DEFENCE LIVES MATTER
Honour those Killed-In-Service, Injured or Wounded in Service or as a result of service!
Story telling is important to our nation. As Australians, we do this through our honours and awards system. We award medals to athletes to celebrate their sporting achievements and to those who have excelled in academia and community service. We award bravery medals to everyday citizens who risk their lives for others. We honour Defence families with a Next of Kin Remembrance pin. Yes, we also award medals, citations, clasps and commendations to Australian Defence Members for their dedication in their workplaces. BUT of those Killed, Injured or Wounded in service or as a result of service, we do not officially personalise their sacrifice or conclude their record of service on their medals. And it is those medals that tell the story of their service and sacrifices for the Nation.
Acknowledging their Personal Sacrifice is the Right thing to do!
All ADF personnel killed, injured or wounded in service or as a result of service, deserve recognition for their service and/or their death.
A Short History of the Killed-In-Service Campaign
Why a CLASP and not a new medal?
The CLASP is the most versatile, cost effective and inclusive way of accurately reflecting the service and sacrifice of individuals. The CLASP is the concept of Kerry Danes but the artwork was produced by Mr. Ben Doyle Cox, CEO/Director of Platypus Outdoors Group Pty Ltd. His support is greatly appreciated.
The medallic clasp acknowledges the sacrifices of ALL the fallen — 102,911 Australians who have served in Australian units. The issue of a medallic clasp is a standard process in the ADF and prevents commentators from using cost as a justification to prohibit its introduction, or limit the number of ADF members eligible to receive recognition. It is a more logical approach than striking a ‘new medal’ that would require extensive marketing, exuberant cost, and gazetting into policy around honours and awards. Cost is important to this conversation as the cost savings could be better used to support other Defence and Veteran related causes.
Our Numbers are growing
Change.org Petition: 15,745 (15 May 2021)
Our original petition at Causes.com had over 31,543 supporters until the website that was hosting our campaign was bought by an American company that changed the focus of the site to suit an American audience. We were not informed of the change and lost all links to those supporters.
Prior to that, we had a combined total of close to 50,000 people supporting the campaign (as at 22/04/18).
On 12 June 1996, two Black Hawk helicopters collided during a terrorism night-time exercise near Townsville, Queensland. The accident caused the death of 18 soldiers from 1 Squadron of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) and 5th Aviation Regiment combined. Following the accident, 14 personnel received varying awards for actions at the accident site, including several who were injured. However, in the absence of a formal process, no one received any form of recognition for being injured or killed-in-service. At the time, a then SASR Sergeant Major, Kerry Danes, was among those tasked by the SASR Commanding Officer to rebuild the 1 SAS Squadron. With the loss of his colleagues weighing on his mind and the belief that ultimate sacrifice should be recorded on the member’s medal set to conclude their record of service, Kerry Danes initiated a campaign to recognise ADF personnel killed, wounded or injured on war-like, non-war like and/or hazardous service. That campaign evolved over the last 25 years to inspire over 200 submissions from Veteran Organisations. It became the catalyst for the 2021 Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal Inquiry.
Kerry Danes’ original conceptual designs created varying clasps with a black wattle adorning the most appropriate medal of the deceased ADF member. Medallic clasps show the versatility and inclusiveness of the each of the categories that apply to military service, and are a cost effective mechanism to recognising service-related sacrifice to complete the story of the ADF member’s military service.
In 2006, the Defence Service Medal (DSM) was introduced and issued retrospectively (3 September 1945).
In 2009, Kerry Danes submitted a proposal through Federal MP Andrew Laming and an Army Next of Kin Pin (deployment pin) was subsequently introduced by Parliament to recognise the families as they support their loved one deployed on military service overseas.
In 2015, a Remembrance Pin was introduced for the families of Army members who died while in service, both domestically and on operations. Again, this was the initiative of Kerry Danes, who canvassed the support of the Defence and Veteran community to drive this initiative forward. (Click here) The family of Cameron Baird VC were among the first to receive this award.
In 2018, Kerry Danes secured bipartisan support from both sides of Federal Government to honour the fallen. Special thanks to Andrew Laming MP (LNP) and Luke Gosling MP (ALP) standing firmly in support of this campaign. A television feature with Ray Palmer and others presented a compelling argument for medallic recognition of sacrifice. See this segment on 'The Project' @ Ch10 TV (click here).
In 2019, Minister Darren Chester (LNP) tasked a Defence Council of Women and Defence Families to consider our submission and give feedback to him.
On 06 May 2021, we formally presented our submission to the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal, along with over 200 other submissions from the Defence and Veteran community.
It’s their Service, and their Sacrifice!