Leader of the Veterans Party Jeremy Davey has asked Australians to sign a change.org petition that asks senior members of the government, the Chief of the Defence Force and the former Director of Military Prosecutions to formally apologise to two commandos charged over an ill-fated 2009 raid in Afghanistan that tragically saw five children killed.
“Like many Australians, I watched the disturbing two-part Australian Story feature on the ABC and was extremely saddened at the impact that this has had on the lives of the Commandos involved,” Mr Davey said.
“Additionally, like many Australian’s I am extremely pissed off that these elite soldiers have had no formal apology and seemingly were hung out to dry.
“These men were treated as sacrificial lambs, by what media reports purport to be an over-zealous military prosecutor seeking to cement her position within the senior ranks of the Australian Defence Force.”
The Veterans Party leader said that his running mate had a very sound knowledge of the Rules of Engagement and Laws of Armed Conflict, and her professional opinion was that the men were treated as scapegoats.
Mr Davey also said that he was unable to fathom the emotional trauma that the elite soldiers suffered not only from the tragic circumstances that ensued, but the fact that they were pursued by a senior officer who was a member of their own service.
“Brigadier McDade wore the Australian Army uniform, and all media commentary surrounding this case appears to indicate that she pursued these traumatised men ruthlessly seeking to let all and sundry know that she was the head of an independent arm of the Australian Defence Force.
“This officer appears to have ignored advice by senior officers that her actions would cause irreversible damage in her pursuit for a conviction.
“Thank goodness that sanity prevailed when Chief Judge Advocate Brigadier Ian Westwood dismissed charges against the two commandos; a decision that Brigadier McDade unusually questioned outside the judicial setting,” Mr Davey said.
The Veterans Party leader said that while an apology would never heal the emotional wounds that the men now have to live with, it would be a symbolic admission that they were let down by a government that chose to send them to Afghanistan and into harm’s way.
The petition can be viewed at here.
Declaration: Jeremy Davey has previously given evidence in a military court that Brigadier McDade had allegedly laid down an ultimatum to a victim of sexual assault that the victim was unable to withdraw charges when requested, and the victim would be treated by the prosecution as a hostile witness if she failed to cooperate with the appointed prosecutor.
Mr Davey was investigated by a military police professional standards unit after a complaint by Brigadier McDade. However, he was cleared of any misconduct.