TERMS OF REFERENCE
On 24 June 2009, the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support, the Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM, MP, requested the Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal to inquire into and report on recognition for Far East prisoners of war who died while escaping from the Japanese during World War II.
The Terms of Reference for the inquiry read:
The Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal shall inquire into and report on recognition for Far East prisoners of war who died while escaping from the Japanese during World War II.
In particular the Tribunal is to:
- examine the Imperial recognition policy and practices extant during and immediately after World War II in respect of prisoners of war who died while escaping from Japanese detention;
- consider whether this policy and practice was considered by Australian authorities in respect of Far East prisoners of war and whether that policy and practice was recognised by the Commonwealth; and
- determine whether contemporary Australian recognition should be given to Far East prisoners of war who died while escaping from the Japanese and the form of that recognition if applicable.
The Tribunal is to examine relevant documentary evidence, and consider the nature and context of the service, in relation to the criteria for Australian and Imperial awards that existed at that time, in order to arrive at a fair and sustainable response to claims for recognition.
The Tribunal is to report to the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support on its findings in regard to the above and any recommendations that arise from the inquiry.
In making its findings and formulating its recommendations the Tribunal is required to maintain the integrity of the Australian honours and awards system and identify any consequential impact any finding or recommendation may have on that system.
The Tribunal is to determine its own procedures, in accordance with the general principles of procedural fairness, when conducting its inquiry as set out in these Terms of Reference. In this regard, the Tribunal may interview such persons as it considers appropriate and consider material provided to it that is relevant to these Terms of Reference.
This inquiry is to be held without a public call for submissions and the Tribunal will make recommendations to the Parliamentary Secretary regarding the public release of the report.
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