‘He didn’t strive hard enough’: Lambie demands Defence chief return medal 2023

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has questioned why Defence Force head Angus Campbell didn’t strive harder to return his medal for commanding soldiers in Afghanistan, which military experts claimed would have made it easier to withdraw medals from lower officers.

On Monday, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported that General Campbell asked to return a 2011 Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership of Middle East Operations. Morrison rejected the offer.

After the November 2020 Brereton inquiry investigating war crimes suggested a reconsideration of Afghanistan-era ADF honors, he offered.

Lambie, who served almost 10 years in the army before entering politics, said: “Apparently he offered to hand back his medals. He didn’t try enough.”

“I’m not just after his medals, I’m after his job.”

Lambie has harshly criticized Campbell for seeking to blame younger officers by stripping them of their medals and distinguished unit decorations without a conviction.

Retired major-general Fergus McLachlan, who led the army’s largest command, said he didn’t understand why Campbell didn’t return his award despite government protests.

McLachlan stated that Australian military leadership is based on example.

“Any Australian honours recipient can decline or return their award.

“If General Campbell had returned his own award because the citation no longer told the whole story, all his subsequent decisions about removing awards to soldiers and units would have been easier for all veterans to accept.”

As the nation’s top military leader, Campbell had unique challenges, McLachlan said.

He claimed that if the defence minister had raised serious concerns about his activities, he would have had to choose.

Campbell informed some Afghanistan war veterans last month that their decorations for meritorious and conspicuous service might be revoked if Defence Minister Richard Marles follows his advice.

At least seven Afghanistan commandos have received these letters, according to veterans groups.

Marles contemplates.

Retired major-general Mick Ryan said Campbell should return the Distinguished Service Cross to be honorable.

He stated the bureaucracy got in the way of him doing the right thing and setting an example.

“You shouldn’t need permission to stop wearing a decoration.”

Campbell has been accused of hypocrisy for wanting to remove Afghanistan War veterans of their honors while keeping his own Distinguished Service Cross.

“The war was designed in Canberra and ultimate responsibility rests with the politicians and senior military leaders in Canberra,” Special Air Service Association chair Martin Hamilton-Smith said.

Leave a Reply