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Friday, 10 December 1965

Mr Whitlam m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   When did he decide the question of Vietnam campaign medals and ribbons on which he stated on the 19th October 1965 ("Hansard," page 1913) that he hoped to have some finality within the next day or two?

2.   When will he announce his decision?

3.   On what dates have communications passed between the British and Australian Governments concerning campaign medals and ribbons for members of the Australian forces in (a) Malaysia and (b) Vietnam?

4.   Has consideration been given to inaugurating Australian campaign medals and ribbons in order to correct the anomalous situation under which Australian servicemen can receive Imperial campaign medals and ribbons if they have served beside British servicemen but can receive no campaign ribbons if they have served beside servicemen from other countries? If so, is action to be taken, and can he give details of it?

Sir Robert Menzies - The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows - 1 and 2. It is necessary to obtain Royal approval to the conditions of award for a medal in a new area. As indicated in my reply to a question on 8th December (" Hansard," page 3738) it is hoped that it will soon be possible to make an announcement in respect of service by Australian servicemen in Vietnam.

3.   There has been correspondence relating to conditions of award for the General Service Medal 1962 with Departments of the British Government since 1964, and a formal approach was made by the Administrator of the Commonwealth on 15th July 1965, in respect of service in the Borneo area of Malaysia. A similar approach was made on 1st September 1965, in respect of service in Vietnam.

4.   As indicated in the House on 8th December ("Hansard," page 3738), I hope to be able to make an announcement in the near future in relation to awards for service in Vietnam.

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