Recognition of Military Service Speech – Senator Brian Burston (One Nation Party)

In his speech to the Senate this evening  “Recognition of service rendered – justice delayed is justice denied,” Sen. Burston identified a large number of servicemen who have been denied the recognition of their service and entitlements.

He calls for an independent review by an expert panel – not drawn from government or Defence – to judiciously and diligently examine the matter using the wealth of evidence available.

He states that in 2014, “Defence directed its legal teams to go into the records and edit them to deny some of those servicemen their benefits and recognition. So, it wasn’t enough that these men went and served their country with distinction, they then had to come back and fight their employer for the recognition they so rightly deserved – all the time watching while that employer moved the goalposts.”

To the best of his knowledge, since the Korean War, the number of servicemen who have yet to be recognised for being “on active service” or “on war service” totals in excess of 20,000. The numbers include, but are not limited to:

• Navy personnel who served on HMAS Sydney taking troops to or from Vietnam.

• Soldiers from 1RAR, 2RAR, 4RAR and 8RAR who served in peninsula Malaysia between 1966 and 1969.

• Soldiers who served at Rifle Company Butterworth 1970 to 1989.

• Soldiers, sailors and airmen who served in East Timor.

There may be more.

To highlight the discrepancies, he provides one comparison of  oprational service – that of Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB)  in Malaysia with the R.A.A.F. Ubon in Thailand and Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

RCB has been denied recognition of their operational role in protecting RAAF assets at Butterworth in the period 1970-1988, when Malaysia was fighting its Communist Insurgency War, and the strategic nature of its deployment. 

The issue of recognising Rifle Company Butterworth has been raised since 2006, but has been blocked by successive Governments and Defence. They refuse to consider the full evidence.

The RCB deception is now been exposed. 

The Senators full statement is available on The Senate Hansard. Download it here

See his speech here commencing at 20.40

21 March 2017


  1. Maurie Young says

    As a former member of 8RAR during it’s service in Malaysia, I was unaware I was on Active Service or War Service.
    I was also unaware the Malaysian Armed Forces were fighting a Communist Insurgency War between 1970 and 1988; how did they survive?

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