Minister, we offer our congratulations to you on our Government’s decision to commission an independent inquiry to examine the information provided by scheme administrators and relevant departments to members of the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) superannuation scheme commutation.
We are pleased that you have restated an operating principle “The Government recognises the importance of open and transparent discussion around veteran concerns” and will commission this independent examination to occur.
We ask you to apply that same principle to the Rifle Company Butterworth Review Group’s nature of service claim for warlike service 1970 -1989 during their operational deployment to protect Australia’s RAAF assets at Air Base Butterworth against attack during the Malaysian Counter Insurgency War and agree to commission an independent inquiry. If not, why not?
Your appearance and comments on the ABC TV 7.30 Report last night could be equally applied to your Defence Department’s consideration of the RCB’s case for warlike service. You said at 4.32 minutes into the interview: “Given the documents provided to me today provided contrary advice to the official documentation I have received in the past, it is appropriate that an independent person has a good look at who provided the advice, were they authorised to interpret it the way they have …. and what status has the document….. Having an independent person go through the full scope of advice provided is an important way to handle it”
We agree absolutely with that reasoning. Yet, since 2006 the RCB Review Group’s request for a face to face examination and challenge of the facts, revealed from evidence we obtained from the Minister’s own Departments and Government (some secret but now released after the 30 year public exposure rule) and other national and international sources, with the Defence decision makers has been ignored except in one deceitful event. From our recorded experience we believe the Defence Department’s process to be unfair and not in keeping with their staffs codes of conduct and ethics. Our correspondence to you Minister since the “Clayton’s meeting” at Parliament House in November 2018 remains unanswered.
Minister, our request, repeated again, is for you to apply your stated principle: “The Government recognises the importance of open and transparent discussion around veteran concerns” and appoint and external inquiry into the RCB’s claim.