Page 1

ISSN: 2203-8507

December 2019

Edition 36

True Blue




The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is uniting with organisations like yours to form a powerful movement. Together, we can reach 25% of Australia’s blood donations. Call 1300 886 524 for more information or visit

True Blue


The United Nations & Overseas Policing Association of Australia, (UNOPAA) is an Australian incorporated, non profit organisation whose members are both serving or retired Police Officers from Police Forces throughout Australia who have served or are serving with United Nations or AFP International Deployment Group (IDG) Peacekeeping Forces throughout the world! TRUE BLUE is posted to its members throughout Australia and worldwide to where AFP IDG are serving. Our magazine contains welfare, legislative and social information relevant to the well being and camaraderie of UNOPAA members who have, or are serving in Australia’s National Interest. Aims of the UNOPAA: 1. To maintain and foster the memory of UNOPAA members killed whilst serving with United Nations Forces or IDG. 2. To provide welfare, legal and financial support where and when appropriate to members. 3. To promote social occasions such as Reunions, etc., including United Nations and Anzac Day Marches. 4. To pursue and lobby industrial, legal and political avenues, when necessary in order to improve the welfare and industrial benefits to our members. We acknowledge the assistance of Countrywide Austral Pty Ltd, who, in conjunction with the UNOPAA, have made the publication and distribution of ‘TRUE BLUE’ magazine possible! Your financial contribution to the publication of our magazine is greatly appreciated.

Views and opinions expressed in this journal are not necessarily those of the United Nations & Overseas Policing Association of Australia, the editor, the publisher or printer. “True Blue” is published by Countrywide Austral Pty Ltd, Melbourne from funds supplied by advertisers in this magazine. Please support our advertisers and their products.

Rod Walker True Blue Editor Email: Mobile: 0411 953 966

UNOPAA Contacts National President Mr Mick Travers APM Tel: 02 6131 4749 Mobile: 0418 297 086 Email: National Vice President Mr Rod Walker Tel: 0411953966 Email: National Vice President Mr Dale Cooper RFD PO Box 7099 Karabar NSW 2620 Mobile: 0418 266 033 Email: National Secretary/Treasurer Mr Peter McDonald APM PO Box 253 Keilor East Vic 3033 Mobile: 0418 131 352 Email: Australian Capital Territory State President: Dale Cooper RFD PO Box 7099 Karabar NSW 2620 Mobile: 0418 266 033 Email: New South Wales State President: Mark Elm Email:

Proudly published by:

Victoria/Tasmania State President: Shaun Young Knox Police Complex, 414 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South VIC 3152 Tel. (03) 9881 7061 Mobile: 0438 508 229 Email: Queensland State President: John Walker Unit 7, 51 Grand Parade, Parrearra QLD 4575 Tel: 07 5437 6587 Mobile 0474 157 982 Email: South Australia State President: Garry Casey 40 Yarrabee Road, Greenhill SA 5140 Tel: 08 8390 3568 Mobile: 0427 188 449 Email: Western Australia State President: Darcy Boylan 21 Templemore Drive Heathridge WA 6027 Tel: 08 9402 0030 Mobile: 0408 120 299 Email: Northern Territory President: Allan Mitchell 5 Eureka Court Anula NT 0812 Tel: 08 8927 2676 Mobile: 0417 804 546 Email:

Countrywide Austral Pty Ltd ABN: 83 146 901 797

Level 2, 310 King Street, Melbourne VIC 3001 Ph: 03 9937 0200 • Fax: 03 9937 0201 Email:




N LIA FE A ★ ★

★ ★

































VE and



















1 I am a constable, an officer of the law; I seek such little credit, but give of so much more I served in Sydney, and in Melbourne, in Perth and Brisbane too; In Darwin, Hobart, Adelaide, in Canberra wore the blue; And at the stations in between, I gave my very all; I kept my pledge to the end, until a higher call;

IV I died in Walsh street, and Russell, and then at Crescent Head; I have died before so often, for sworn oath such I’ve bled; I ask no retribution, no hurtful anger dealt; Just guard for me my family, hold my children, such loss now felt; And of my grieving sweetheart, comfort for now alone, explain in words of kindness, no more will I be home.

