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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Friday, 12 June 2015
VA059

MINISTER WELCOMES MALAYSIAN SUPPORT FOR REPATRIATION OF AUSTRALIANS BURIED AT TERENDAK

The Malaysian Government has pledged its support and offered to assist wherever possible in returning the bodies of Australian soldiers buried at the Terendak Military Cemetery in Malaysia.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson welcomed the offer of support after meeting with the Malaysian Deputy Minister of Defence Abdul Rahim Bakri and then visiting the Terendak Military Cemetery.

“Due to a change in policy that came into effect in 1966, the remains of 25 Australian Soldiers who died in the Vietnam War were not returned home – 24 of those men are buried at Terendak while one is buried at the Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“We are extremely grateful for the care and respect the Malaysian Government has shown in looking after the graves of these men for the last 50 years.

“We are also extremely grateful for the Malaysian Government’s willingness to assist the Australian Government in offering the families of these men the opportunity to bring their loved ones home,” Senator Ronaldson said.

In May, the Prime Minister announced that the Australian Government would offer to repatriate the remains of 25 Australians who died in the Vietnam War with full military honours.

The offer to repatriate remains and provide an Australian burial will also be extended to the families of eight Australian dependants, two servicemen who died during operational accidents and the family of one man who died during the Malayan Emergency, all of whom are buried at Terendak.

The Australian Government will respect the wishes of the families who choose to leave their loved ones resting where they currently lie.

“Deputy Minister Abdul Rahim understands that the Australian Government is righting a long-standing wrong that has seen men who fought in the same conflict, who died serving our nation in the Vietnam War, who were treated differently in death.

“The Malaysian Government also understands that some families would prefer not to disturb the remains of their loved one and choose for them to remain interred here at Terendak.

“I would like to sincerely thank the Malaysian Government for their compassion and understanding as we work through this process,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Media enquiries:       
Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

 

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

PDF version (310 KB)