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Honouring our service men and women [policy statement]

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Australian Labor

Party National ALP

Graham Edwards and Mark Latham - Honouring our service men and women

Sunday, 11 July 2004

ALP News Statements A Federal Labor Government will give proper recognition to the men and women who have served Australia by striking a Volunteer Defence Service Medal.

The Medal will be available to approximately 650,000 personnel who have volunteered to join the Australian Defence Force since the end of World War II.

We believe these Australians deserve a medal for their military service to recognise their goodwill and selflessness.

The National Service Medal minted in 2001 was rightful recognition of the contribution of conscripts.

But we also need to honour volunteers - regular and reserve - and that's why Labor will strike a new medal for them.

We need to give special thanks to the champions of servicemen and women, including constituents in Werriwa and other parts of the country, who have lobbied so hard for the Medal's creation.

Labor's Plan

● The Volunteer Defence Service Medal will be awarded to all

Australians who served as a member of the Regular or Reserve Force for a period of at least three years since World War II. ● This contrasts with the Howard Government's policy insistence that

volunteers must have served six years. Labor believes that three years' volunteer service to our nation's defence deserves recognition. ● It is estimated that up to 350,000 regular and up to 300,000 reserve

volunteers will be eligible for the Medal.

● There will be discretion to award the Medal to members of the ADF

who, because of injury or other unavoidable reasons, did not reach three years' service. For example, in the past some servicewomen were forced to resign because of pregnancy or marriage.

Labor's policy is fully costed and funded and details will be released prior to the election.

Authorised by Tim Gartrell, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.