II I rode saddled as a trooper, and camel past Lake Eyre, I searched hard in Alpine blizzards, Cyclone ‘Tracey’, I was there; I pursued across the city streets, burning houses entered free; Plucked children from their taker, at the Hilton, that was me; I swam against such torrents, a little life to save, I swept aside the consequence, and never thought it brave;

V Chosen bearers, six in all, bore the weight of me; As carried forth, with deep regret, and lowered tenderly; I saw for me the slow march, the draped flag lay so still my peak cap rest majestic my heart with pride to fill; For mine was not a death of vain, and never see as such; I lived and passed with honour, who else can say as much.

III I have served in Cambodia, Cyprus, and Haiti’s heat, in Mozambique malaria, disease and death to greet; I often did not question, the tasks so set for me, nor harboured thoughts of valour, or wistful gallantry; I took with me my chances, and often paid a price, ‘The Job’ so like no other, to cost of one their life;

VI I look upon you, gathered, this quiet September day; await the pipers sad lament, muffled drum and wreaths to lay; Once yearly, quiet pilgrimage; silent homage, paid respects. spit polished, stand in reverence, pressed tunics free of flecks; you come to praise those fallen; comrades, one and all; Who made the highest sacrifice, in duty we stood tall.




I Am

















VII I am a Constable, of past and present day; And of the future, friends, in your hands, may I say; We stand beside you, in the shadows, learn from our mistakes; cherish values that we died for, be warned the price it takes; And as you kneel in silence, gently bow your heads to pray; I thank you, for all of us, whose sacrifice, marks this day.

Detective Constable Vince Pannell ©1995

True Blue December 2019

Contents 4

From the Editor’s desk

5 National Police Week – Wall to Wall Ride 6

National Peacekeepers Day


Police Remembrance Day


12 UNOPAA National Reunion/ Conference 16

The Courage for Peace Exhibition


Stories from East Timor


A Political Response

34 Rededication of Memorial to Sergeant Ian Ward


36 Past UNOPAA President, Denis Percy, is returned to the town he grew up in and loved 38 Vale 39 Membership Renewal or Application 40 Merchandise


Do we have your Email Address? UNOPAA maintains a membership database and communicates with its members from time to time by email. If you haven’t been receiving these communications, it may be that we don’t have your email address, or it is out of date. If uncertain, or it appears we don’t have it, please send your email address to the Secretary, Peter McDonald, at

36 On the cover: The Coordination/Reception/Registration Team (with UNOPAA President Mick Travers) at the UNOPAA Reunion & Conference, Caloundra


True Blue December 2019

From the Editor’s desk What a year it has been. The past year has been a year that many may wish to forget while others have enjoyed success and happiness. Whatever the past year has meant to you and your families, a new year is looming, and we should look forward to starting afresh, with a renewed attitude towards life and set ourselves achievable goals.

I am sure those of us that attended the Caloundra Reunion will join with me in sending heartfelt thanks to Julie and John for organising another memorable reunion.

I have been kept fairly busy attending various commemoration services and functions, gathering articles for inclusion in ‘True Blue’, travelling (Enid and I went to China for 2 weeks – my thoughts on China – been there, done that, ticked the box – saw some amazing things – would I go back? Probably not) and of course spoiling the grandkids back home.

(included in this edition) of a ‘Post’ event overview. I have included several photos of the Reunion at the end of the overview.

One of the highlights of my year was attending the UNOPAA Caloundra Reunion. What a fantastic week. The venue Base (Oaks Resort) was fantastic, the functions were brilliant while the pace of the week was ‘just right’, plenty of time to catch up with other attendees, reminisce and indulge in the odd bevvy or two. The week’s more formal activities focused on the 20th anniversary of UNAMET (East Timor) and it was great to see a number of members who had served in East Timor at the Reunion. From the outset, we knew we had a great week ahead of us. From the Jazz Club afternoon and then a trip down memory lane at ‘Rick’s Garage’. But it was the Welcome Dinner that set the scene for the rest of the week. While the meal had a ‘Greek’ theme, the surprise for the evening was a fantastic fireworks display celebrating the 20th anniversary of East Timor (even though the pyrotechnician got his riding orders confused and lit up a ‘25’ year sign rather than ‘20’ years). This exceptional week would not have eventuated if not for the hard work of Julie and John “Whiskey” Walker and their trusty sidekicks Bob and Lynne Vanderwolf. Julie’s exceptional organisational talents, once again, shone through while Whiskey (in his words) did what he was told. But those that attended the Reunion know how much effort was put into making the week a memorable occasion and I am sure Whiskey understated his involvement. Julie and Whiskey have provided a final update


I am sure those of us that attended the Caloundra Reunion will join with me in sending heartfelt thanks to Julie and John for organising another memorable reunion. Since Caloundra, the National Executive have been beavering away at sourcing a location for our next Reunion (in 2021). At present ‘Norfolk Island’ is a strong possibility and we are currently in consultation with the Island’s Tourist Agency to access (and evaluate) the best deal available. You will be notified as soon as practicable of the next reunion’s location to enable you to start squirreling away for your travel fund.

