Senate Questions on Notice 6 – RCB Recognition of Service

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 6 – Sen. Burston (PHONP)

How does the minister and his advisors propose to defend the official position they adopt on the RCB claim when the public and mass media are alerted to the scale and duration of the deliberate deception regarding the true nature of  the RCB deployment during the Communist Insurgency?

Answer 6. Sen. Cormann for Sen. Payne

The Department of Defence has been diligent in undertaking an extensive and comprehensive examination of available evidence to ensure  an accurate and balanced perspective on ADF service at Butterworth during the period 1968 to 1989, The view that ADF service at Butterworth during this period does not satisfy the criteria for classification as warlike service is supported by the Department of Prime Minster and Cabinet, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Finance and Deregulation. It is also consistent with independent Australian and New Zealand reviews and inquiries. 

RCB Review Group Response to the Answer 6.


This response is an indirect generalisation that seeks to create the impression that the big ’Government must be right’, so therefore the little RCB Review Group must be wrong. This is done by listing supposed ‘supporting departments’, and a NZ entity.

If these other agencies actually do agree with Defence, then they can do so only on the basis of the selective briefs Defence will have supplied to them, or due to their very limited involvement, not because they will have independently studied the entire RCB data.

Reference to the NZ study is an ‘own-goal’. The Butterworth element of that study is widely discredited by the NZ veterans’ community due to its near-total reliance on a single (and highly biased) person’s input to reach – unsurprisingly – almost the same conclusion as the Australian Government. There is NO Australian data in the NZ study. So how can the NZ study possibly be inferred to apply to the RCB?  Further, the NZ story only covered 1970-73 when the NZs went home, whereas the AS experience, being subject to continuing Australian Government deception actions and enemy activity post-1973, is very different.

Classic drawing at straws.


  1. Hay mate,
    In all honesty Garry i think its just that the guys missed Vietnam and nothing much went on for us grunts till East Timor 99. Somalia 1RAR and Rwandan 2RAR was it.
    I take it that its all about the VEA money and also wanting to be like the Vets that were deployed to a “war zone”.
    Funny thing we “Recent Vets” really don’t care and are not impressed about gongs.
    Its that you Served,

  2. Hi Garry,
    Regarding the Ball. For the “THREAT” an ASM was Awarded.
    What is being demanded from this is the ASM is not enough.
    They want the Highest a digger can be awarded for a “deployment”. also the ICB that goes with it.
    Next on the agenda will be the Citation.
    This is not Government saying “stuff the troops”, far from it. Its “some” troops saying. “A want more”.
    I had Ball in my SLR and sat on top of the Vehicles, To me and my mates it was fun. Nothing more.

    • Hi Mack,
      Sorry I missed what it was about. OK, is it just a case of colour hunting for their chests?

  3. Garry Muir says

    Hi There,
    And here we have another case of stuff the troops, we sent them and we control what they get and to hell with the rest. Different story from Govt as you would expect, cant spend all that money on Medals and any claims by soldiers for pensions etc. The bastards break,em and then shirk their responsibility to mend them. I never saw action in 20+ years, I am an Ex-Serviceman not a Veteran and totally Support any of the guys that went there. Just a final throw of the dice, if there was no danger, why were the troops issued with BALL AMMUNITION??????? NO THREAT NO BALL AMMUNITION, makes sense to me????