The independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal will re-examine the issue of unit recognition for the service of our Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Somalia.
Minister for Veterans Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester announced today that he had requested the Tribunal reassess the issue in response to representations from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Association.
“In late 1992 a humanitarian disaster, which was compounded by a complete breakdown in civil order, plunged Somalia into chaos and in response Australia deployed forces from all three Services to the Unified Task Force – Somalia (Unitaf) arriving in January 1993,” Mr Chester said.
“In 2009–10 the Tribunal broadly examined the issue of unit recognition for service in Somalia, however, the approach taken at the time focused on Defence’s internal consideration and whether there were any administrative errors in this consideration. It did not focus on whether the service of the battalion group actually met the criteria for a unit citation.
“After representations from the ex-service community, I have decided to refer the matter to the Tribunal for fresh consideration to look specifically at the issue of unit recognition, particularly whether any units that served in Somalia should now be recognised with a meritorious unit citation for their service.”
The Tribunal will consider the service of all ADF units that served in Somalia, having regard to the eligibility criteria for the Meritorious Unit Citation.
“It is important to our Somalia veterans to ensure their service is comprehensively and fairly considered, which the Tribunal will do through this new inquiry,” Mr Chester said.
“Submissions for this inquiry will close on 31 August 2021 and I encourage anyone with an interest in the issue to ensure their views are heard.”
Further information on the inquiry can be found on the Tribunal’s website at www.defence-honours-tribunal.gov.au.