OTHER NEWS Our Secretary Has a New Address Our National Secretary/Treasurer Peter McDonald is in the process of moving, so has changed his mailing address to PO Box 253 Keilor East Victoria 3033 All correspondence should be addressed to him there. His email address ( is unchanged, as is his mobile 0418 131 352. Enid and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you, and your families, a wonderful Festive Season and a prosperous and happy New Year. Remember, if you haven’t spoken to someone for a while or you know someone who may be lonely – pick up the phone, give them a call and make their day.

Rod Walker

True Blue December 2019

National Police Week –

Wall to Wall Ride September the 14th was a busy day in Canberra. In the morning, the National Peacekeepers Day Commemorative Service was held at the National Peacekeepers Memorial in the morning and in the afternoon the saw the culmination of the Wall to Wall ride with over 2,500 motorcycles arriving at Kings Park to attend the Memorial Service at the National Police Memorial. With the National Police Memorial as a focal point and highlighting the positive image of police in the promotion of motorcycle safety and awareness, this has now become a much anticipated annual charity event in commemoration of the service and sacrifice of our police and for each of the State’s to raise much needed funds in support of their police charity organisations. Each of the Australian Police Forces has a dedicated place of remembrance and reflection, where they pay homage to and remember their police officers who have died as The Batons. a result of their service to the community. From these sites a very special journey begins with the intention of arriving at the outskirts of our national capital to meet and join the other contingents of riders from across Australia.

Kings Park became a huge motorcycle parking area.

A huge crowd attended the Commemoration Service.

In a final gesture of police solidarity and remembrance, the ride travels through Canberra to the National Police Memorial for a short, but poignant ceremony to commence the week in honour of our colleagues and mates; their names recorded on the touch stones of the memorial wall. Police Association of Victoria President, Brian Rix travelled by motorcycle to every Capital city in Australia during the month of July 2011 to deliver a hand-made wooden Wall to Wall Ride Baton to each Police Commissioner. The Batons are engraved with each jurisdiction’s Police Service Logo alongside the Wall to Wall Ride Logo and have a hollow centre allowing for the names of any fallen members to be inserted and carried by their Commissioner (or an appointed representative) on the Wall to Wall Ride to Canberra. These Batons form an important part of the Wall to Wall Ride Ceremony.

With 2,500 bikes travelling down Kings Avenue to the National Police Memorial. It took 45 minutes for all the bikes to arrive.


True Blue December 2019

National Peacekeepers Day 14 September 2019 In the ACT, the National Peacekeepers Day Commemoration Service was held at the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial on the morning of Saturday the 14th September. The Service was hosted by The Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans’ Association. A reasonable crowd gathered for the service including the Cypriot High Commissioner (Mrs Martha Mavrommati), Mr Pat Conaghan MP, Member for Cowper, representing The Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Veterans’ and Defence Personnel and Mr David Smith MP, Member for Bean, representing the Hon Shayne Neumann MP, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ and Defence Personnel.

Those Gathered for the National Peacekeepers Day Commemorative Service in Canberra.

The Peacekeepers Requiem was delivered by Sup (ret) Geoff Hazel and the Ode was recited by Federal Agent Brendon Withers.

Her Excellency, Martha Mavrommati, Cypriot High Commissioner, delivers the address.


True Blue December 2019

Federal Agent Brendon Withers recited the Ode.

National Peacekeepers Day – Darwin Members of UNOPAA (NT) attended a service in Palmerston to commemorate National Peacekeepers Day on Saturday 14 September. Kym Chilton ex-NTPOL - East Timor, Allan Mitchell ex-NTPOL – Cyprus, Irene (Skip) Menhinnitt ex AFP – Cyprus, East Timor. The event also coincided with the 20th anniversary of INTERFET and was hosted by a former army member who served in East Timor. This was the first time such an event was held in Darwin and is sure to become a regular on the calendar. Superintendent (ret) Geoff Hazel delivered the Peacekeepers Requiem.


True Blue December 2019

The Victoria Police Memorial in St Kilda Road Melbourne.

