Sydney (Tribune International, Greg Warren & Lynda Voltz Press Release, 29 May 2020): Today on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, Shadow Minister for Veterans, Greg Warren, and Shadow Minister for Police and Counter Terrorism, Lynda Voltz, both Australian Regular Army veterans, remember Australian veterans who have served or are currently serving as part of international peacekeeping operations
“Often when people think of the Australian Defence Forces they think of conflict,” Mr Warren said.
“But for peacekeepers, their sole mission is to aid the transition from conflict to peace.”
Ms Voltz said the involvement of Federal and NSW police should also not be overlooked.
“Police have been deployed on peacekeeping missions since 1964, to places such as Cyprus, the Middle East, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste” Ms Voltz said.
The Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans’ Association states 66,000 Australian veterans have been involved in 73 operations in 64 different countries over the years.
“The efforts of those brave men and women who have been involved in peacekeeping operations must never be forgotten,” Mr Warren said.
“Like anyone involved in overseas operations, they spend long periods away from their families and friends – missing significant occasions such as funerals and children’s birthdays.
“They make all those difficult sacrifices in order to make the lives of strangers in foreign lands more prosperous, safe and secure.”
Ms Voltz also added: “I would also like to acknowledge, on his retirement from Federal Politics, former Colonel Mike Kelly who served with distinction on United Nations and peacekeeping mission in Somalia, Timor-Leste, Bosnia and Iraq.”
Veteran Graham Toll served in several peacekeeping missions including: in Pakistan in 1989/90 on the UN mine clearance team; in Cambodia in 1998 as part of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre; and in Timor in 2011 as part of the Stabilisation Force.
“The dedication, effort and will of peacekeepers to make the lives of others better should never be dismissed or forgotten,” Mr Toll added.