LEAGUE OF AUSTRALIA - VICTORIA DIVISION P.O.Box 1303 Box Hill,
Navy League of Australia is committed to providing loyal support
for Australia's maritime well being by:
· Keeping before the Australian people the fact that we
are an island maritime nation and that a strong Navy and a sound
maritime industry are indispensable elements of our present and
future industrial well being, which is so vital to the freedom
. Maintaining a forum for the better understanding of our
Federation history and the part that Australia's maritime entities
have, and are still playing, in protecting and supporting Australia's
ongoing development in this part of our world.
· Promoting defence self reliance by actively supporting
manufacturing, shipping, transport and allied industries in Australia.
· Promoting, sponsoring and encouraging the interest of
Australian youth in the sea, sea-services, practical sea-training
through direct support, educational programmes and encouraging
a healthy interest in the traditions and customs of the sea.
· Maintaining contacts and co-operating with other Navy Leagues
and other Maritime based bodies so that sponsoring of exchange
programmes for young peoples' Naval Sea Cadet group training,
can be facilitated.
The Government 1997 Defence Efficiency Reforms caused considerable
concern at the time about the way in which this process was commissioned
* the incomplete nature of some sections,
* appearance of being hastily implemented,
* unilateral adoption by a Government Minister
of any debate in Federal Parliament
* no time allowed for public comment prioir to its adoption by
The explanation for this process at that time was that as it was
an "Efficiency Reform" it did not need to go before Parliament.
There are some who consider that this was splitting straws as
the process involved wide ranging 'reorganisation of the entire
Indeed it gave the appearance of being so far reaching that this
particular aspect raised concerns that future processes of this
nature should be considered by parliament before any decision
to implement is taken. To use the word 'efficiency' as
a reason for not having Parliament approve the direction taken
gives a clear indication that the federal public service deliberately
avoided parliamentary debate by devious methods that were clearly
supported by a government minister.
Protection for the Citizens of Australia
With the downgrading of the command responsibilities of the three
separate defence Chiefs - Navy, Army and Air Force by making them
subservient to a single Chief of the Defence Force Staff and the
introduction of a central defence structure came changes that
The Minister for Defence & Secretary for Defence have taken
it upon themselves to state they command the defence force, setting
aside the requirements of the Australian Constitution where the
Commander in Chief of the Naval and Military Forces of the Commonwealth
is constitutionally vested in the Governor General of the Commonwealth
No action by a Government Minister, Public servant or the
Federal Parliament or any Chiefs of the Defence Force can alter
that constitutional fact.
This situation is alarming in that it signals that Governemnt
Ministers and some Federal Public servants are mutinying against
It is no surprise that elected politicians and public servants
do not like the constraints of our constitution which acts as
the bench mark for their behaviour and actions.
It provides the ultimate degree of security for Australians under
constitutional law that all citizens expect as a protection against
extreme actions by politicians and public servants who think they
know better than what our contitution allows them to do.
Only successful constitutional referendums can change the requirements
of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia not papers
on Command presented by ex Governor Generals wanting to avoid
their Constitutional responsibility.
It is clear that unconstitutional actions should be made punishable
by heavy fines and long terms in gaol for conspiring to overturn
the requirements of the Constitution.
Force Reserves Awards - This matter concerns members of the
Royal Australian Naval Reserve (RANR) and has been considered
by the Navy League Division Committee. A Permanent Service personnel
special committee set up in 1994 examined awards and recommended
cancellation of Australian Reserve Forces Awards introduced by
the Fraser Liberal Government in 1982 to replace the National
Medal and thee British Commonwealth Awards.
To understand some of the principles resulting in the issue of
the new Australian Reserve Forces Awards in 1982 it is necessary
to go back a few years. A special Reserve Forces Awards committee,
comprising an Army Reserve Brigadier, an Air Force Reserve Squadron
Leader and a Royal Australian Naval Reserve Lieutenant-Commander
(the NLA Vic Division President), was formed in the late 1970s
to co-ordinate the debate on the unilateral loss of joint UK/AUST
traditional Reserve Forces decorations and medals thrown out by
Gough Whitlam in February 1975, the RD (Naval Reserve Decoration),
ED (Army Efficiency Decoration) and AEA (Air Efficiency Award),
LSGCM (Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal). Many petitions
were subsequently received from Australia wide from Reserve forces
personnel and submitted to Federal Parliament's both houses. Prime
Minister, The Hon.Malcolm Fraser, finally acted in 1982, after
all government backbenchers had, for about the third time, unanimously
supported the Reserves fight for their own Australian medals.
Prime Minister Fraser instituted two new Australian Awards, RFD
the (Reserve Forces Decoration) and the RFM (Reserve Forces Medal),
in place of those unilaterally discarded during Gough Whitlam's
term of office. The career uniformed Defence personnel in pushing
the 'one service' concept incorrectly equate their career service
as being identical to that of Reservists and therefore argue that
the RFD and RFM are not applicable and that a common award must
apply to everyone, 'Permanent' and 'Reserve'. The career Naval
& Military personnel appear to have arrived at this decision without
any real recognition of the dedicated Volunteer service of Reservists
in support of the Defence of Australia carried out in their own
spare time in addition to their full time professional civil employment.
So it is clear that the 'Reserve' service is fundamentally different
as the 'volunteer' spare time second career aspect is the prime
The concept of Citizens' Naval & Military Reserves' training in
their spare time in addition to their professional employment
has always received basic Government support in order to encourage
cost effective trained Reserve Force, Navy, Army & Air Force Reserves.
removal of the Reserve Force Awards was a petty act and a clear
indication that the career defence force lacks an understanding
of the contribution that volunteer Reserve forces play in support
of defence in this country.
The Navy League of Australia Victoria Division calls for the immediate
restoration of the Reserve Force Awards back into the Australian