October 18, 2012
The Gillard Government has attacked another Defence Force program in its bid to achieve a surplus.
Support for presentations of the Australian Defence Medal has been scrapped with The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester accusing the government of having a ‘twisted sense of priorities’.
Previously, Members of Parliament received support from the Department of Defence to make presentations to medal recipients but recipients will now receive their medals via registered post with a letter advising of the change of procedure.
Mr Chester said the move comes on top of all international, regional and local activities, conferences and camps for local army cadets being cut as well as a one-third reduction in financial remuneration provided for army cadet supervision staff.
He said the Gillard Government also tried to cut Christmas trips home for 22,000 Defence Force personnel but was thwarted by the Coalition in Parliament.
Mr Chester, who has presented a number of Australian Defence Medals across Gippsland, said the medals were are an important way of recognising the contribution made by former Defence Force personnel.
He said it was disappointing that the government was removing its support for the current presentation program but he would continue to present medals to recipients.
“The Australian Defence Medal recognises the contribution and service to the nation during time with the Australian Defence Forces,” Mr Chester said.
“There is no greater service to your community than to put on the uniform of the nation’s defence forces.
“Unfortunately, the Gillard Government with its twisted sense of priorities is cutting valuable Defence programs in its effort to achieve a surplus.
“The government is content to spend millions of dollars on advertising its carbon tax but at the same time wants to stop presentations of Defence medals, cut activities for army cadets and take away recreational leave entitlements for Defence Force personnel.”
Anyone interested in applying for the Australian Defence Medal or having a presentation should contact Mr Chester’s office on 1300 131 785 for further details.