The Australian government has accepted a recommendation that there can be no change to eligibility for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Darren Chester said the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal was directed to inquire into and report on the Australian government’s legal ability to amend eligibility criteria for the medal – and that it had found it was not possible.
“On 25 June 2015, the Tribunal handed its report on the Inquiry into the feasibility of amending the eligibility criteria for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal to the government, in which it recommended that eligibility criteria for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal not be amended because the Australian government does not have the legal authority to do so,” Mr Chester said.
“The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal is a foreign award that was offered to Australia by the then Government of theRepublic of Vietnam. Because this government no longer exists, there is no avenue available to seek amendment to the eligibility criteria for the medal.
“I would like to acknowledge the veterans and individuals who made submissions and advocated on the behalf of Vietnam War veterans as a part of this inquiry.
“I recognise their concerns about the existing criteria, I commend them for their service to our nation and I understand that this is not the result that all individuals would have wished for.
“I am however satisfied that a full and vigorous process has been followed.
“The advice from the Australian Government Solicitor is the Australian government does not have the legal authority to amend the criteria for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
“The Australian government accepts the tribunal’s finding.
“The inquiry into this matter demonstrates the government’s commitment to the independent review of Defence honours and awards issues.”
The Vietnam Campaign Medal is a military campaign medal that was awarded by the South Vietnamese government to members of the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces for direct participation in major military operations and was also awarded to foreign military personnel for service in South Vietnam.
The medal was awarded for two different periods of service – the second being from 1 January 1960 to a date to be determined.
However, the government of South Vietnam ceased to exist before an ending period was decided.