Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Released on behalf of the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support, the Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM MP, today announced that the Government would seek Royal Assent to create a new medal to recognise those who served in Post-Armistice Korea. Eligible veterans would also receive the Return from Active Service Badge.

The Korean Post-Armistice Service Review was established in 2005 to investigate and recommend an appropriate level of recognition for those veterans who served in post-armistice Korea from 28 July 1953 to 19 April 1956. The Review panel comprised Rear Admiral Ian Crawford AO AM; (Mil) RAN (Retd); Mr Garry Nehl AM (both the co-chairs); Ms Colleen Thurgar AM; and Brigadier Gordon Jones AM (Retd).

The recommendations relating to recognition were:

* an Australian General Service Medal-Korea (GSM) should be instituted for this service; and

* the service warrants recognition by the Returned from Active Service Badge (RASB).

The Department of Defence will shortly make the administrative arrangements to issue the RASB to eligible veterans. Striking of the new Australian GSM-Korea requires Royal Assent, and Dr Kelly said that the Government would write to The Queen seeking assent for creating the new medal.

"Implementation of this review was an election commitment, and the Rudd Labor Government has delivered. The service these veterans rendered was unique and warrants the recognition they are being offered today," Dr Kelly said.

"The conditions under which these people served were at least as arduous and dangerous as many subsequent operations which have attracted similar recognition, and 18 members lost their lives while engaged in this service.

"These proud servicemen deserve the gratitude of our nation for their contribution to world peace in one of the more dangerous international situations since World War II, which had the potential to escalate into a nuclear confrontation. I salute them and am delighted that the Rudd Labor Government has been able to help them achieve resolution to their cause, which should have happened long before now."

In considering the implementation of the Review, Dr Kelly consulted with the co-chairs of the Review panel, Mr Bob Morris, President, Korea War Veterans of Australia and his colleagues.

"I would like to thank the Review panel team for their efforts, and in particular Rear Admiral Crawford and Mr Nehl for their advice over the past months."

"I would also like to highlight the tireless efforts of Mr Bob Morris in particular, but also his colleagues in pursuing implementation of this Review, and the advice they provided to me about the service rendered by post-armistice veterans. This announcement today represents long overdue formal recognition by the Government of their unique service," Dr Kelly said.


Mark Sjolander (Dr Mike Kelly):

02 6277 4840 or 0407 102 220

Defence Media Liaison:

02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664