The push to have peacekeepers included on the Australian War Memorial’s Roll of Honour has received a boost, with the Coalition coming out in support of the idea as Australia approaches the Anzac centenary year.
Shadow Veteran Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson said he wrote to AWM Chairman Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO RAN (Ret’d) and Director Dr Brendan Nelson last week to assure them of the Coalition’s support should the AWM Council choose to include peacekeepers on the honour roll.
“The forthcoming Centenary of Anzac and the anniversary of the events which lead to the Memorial’s creation, present the Council with a unique opportunity to ensure the Roll of Honour remains relevant and central to the story, understanding and commemoration of Australians at war,” Senator Ronaldson said in a statement on Monday morning.
Dr Nelson, who took up his role as AWM director in December, earlier said the council would “continue to consider the issue”.
The recognition of peacekeepers has been the subject of prominent campaigning by Canberran Sarah McCarthy, whose father, Captain Peter McCarthy, was killed by a landmine while on peacekeeping duties in Lebanon in 1988.
Ms McCarthy was joined by Avril Clark, whose son died in 2005 while on a peacekeeping mission, in presenting the AWM with a 17,000-signature petition in November last year.
The Australian Defence Association has also previously backed the inclusion of fallen peacekeepers on the roll, arguing the War Memorial's position was out-of-touch with the modern-day defence force.