Special Air Services beret

Careful deliberation needed on decision to remove Unit Citation

RSL Queensland 01 December 2020

RSL Queensland urges Defence to fully consider the contribution of the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan.

RSL Queensland has encouraged the Department of Defence to deliberate more fully on the service contributions of the thousands of Defence personnel who participated in the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan over many years, before making any decision to potentially remove the unit’s Meritorious Unit Citation.

RSL Queenland President Tony Ferris said any such decision on the Citation needed to be balanced and proportionate, taking into account the impact on the vast majority of Australia’s Defence personnel who have served their country with integrity and distinction.

“Every day, RSL supports those who deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Special Operations Task Group, and their families," Mr Ferris said.

“It would be unfair if the alleged illegal actions of a small number of individuals diminished the contributions and reputations of the many who have served with honour, regularly putting their lives on the line for their country.

“The overwhelming majority of our nation’s veterans deserve our gratitude and respect  not to have their contributions diminished, or be made to feel ‘guilty by association’.”

As Queensland’s largest veteran representative organisation, RSL Queensland has counselled from the outset that the Government and public allow due legal process to be followed in the wake of the findings of the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry Report.

“If illegal or unethical activities are found – by full and appropriate legal processes – to have occurred, then those individuals responsible should be held accountable,” Mr Ferris said.

RSL Queensland encourages veterans needing supporting to contact its Veteran Services team on 134 RSL or vs@rslqld.org, or to contact their local RSL Sub Branch. Those in need of urgent help can also reach out to Open Arms on 1800 011 046, where counsellors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Media release