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Dutton ‘right’ to reverse decision to strip ADF citations and protect ‘innocent’ reputations

Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s move to reverse a decision to strip soldiers who served in Afghanistan of their medals has been labelled the “right decision” by Liberal MP Dave Sharma.

“There should be due process, there should be the presumption of innocence, there should be the full protections of the rule of law,” he said.

Three thousand special forces soldiers were set to be have their citations removed as “collective punishment” for alleged crimes uncovered by the Brereton Inquiry.

The original recommendation faced widespread scrutiny attracting more than 50,000 signatures to overturn the decision.

Mr Sharma said the original decision looked like an act of collective punishment for the many thousands of troops involved.

“Australians who served in Afghanistan overwhelmingly with great distinction and honour were having their reputation tarnished by the unfortunate and regrettable actions of a few.”

The ruling will mean only individuals who are dismissed for failing to uphold standards or are found guilty of a war crime will be disciplined.

Mr Sharma highlighted the importance of addressing the Brereton Inquiry and those responsible were held accountable for their actions.

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