The independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal will conduct an inquiry into the feasibility of amending the criteria for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Darren Chester MP, announced today.
This further inquiry is part of the Government’s response to the recent Inquiry into Eligibility for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal completed by the Tribunal and presented to the Government earlier this year.
The Australian Government has accepted two of the three recommendations made by the Tribunal with regards to the eligibility for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
“The Government has not accepted the Tribunal’s recommendation that ‘no action is to be taken by the Government to change the criteria for the award of the RVCM’,” Mr Chester said.
“The initial inquiry received substantial responses from sections of the veteran community seeking a reduction in the duration of service for eligibility for the RVCM. This was not part of the inquiry’s terms or reference set by the previous Government in 2013 and I have now given the tribunal further direction.
“The tribunal has been tasked with investigating the Australian Government’s legal ability to amend the eligibility criteria for the medal, even though the former government of the Republic of Vietnam, which offered the medal to Australia and other Allies in the 1960s, no longer exists.
“In addition, if it is legally possible, the Tribunal is to provide advice to the Government on whether it is reasonable to do so, and if so, in what way this might be accomplished.
“I would like to acknowledge that veterans have been waiting a long time and deserve timely closure and the Government will endeavour to complete the RVCM Inquiry as soon as possible,” Mr Chester said.
The Inquiry will commence shortly, with the Tribunal seeking input from relevant experts. All submissions provided to the Inquiry into Eligibility for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal will be reviewed and need not be re-submitted.
The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry will be made available on the Tribunal’s website at www.defence-honours-tribunal.gov.au. Details about the Tribunal, including the Report of the Inquiry into eligibility for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, are alsoavailable on this site.
About the Medal
The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (RVCM) was issued by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam for service in the prescribed area of operation in Vietnam from 31 July 1962 to 28 March 1973 inclusive, for Australian personnel.
To be eligible for the RVCM a person must have completed a minimum period of 181 days, either continuous or aggregated, unless:
- killed on active service;
- wounded in action i.e. classified as a Battle Casualty and evacuated as a result of those wounds; or
- captured and later released or escaped.
Further details about the award can be found at: http://www.defence.gov.au/Medals/Content/Foreign/Republic-Vietnam-Campaign-Medal.asp
Chloe Petch (Darren Chester’s Office) 0477 395 356
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999