It’s been four months since we made our last RCB submission for review to the Minister for Defence Personnel, Andrew Gee, which was supported by the Ethicos Report written by Howard Whitton a noted authority on governance probity and law making.
Howard’s examination of the evidence (which includes 210 past secret and 16 past top-secret documents) related to the Government’s RCB decision (as peacetime service) and its unfair process in handling our challenge, found breaches of the law, standards and conduct in three distinct areas:
- Ministers failed to Respect Administrative Law principles;
- Ministers failed to Act in Accordance with Ministerial Standards; and
- APS Officials failed to Act in Accordance with the ‘APS Code and Values’
Following our submission, the NZ Government’s decision on 3rd November 2021 recognised its own RCB troops deployment as operational service and so overturned its previous 2013 decision: a decision that our government has always cited as a reason for denying our troops RCB warlike service. The NZ change arose from their government’s acceptance of a real enemy threat: evidence obtained from our own RCBRG’s national and international sources data base.
With these two major persuasive documents in the Minister’s possession, we believed a decision was possible without an inordinate delay. Four months is unacceptable. Yet such delays are in keeping with our experience over 16 years with successive government Ministers, the Defence Department and its Nature of Service Branch. Those delays substantiate the failings outlined above.
We believe this to be Defence’s normal stalling tactic especially now with a federal election on the horizon (May 2022?). Their avoidance of a decision against our claim before the election is a ploy to avoid unwelcome criticism against the Government.
With integrity issues dominant in the national media at Federal and State levels, our RCB experience with the Defence Department is relevant and newsworthy to an already suspicious and inquisitive media and the Australian people.
Well, it is time when push has come to shove. We have now been pushed into action to demand a decision from Minister Gee by the c.o.b. 28th February 2022. If no decision is forthcoming or his decision is negative, we will go public with a national social media campaign to expose the deception and seek natural justice concurrent with other actions at the national media, political and legal levels.
Without satisfaction from the Minister, we want an independent of government judicial inquiry.
To all our supporters thanks for your attempts to engage with your Federal MP and State Senators before last Christmas. Some of us were successful but many failed to even receive an acknowledgement. Don’t be deterred. In the next few weeks we will re-invigorate our engagement plan with them by the added disclosure of the Whitton Report’s findings that cannot be ignored.
Stand ready for our call to action.
RCB Service 1979
Chairman RCB Review Group
Date: 23 February 2022