FEDERAL member for Page Kevin Hogan has welcomed the announcement of a full inquiry into the awarding and withholding of Imperial and Australian Defence Force honours and awards.
The inquiry comes after the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal identified a long history of improper withholding and forfeiture of defence awards by the Australian Defence services.
“This is an important step forward for many veterans in Page who have not received the official recognition they deserve,” Mr Hogan said.
“I thank my colleague parliamentary secretary of defence Darren Chester for asking the Tribunal to fully investigate the extent to which Imperial and Australian Defence honours and awards have been improperly refused, withheld and forfeited from the beginning of the Second World War until now.”
The Tribunal will make recommendations to correct any injustices from the improper refusal, withholding or forfeiture of these awards and honours by service people in the Navy, Army and Airforce.
The initial investigation by the Tribunal suggests that many decisions taken to withhold medals of the country’s veterans who served in the Second World War and later conflicts were legally doubtful.
“I expect the Tribunal will report back to the Government on the correct and preferred way to address any injustices it encounters in the course of its investigations,” Mr Hogan said.
“Defence awards in recognition of war service are treasured by veterans and their families, and for that reason it is important to identify ways to restore the entitlements to those who have been wrongfully denied.”
The Tribunal’s inquiry will focus on the practices of the three services and the Department of Defence, and will not specifically report on individual cases. However, veterans and families who may have been affected are encouraged to bring their case to the attention of the Tribunal by lodging a submission.
Once the Government considers the Tribunal’s findings and corrects any injustices identified, individuals can then apply to the Department of Defence to have entitlements restored. If those applications are unsuccessful, they can then reapply to the Tribunal for a further review of their individual circumstances.
Submissions to the inquiry will close on Friday 28, February 2014.
For more information contact the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal on (02) 6266 3486 or via email at DHA.Tribunal@defence.gov.au.