Comment – The Dark Emu Indictment words could equally apply to our Government’s RCB Peacetime Service Classification

In Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate, anthropologist Peter Sutton and archaeologist Keryn Walshe deliver a damning indictment on Bruce Pascoe’s bestselling and prize-winning book Dark Emu, saying it “is poorly researched”, “distorts and exaggerates many old sources”, “contains a large number of factual errors” and “selects evidence to suit the author’s opinions … and ignores large bodies of information that do not”.

Equally, the RCB Review Group contends that those damning indictment words can equally be applied to the Government’s decision that RCB’s operational deployment (1970 -1989) to protect the “RAAF assets” at Butterworth Air Base during the Malaysian Counter Insurgency War (1968 -1989) was peacetime service and not warlike.

Our challenge to the truth of their decision is based on factual evidence discovered (through FOI) from the Government’s own military and diplomatic documents (including over 200 past SECRET) and other notable international and national sources. That evidence shows;

  • the RCB deployment met the incurred danger test and the criteria for warlike service existing at that time;
  • the deployment was disguised to the public as training with the Malaysian Armed Forces;
  • multiple errors of fact and omissions of relevant facts by the Government; and
  • the Government’s complaints process was unfair and has denied natural justice.

Question. Why does the Government ignore our request for a public independent of government third party inquiry of their decision and their process?
Answer. ???? Tell us what you think

“The search for truth takes you where the facts lead you”


  1. Defence have trapped themselves in a corner with nowhere to go with their intransigence, conflicting and dishonest statements, and a desperate attempt to admit a failure of process and put the potential financial cost to the Government above the moral imperative to look after the troops.

    A shameful episode by a department that seems secure behind an impenetrable firewall knowing that they first and last point of contact by ministers. No accountability to the public and above scrutiny.

  2. The govt of the day and since would be shown up as hiding the truth from the Australian public. The cost to have this service accurately recorded with defence honours and awards would cost the govt in overdue veteran entitlements.

  3. The government do not want to relinquish control of their agenda to outsiders.
    They want to continue to have control of the the narrative.
    MPs are expected to adhere to the Party line, regardless of whether they personally agree with it, or not.
    When a country is at war, internal or otherwise, the entire country is at war.
    Insurgents do not differentiate.
    Insurgents will take advantage of any, perceived, weak target to make political or strategic gain.
    BAB was not an easy target due to RCB presence.
    If RCB were not deployed to protect BAB, BAB would have been a more acceptable risk to the Insurgents and wiuld have been a propaganda coup, if acheived.

    • Thanks Warren for your valid comments.
      The documented intelligence assessments during the Malaysian Counter Insurgency War (1968-1989) revealed a real and present insurgent threat. It caused the RAAF to seek greater protection of the Air Base Butterworth with the presence of Australian combat infantry troops. The RCB’s deployment was successful in deterring an attack on the Base.
      Ted Chitham

  4. I strongly disagree with the article.
    Firstly ,the DARK EMU is a concocted story of the old days! I myself as a small boy on a farm on the Darling Downs ,came upon many NULA NULLAS (ROCKS SHAPED LIKE AZES) It would have been EXTREMELY HARD to build these buildings ,WITH THESE!.
    Bruce Pascoe has been proven to be a liar by aboriginal seniors.
    The RCB was real, as you well know! We have the EVIDENCE! I cannot see any comparison between the two !The problem with the RCB ,is as you know , the people at the top guided by the Government. I hope you accept and publish my reply? I see the strong military warning ,IF APPROVED!!

    • Thanks for your comments Bill. They were approved and posted on the website.
      In reply, you have misinterpreted the comparison. Ours is only with the words of criticism used against Pascoe that we say can be equally applied to our RCB criticism of the Government. We have the evidence discovered from political, military and diplomatic sources including over 200 past secret documents.
      We fight on.
      Ted Chitham

      • Ted,
        Thank you for posting, my computer said it was not to be posted.
        Yes ,I stand corrected in my reply.
        Thank you for your dedication re the RCB.
        Bill Parry.

  5. I often wonder why 4, 8, 1 and finally 6 RAR did two year tours of Malaya and/or Singapore (65-73) under SEATO, and later, ANZUK agreements. Although most members of 4 RAR qualified for AASM 45-75 (to Aug 66?) , surely 8, 1 and 6 RAR (and Fd Btys, et al) weren’t posted there solely for training purposes. FESR was there for a long time prior to ANZUK agreement in Nov 71

  6. And the band played on !

  7. Ted,
    Thank you for posting, my computer said it was not to be posted.
    Yes ,I stand corrected in my reply.
    Thank you for your dedication re the RCB.
    Bill Parry.

The Deception


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