Here is Defending Country's media release following Minister Keogh's announcement of three new members of the Australian War Memorial Council.

We hope that the Council membership changes are a step towards proper recognition and commemoration of the Australian Frontier Wars at the Memorial.

This outcome is by no means certain, however, and Defending Country urges readers and supporters to write to Memorial Council Chair Kim Beazley (copy to the Minister - addresses below) urging the Council to proceed with firm action on the Frontier Wars, Australia's most important war.

For supporting arguments, please read the posts on this website, particularly 'Why the Australian Frontier Wars are important'.

Media Release: Refreshed War Memorial Council should allow proper recognition of  Australian Frontier Wars (30 June 2024)

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Matt Keogh, has announced the appointment of three new members of the governing Council of the Australian War Memorial.

The new members are:

  • Lorraine Hatton, Indigenous veteran, member of the Memorial’s Indigenous Advisory Working Group, Indigenous Elder of the Australian Army;
  • Hon. Warren Snowdon, former Federal member and Minister, member of Soldier On board;
  • Dr  Karen Bird, Deputy Chair of the National Advisory Committee for Open Arms, member of the Suffering of War and War Service Project at the Memorial.

‘Every Australian will  wish these new Council members well’, said Professor Peter Stanley, President of the Defending Country Memorial Project. ‘They have expertise in and commitment to the welfare of recent service men and women.’

‘The new members can also assist Council Chair, Hon. Kim Beazley, in ensuring that the Memorial properly recognises and commemorates the Australian Frontier Wars.’

‘When he first became Chair, Mr Beazley made many statements supporting a change of direction at the Memorial toward proper recognition of frontier conflict.’

‘Truth-telling about our history is an important part of reconciliation between Australia’s peoples. The War Memorial can be a powerful institution for Truth-telling.’

The new Council members were selected by the Minister following a call in March for Expressions of Interest. They are appointed by the Governor-General under section 10 (2) of the Australian War Memorial Act.

Existing Council members Glenn Keys and Susan Neuhaus were reappointed, along with RSL President, Major General Greg Melick. The other Council members are the heads of the army, navy and airforce (all ex officio), Daniel Keighran VC, Sharon Bown, and former prime minister, Tony Abbott.

‘Greg Melick’s reappointment is rather surprising’, Professor Stanley said, ‘given that he is on record as opposing commemoration of the Frontier Wars at the Memorial’.

Defending Country and its associated website Honest History have supported reform of the Council since 2016. Arguments for the Memorial to properly recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars are on the Defending Country website.

Defending Country applies to all who have fought for Australia or parts of it. It applies just as much to First Australians (Arrernte, Noongar, Wiradjuri, and others), defending their Country on Country (and dying on Country), as it does to uniformed Australians fighting our overseas wars.

Contact: David Stephens  0413 867 972; info@defendingcountry.au        


The Australian War Memorial must properly recognise and commemorate the Australian Frontier Wars as an essential part of Truth-telling and as a first step to reframing  Australian national commemoration.


Hon. Kim Beazley AC
Chair of Council
Australian War Memorial
Canberra ACT 2600



Hon. Matt Keogh MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs  
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600


Jul 1, 2024

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