Tuesday, 15 Sep 2009

Dear Minister,

On behalf of the APPVA, I thank you for your Media Release acknowledging the special meaning of Australian Peacekeeper Day, yesterday 14th September 2009. I am also glad to hear that you were able to lay a wreath at our National Peacekeeping Memorial Site on ANZAC Avenue in Canberra, along with other dignitaries. I understand that it was a good turn-out and I hope that all participants were able to learn a little more of the service, courage and sacrifice of ADF and Police IDG service men and women, who have been involved in Peacekeeping Operations since 14th September 1947.

I do however, hold a concern as to the number of operations and contribution of Australians to these operations since 1947, that was quoted in your Media Release. We have extensively researched the Australian Contribution and as of December 2008, there has been over 103,000 ADF and Police that have served on these operations.

Your Media Release quotes only 30,000 peacekeepers have served on these operations and I observe that this figure has been used a number of times by various Ministers over a five year period. There are 1200 Peacekeepers serving on current operations, with varying rotation periods, however suffice to say that the total figure would be expected to be a contribution of almost 2,400 ADF and AFP IDG members deployed over a 12-month period. Given five years, this would be a significant increase in numbers, particularly with the varying levels of commitment of Australia and the high tempo of Operations that our nation has contributed.

I have previously provided a data sheet of operations and would like your advisor or the person advising you of the figures of those deployed to consider these statistics for future referential statistics used by your Department toward Peacekeeping Peacemaking (Enforcement) and other operations, as your figures quoted is in conflict to this Associationís estimates. Please find attached a copy of our estimates of the contribution of ADF and AFP IDG members deployed on operations since 1947. Please also note the amount of deaths that have occurred as a result of this service.

A good indication of the numbers deployed on operations is the amount of medals that have been awarded to individuals for their service. You will note that over 53,000 veterans have been awarded the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM), Post 1975; and 35,339 Australian Service Medals (ASM) Post 1975; with a smaller amount of the ASM 1945-1975, due to the smaller, but by no means insignificant contribution to Peacekeeping Operations from 1947 to 14 Feb 1975. 3,104 Police Overseas Service Medals (POSM) have been awarded to AFP IDG members. These are figures from the Itís an Honour website, which have not changed since December 2008. This would be definitely increased in terms of Post 1975 awards since then, due to the continued Operational commitment by the Australian Government toward world peace and security.

I am pleased to note your reference toward the Peacekeeper Mental Health Study, particularly for those who have served on PKO in the 1990ís. We are due to meet in October, of which I am looking forward to continuing our contribution toward the Consultative Forum.

Your response to the letter that I sent via Email on Sunday 13th September 2009, requesting the Proclamation of Australian Peacekeeper Day for the 14th September annually would be most appreciated.

Thank you for your ongoing support toward Younger Veterans.

Kind Regards Ė Paul Copeland.

"Looking After Our Own"

Paul Copeland, OAM, JP,
National President,
Australian Peacekeeper & Peacemaker Veterans' Association,
P.O. Box 552,

P/F: + 61 3 5264 8244
M: + 61 419 355 226

E: president@peacekeepers.asn.au
W: www.peacekeepers.asn.au
Affiliated with The Soldiers of Peace International Association - http://www.fname.info/aisp/eng/

Table of Peacekeeping and Peacemaking Operations 1947 - at 21 Apr 09