Further to our last report dated 5th July 2022 you will recall the Defence Departments “late” submission and my exchange of correspondence with The Tribunal seeking a copy of the Defence submission. Defence has not yet given its approval for the Tribunal to release its submission.
Given this inordinate delay I sent this email to DVA Minister Keogh on Friday 22 July:
Dear Minister Keogh
You would be aware that submissions to the DHAAT inquiry into RCB service officially closed on 1 July 2022. On that date in my capacity as Chair of the Rifle Company Butterworth Review Group I rang DHAAT to enquire as to whether the Department of Defence had yet made a submission and was told they had not. One week later I rang again and was told that Defence had made a submission and was told that it’s submission had been received that morning.
I asked for a copy of that submission and was eventually advised that, having read the submission, that DHAAT could see no reason that it could not be released to me. The officer said that they just had to clear it with Defence and this would only take a couple of days at most. Despite a number of calls to the DHAAT and their advice that they have unsuccessfully asked Defence to clear release I am still awaiting fulfilment of this request.
I have previously forwarded you a copy of the Ethicos report, which is damning of the Department and previous Ministers’ handling of this matter. This is just one more example of the contempt in which Defence holds those that have served this country. I request that you direct Defence to authorise DHAAT to make an administrative release of the Defence submission to me without delay, as DHAAT have indicated it can.
In a further conversation last Friday with the Tribunal Executive Manager I was informed that the Commissioners would release all submissions publicly on their website. You should soon receive an email requesting your permission for the Tribunal to upload your individual submission. You will need to respond to that email by 8 August if you object to your submission being made public. Submissions will be publicly available shortly after this date. The Tribunal has said that this will also apply to the Defence submission.
Today, the DHAAT sent this email text to all submitters:
Thank you for your submission to the Tribunal’s inquiry into medallic recognition for service with Rifle Company Butterworth.
The purpose of this email is to inform you that, prior to holding public hearings for this inquiry (which are yet to be scheduled), the Tribunal intends to publish submissions to the inquiry on its website https://defence-honours-tribunal.gov.au where the submitting party has consented to us doing so. We are taking this step to ensure that everyone with an interest in the inquiry is given the best possible opportunity to view as many of the submissions as possible, including the submission made by the Department of Defence, and has the further opportunity to provide the Tribunal with comments on the views and evidentiary documents provided by submitters.
While you have provided us with your consent to make your submission publicly available, we are nonetheless taking this step to notify you of our intention to do so, and to give you an opportunity to revisit your decision in light of our intention to publish it on our website. If you do not wish for us to make your submission publicly available, please advise us by Monday 8 August 2022 as we intend to publish the submissions on our website in that week. Please note that personal information such as your address, telephone number, email and IP addresses (if supplied) will be redacted from the published submission.
Should you wish to make a supplementary submission to the inquiry having read through the other published submissions, we ask that you do so as soon as practicable.
Thank you for your attention to this request. Again, if you do not wish for us to publish your submission, please advise us, by return email to [email protected] by 8 August 2022. If you have any questions in relation to this request, please feel free to contact us on (02) 6266 1019.
Jay Kopplemann, Executive Officer Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal
RCB Service 1979
Chairman RCB Review Group
Date: 27 July 2022