – and put up with having barrels shoved in their faces, being pistol whipped by militias, being butt stroked by Israeli soldiers who didn’t like Australia’s political decisions. Some were killed, but according to our government they were not in a war zone. Every other country in the world believe it was a war, but not us. Nope. Not a bit. So no AASM for our blokes that served there, or anywhere else the government doesn’t want to admit sending people in harm’s way and then just walk away from their obligations. All it takes is a stroke of a pen.

      It is obvious to me that you HAVEN’T read the evidence, so I’d ask that you not make ill-informed posts until you have. Makes you look ignorant and foolish.

      Oh and by the way, you can go to the beaches at Normandy now and they’re peaceful and beautiful, but try to tell that to a veteran who stormed ashore on 6 June 1944 and the might just disagree. Then tell him he’s not entitled to any award because when you went there it wasn’t dangerous.

  23. Crackles, Mac and all other’s that are non belivers, have you not read Michael Von Berg MC, Chairman THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT CORPORATION Para 3,c, d and e dated 11th Nov 2014. Letter to the Prime Minister from THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT CORPORATION Dated 21st Jan 2016, also letter from AIR FORCE ASSOCIATION , Group Captain Carl Schiller, OAM CSM (Retd) dated 16th Feb 2018 to The Hon Malcolm Turnbull, MP. Crackles, Mac etc, have you read any of the evidence that has been put forward, we are after nothing that we are not entilted to , it is not about how many rounds we put down range or how many KIA etc, it’s about the position we were put in by our Goverment.

  24. Tas Browning says

    What will be interesting is the result of my submission before DHAT sometime in the near future considering the responses from questions of Senator Brian Burston??

  25. Peter Kelly says

    I find those who think RCB was a holiday probably served at a time of reduced tension. All conflicts have had their “holiday areas” e.g. Paris in WW2, Vung Tau in SVN etc. I use them deliberately as they represent conventional and counter-insurgency warfare. Many who wear the AASM did not leave the wire in their deployment and no-one begrudges the the award. Similarly, many of us at RCB did go outside the wire with live ammunition, rules of engagement, an expectation of contact and casualties. The fact that it didn’t happen doesn’t diminish the risk or threat. I know many who’ve served in warlike circumstances who did go outside the wire, but didn’t fire a shot in anger. Would you expect them to return their awards as “not worthy”? I doubt it. Similarly, there were guys in SVN who were KIA on their first day on operations without firing a shot. Are they less worthy? Get a grip. Most of this controversy is because of government policy to deny the truth and nothing to do with the actual nature of the deployment.

    • Peter. The big difference is WW2, SVN, Afghan, Iraq and the like are War with real enemy and your comparison was not good.
      Timor Lestre was downgraded to a ASM, however the biggest contact was after the AASM was no longer awarded. So you have guys outside the wire in a contact killing the “bad guys” and only being awarded the ASM and fact not being awarded the ICB.
      When TL was AASM you had the guys being awarded the ICB and never fire their weapons in contact with the enemy. I would never tell someone they don’t deserve the awards because they do.
      RCB you do not.

      Just because you had a RoE etc does not give you the AASM, You have RoE with a ASM, so this argument is invalid.
      Fact is You or I did not go to a war zone. So no AASM.

      As you wrote
      “I know many who’ve served in warlike circumstances who did go outside the wire, but didn’t fire a shot in anger. Would you expect them to return their awards as “not worthy”? I doubt it. Similarly, there were guys in SVN who were KIA on their first day on operations without firing a shot. Are they less worthy?”
      The big difference is they went to a “WAR ZONE” you did not. They are entitled to the AASM, whether they shot or not is irrelevant and not a valid argument.

      Your comment to bring up the “KIA” just peed me off and i will not comment more on that.

      Fact is that most RAN guys have the Afghan gong and have never steeped foot in Afghanistan. But still are initialled to it. As they meet the requirement. RBC does not for a AASM.

      No, the controversy is because you are asking for something you never earned. You are just trying to get something that you did not earn.
      And that old “deny the Truth”…come on…

      • Peter Kelly says

        Hi Mac,

        Thank you for your comments. I did go to a “war zone” – it just hasn’t been classified as that in the Australian documents. The Second Malayan Emergency (or Counter-insurgency War) is a reality that took place, whether you like it or not.

        Your arguments about Timor simply reinforce my argument that the government doesn’t always get it right. RCB is yet another example of that. You cannot ignore the fact that Gough Whitlam, when elected on a platform of “Fortress Australia” in 1972, did not take into consideration all of Australia’s strategic commitments, so to save face with voters, created the “training lie” and that has been held by successive governments.

        In 2006 an Australian government official said to staff at the American War Library (under an NDA) that Australia was waiting for more veterans to die off before they recognised anything as they didn’t have the funds to pay for them all.

        Your assertions for the controversy are not founded in fact. The awards have been earned – and this was found by Justice Mohr. It is just that the government didn’t like what he found and commissioned the Clarke Report to counter what Mohr determined.

        Examine the irrefutable raw data. I have. To do otherwise is to make an uninformed decision.

  26. Agree Crackles.

  27. Crackles says

    Sorry guys, I think this is all “Drawing a long bow” about all of this. From someone that has been in a number of warzones and “non warlike” areas, I know which one this falls in ?

    • Michael Connolly says

      Pseudonyms are used by people of a craven nature.

      • Michael, “People” who have a Pseudonym or a Nickname may not give a rats arse about what other people think about them. However to have the opinion and comment on line that they are cowardly would also be craven in nature.

        . The 70s ,80s and 90s was just a terrible time to be serving. This is all about some members wanting to “feel” as though they are the same as the newer guys that have deployed, as the ASM is not good enough or worthy.
        RCB you had more danger of alcohol poisoning or drowning in the open drains than being contacted by the Communist few.

        The thing about the “New” Vet is they don’t judge what you have or have not done, just that you were willing to serve.
        People walk aground on ANZAC day thinking they are killing it, all gonged up. I take my gongs off after the service and drink with former team mates and never would we hear a bad word about some one without a AASM. I really think this is all about t he money and nothing but the money.
        They should be happy they have an ASM, as some had to earn their ASM not in a holiday destination, but in the carnage of Soli or TL etc.

      • I had to look up what “Craven in nature” actually meant. Stuff you old man.