23 July 2008

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support, the Hon. Dr Mike Kelly AM MP, today announced the appointment of the inaugural Chair and members of the independent Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal.

Dr Kelly said, “The establishment of the Tribunal is the fulfilment of a Government election promise, and is an important step in ensuring that Defence Honours and Awards issues are considered independently of both Defence and Government.”

Emeritus Professor, Denis Pearce AO, has been appointed Chair of the Tribunal.

“Professor Pearce is a distinguished Australian academic, lawyer and former Ombudsman and Defence Ombudsman, who will make an outstanding contribution to the role of Chair, and the ongoing establishment and integrity of the Tribunal,” said Dr Kelly.

The following people have been appointed as inaugural members of the Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal:

1. Mr Adam Bodzioch, former senior state public servant, SA;

2. Brigadier Gary Bornholt AM, CSC (Retd), former senior Army Officer, ACT;

3. Vice Admiral Don Chalmers AO (Retd), former Chief of Navy, NSW;

4. Dr Jane Harte, psychologist, QLD;

5. Ms Christine Heazlewood, lawyer, VIC;

6. Ms Sigrid Higgins, barrister, NSW;

7. Professor David Horner, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, ACT;

8. Mr John Jones AM, former HR manager, NSW;

9. Air Commodore Mark Lax CSM (Retd), former senior Air Force Officer, ACT; and

10. Warrant Officer Class 1 Kevin Woods, CSC, OAM, former Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army, ACT.

Dr Kelly said, “These appointments to the Tribunal ensure a combination of military history, community and professional experience, as well as a balance across the Services, genders and States.”

The priority issues to be considered by the Tribunal are the eligibility criteria for the Australian Defence Medal, and the claims of the Merchant Navy, including recognition for those who served with the United States Army Small Ships Fleet.

Information on these reviews will be released shortly. Further information on the Tribunal Chair and members is available at:

Media contacts:

Mark Sjolander (Dr Mike Kelly):
02 6277 4840 or 0407 102 220

Defence Media Liaison:
02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664