RCB Recognition – Response to Minister Chester and VCDF’s Rejection

Yesterday, Friday 13th July the RCBRG sent the following to those named and all politicians in the belief that they as evidence based decision makers will read the facts of the matters themselves and act to have the Government’s decision reversed or to recommend the appointment of an independent of government public inquiry.


Dear Minister for Defence Personnel D. Chester and VCADF VADM D. Johnston,

This correspondence to you with copies to all parliamentarians, addresses the recent form letters signed by you Minister and VADM Griggs and in some cases, by individual local politicians who have added some variation.

In all those letters is the continued assertion that Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) service in Malaysia during the Communist Insurgency War/Second Malaysian Emergency 1968-1989 was peacetime in nature and rejection of our continued requests to have that service properly recognised as warlike. RCB (Army) first deployed to Air Base Butterworth 1 Nov 70. RAAF personnel were already there.

Common to all is a fundamental question – Why won’t the Government consider the facts uncovered by the RCB Review Group and made available to them instead of engaging in a sustained deception regarding RCB’s service?

  • Even though numerous submissions using irrefutable evidence have been made.
  • Even though it has been repeatedly demonstrated where Defence bureaucrats have got it wrong and/or deliberately misrepresented the facts using selective information to uphold a predetermined view.
  • Even though any fair-minded reader can readily see the facts for what they are.
  • Even though the RCB Review Group has not been given the opportunity to personally present and contest the facts with the Government and/or its advisors.
  • Even though nearly every other similar deployment has had initial recognition re-graded (correctly) from peacetime to warlike service.

From all the evidence it is clear that a pre-determined position of denial and deception continues to this day. A deliberate rear-guard action is being carried out by pressured elected officials who are influenced by their professional public service employees whose task is to provide fearless and honest evidence-based advice and support in accordance with their code of ethics. Instead, what began as a strategic deception plan has now become an acute embarrassment for a different generation of politicians and supporting officials. 

Attached are the RCB Review Group’s response and rebuttal of these form letters and a copy of our current complaint submission to the Defence Ombudsman of administrative deficiency and misfeasance within the bureaucracy.

We beseech you and all addressees to consider these documents and, as evidenced based decision makers, to make their own mind up and then act collectively to right this dreadful wrong before we are forced to take the steps necessary to bring this matter before the Australian courts of both legal and public opinion.

As a follow up to this correspondence we will be seeking to meet with all parliamentarians in their electorate office to discuss the matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Robert Cross
Leader RCB Review Group
(07) 3352 4612
0402 986 454
[email protected]
4/15 Gardiner Street
Alderley, Qld 4051
12 July 2018


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Distribution – c.c

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister
Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Defence
The Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition
The Hon. Richard Marles MP, Shadow Minister for Defence
The Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP, Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel
Senator the Hon. Richard di Natoli
Senator the Hon. Pauline Hanson
All Federal Parliamentarians
Secretary Department of Defence
Chief of the Australian Defence Force
Chief of Navy
Chief of Army
Chief of Air Force
Australian Army History Unit
RAAF History Unit



  1. Tas Browning says

    My best advice comes from what I have learned over many years seeking the approval of politicians, it does not work.
    I forwarded a comprehensive submission to the Department of Defence(in part knowing the response)then with that response I forwarded a new submission to Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal where I know it will have more independent outcome

  2. Craig Ellery says

    What happened to my last post? Sorry if speaking doesn’t coalesce with mass opinion.

  3. Craig Ellery says

    Personally, I think this is a waste of time. Senior bureaucrats, politicians and Defence hierarchy have demonstrated, repeatedly, they are not interested in responding to submissions or calls for a fair hearing. This is only delaying the process for recognition, which has gone on for too long. Action is what’s required. I believe that when our plight has been paraded in the public spotlight, via a protest in Canberra and other media attractive activities, we may achieve the independent public inquiry we desire. Anyway, that’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.

  4. Desley King says

    The Australian Government has no right to say what is a war zone unless they were there for the entire time themselves. My husband who served with the Wallaby Airlines in Vietnam was first denied his assertion of his problems associated with being in the firing line up near the border when assisting the USA Special Forces Company, because officially, the Australians were not in that area. He received a medal and commendation from the USA with a signed letter from the President because they know what our guys went through and the aid and assistance they gave so how come its not in the Australian records? No war should be fought unless the Defence Force can rely on it’s own country and its people to back them. they fight for all of us so we collectively should be fighting for them. Even if Butterworth was seen as an R&R location, there was no let up of the threat felt by those who were there because the enemy didn’t wear uniforms that signified who they were so to an Australian going to an Asian country at the time of war it was like every person was their enemy and the level of stress felt was high at all times. The Australian Government should support ALL of its troops, ALL the time and not when it feels it will benefit the Government. The Government is there to benefit the people and uphold the rights of its people, this is a right they should uphold.

  5. Tas Browning says

    The details expressed above are so simular to my experienced and this goes back to 2005, were I to offer advice, may I suggest that a submission is put together with all clear and relevant documentation,(not heresay) to the defence department.
    sadly I bet there is no pollie advice in any of their responses of what your next step should be??
    Though I am ex-navy I do support your quest, don’t look back, look forward
    Best Regards
    Tas Browning