Honour Monash - A great Australian
|Status of the Proposal to Posthumously recognise General Sir John Monash - October 2019||
This update was intended for early August on behalf of the Saluting Monash Council (SMC) and Chairman, the Hon Tim Fischer AC but was deferred due to Timâ€™s deteriorating health and subsequent death on 22 August.
Tim will be sadly missed by Australians but remembered for his decency, integrity, respect and love for Australia and Australians and his unwavering belief and advocacy over many years that General Sir John Monash deserved to be the second Australian born Field Marshal, joining Sir Thomas Blamey (1950).
Regrettably, in July, the Saluting Monash Council received written confirmation that Prime Minister Morrison is not supportive of the posthumous promotion in rank of General Sir John Monash.
Reason given is that "we do not have a tradition of posthumous promotions and there are many practical reasons why we should make no change to this tradition."
Whilst the Saluting Monash Council, based on advice, believes that these stated reasons can be overcome- indeed the proposed Amendment Bill introduced by former MHR for Indi, Cathy McGowan in October last year covered the main "practical reasons", the position of the current Prime Minister is clear.
The strongest opposition to the promotion in rank of Monash comes from some former and serving Senior Defence leaders despite widespread support from within the veteran community and descendants of WW1 Diggers. Indeed the impetus for forming the Saluting Monash Council in 2016 came from within the veteran community and the majority of councillors have a military background.
A letter, dated May 2019, received from the Chief of Staff - Army Headquarters of Army, Brigadier KS Fegan DSC states "the Australian Army has unambiguously provided the advice to Government that Sir John Monash cannot be promoted posthumously."
The Saluting Monash Council disagrees, again based on judicial advice, as the Prime Minister on behalf of the Australian people does have the power to make such appointment to the rank of Honorary Field Marshal as in the past. All four Australian field marshal promotions broke with tradition and were precedents in their own way.
Nevertheless Prime Minister Morrison, as he is entitled to do, has followed the advice from Army Headquarters.
There remains strong support within Parliament, the judiciary, the military, veterans and the general community to bestow the title of Field Marshal (Honorary) on Sir John Monash.
There is no inference that the untimely death of Tim Fischer was hastened by this unwelcome news of early July. But his disappointment was very obvious.
Director - Saluting Monash Council (Victoria)
6 Sunburst Ave, North Balwyn Vic 3104
Tel 61 3 9859 2965
Mob 61 414 509 540
21 October 2019