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Monday, 2 March 2020
Page: 2279


Mr LAMING (Bowman) (16:22): Deputy Speaker Claydon, I want to remember two unique forms of national security: the British Commonwealth Occupation Force from 1945 to 1952 and the kiap patrol officers from 1949 to 1973, who were the administrative touchstone for much of Papua New Guinea as it was opened up to democracy. The British Commonwealth Occupation Force, I'm sure we'd both agree, performed an incredibly important role. At the end of a war, when almost nothing was left, 45,000 people deployed into Japan with no knowledge of what would happen next. They basically performed demilitarisation and disposal roles and, ultimately, a guard role around Japan, ensuring a transition back into a free and fair democracy.

Of those Australians, 90 passed away in the service, and I don't think they have been recognised. They don't claim to have a war-like service, but it is unique national service. They've paid for their own memorial in Kings Park across the lake. Those names deserve to be remembered.

The patrol officers, of course, are one step further back. They don't even have a national memorial yet. They were working in remote conditions; many of them in 1973 were still disarming coast watches from World War II, as my own father was. We need to remember those kiaps. They were an administrative element of our foreign affairs that we may never see again. They're still alive, as are some from the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. We need to do our bit as both sides of parliament to make sure they're remembered.