Thursday, 18 June 2015

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


The compilation of the Official Histories of Australian operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the peacekeeping operations in East Timor took a significant step forward today with the Australian War Memorial (AWM) calling for expressions of interest from qualified historians to oversee the project.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson said the recent federal Budget included funding of $12.8 million to enable the AWM to complete the initiative.

“It is important that our nation recognises and authoritatively records the role of our Defence Forces in these operations,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“The project will cover the aftermath of these operations on the countries involved and those who served. It will also focus on the role of the Australian Federal Police, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, AusAid and other relevant agencies.

“We expect that the research, compilation and drafting of the Official Histories will take six years and will be undertaken by the AWM.

“The Official Historian we seek to engage will be responsible for overseeing the production of the Official History to a standard befitting the service of the men and women whose service it records.

“When complete, the Official Histories will provide all Australians – including scholars, Australian Defence Force personnel and policymakers – with a comprehensive account based on authoritative government and defence sources,” Senator Ronaldson said.

The Director of the AWM, Dr Brendan Nelson, welcomed the commencement of the recruitment process, which will ultimately include a team of authors and researchers to support the Official Historian.

“The Official Historian is the first and vitally important appointment for this major official history series,” Dr Nelson said.

“The story of Australian military involvement in these operations is yet to be told and recorded authoritatively. There is a strong and reasonable public expectation that this process should now begin.”

The AWM will conduct the independent expression of interest process and make a recommendation to the Australian Government on an appointment for the position.

It is expected that the Official Historian will commence the project by the end of 2015. Further information can be found on the AWM’s website at

Media enquiries:

Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381

Australian War Memorial: Greg Kimball 0402 800 649


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

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