Police Remembrance Day 29 September On the 29th September, Police from all jurisdictions across Australia, gathered in their respective locals to honour and remember those police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The National Service in Canberra is the main focal point where the names of those police officers, from across Australia, who have died in the line of duty are added to the National Police Memorial ‘Wall of Remembrance’. However, each jurisdiction holds their own Commemorative Service/s. In this issue we focus on the main Commemorative Service held in Melbourne. The following article has been provided by Senior Sergeant Shaun Young, President of the Police Overseas Service Association, Victoria.


True Blue December 2019

VICTORIA POLICE – TIMOR LESTE AND THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIONS IN MELBOURNE August and September 2019 is the 20th anniversary of the East Timor popular ballot which was a palpable exercise in a democratic right to vote in a political destiny. Over 107 members of Victoria Police served in East Timor/Timor Leste and this was commemorated at the Victoria Police Memorial in St. Kilda Road on Sunday 29th September 2019 as part of Police Remembrance Day. It also commemorated the 15th Anniversary of Victoria Police deploying 219 members for service with the AFP’s International Deployment Group (IDG). It was great to see many of the UN Cyprus veterans turning out to support the 20th and 15th anniversaries for the younger veterans. The following commemoration speech was presented by Senior Sergeant Shaun Young the President of the Police Overseas Service Association (Victoria and Tasmania Branch) of the United Nations and Overseas Policing Association of Australia; “Honorary Aide-de-Camp Major Justin Robinson, representing Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau, Governor of Victoria; the Honourable Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria; Mr Paul Edbrooke, Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services; the Honourable Michael O’Brien, Leader of the Opposition; the Right Honourable Lord Mayor Sally Capp; Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton AM; Commander and State Manager Victoria and Tasmania Australian Federal Police, fellow police veterans, family and community members. This morning I am proud to represent more than 550 members of Victoria Police who have served overseas between 1964 and 2017 including operational members and unsworn forensic experts who put their lives (and future health) on the line through contributions to international peacekeeping, peacemaking, capacity building, and humanitarian missions in 15 countries. Their service was often dangerous, frequently completed whilst unarmed, sometimes surrounded whilst under small arms fire, and on a number of occasions the last line of defence during violent ethnic rioting. A number of these Victoria Police members were decorated for bravery for standing their ground and refusing to abandon members of the community in great peril. Today you will see the light blue UN berets and Dark Blue Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (or RAMSI Peacekeeper) berets in the crowd. Together we maintain and foster the memory of police members killed whilst serving overseas and

S/Sgt Shaun Young President of the Police Overseas Service Association (Victoria and Tasmania Branch) of the United Nations and Overseas Policing Association of Australia delivers the East Timor 20th and IDG 15th Anniversaries key not speech at Police Remembrance Day in Melbourne.

Members of UNOPAA and the Police Overseas Service Association (Victoria and Tasmania Branch) with Vitalia proudly displaying the Timor Leste flag on her top at the Melbourne Police Remembrance Day.

provide welfare support to the increasing number of Veterans who have been ill health retired, and who continue to struggle with developing health issues or find themselves totally and permanently incapacitated and often isolated and alone. August and September 2019 is the 20th anniversary of the East Timor popular ballot which was a palpable exercise in a democratic right to vote in a political destiny. Police peacekeeping established a path for the eventual independence of Timor Leste in 2002 and heralded the formation of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) International Deployment Group and increased cooperation between the AFP, Victoria Police and state and territory colleagues. As a result 107 members of Victoria Police served in East Timor between 1999 and 2006. At great personal risk our unarmed police peacekeepers in East Timor identified suitable polling sites and supervised registration of eligible voters;


True Blue December 2019

as this was the first time the Timorese people had voted. Due to violence the Popular Consultation had to be delayed twice; however it was finally set for the 30 August 1999 when 95% of the people turned out to vote despite the treats and violence. The second anniversary I would briefly like to acknowledge is the 15th anniversary of Victoria Police’s involvement in staffing the AFP International Deployment Group (or IDG). Leading directly from the experiences in East Timor, Victoria Police deployed 219 sworn and unsworn members to IDG missions throughout the world between 2004 and 2010 including the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Jordan, Cyprus, Nauru, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.

Soon to graduate members of Recruit Squads 37 and 38 of 2019 read the roll of police members in the South Pacific who lost their lives in service over the past year.

Victoria Police members also served with the UN in South Sudan, where they witnessed open civil war at its worst with brutality, death and unspeakable acts being committed against the civilian population as well as the unarmed and often outnumbered UN Police. One of those members is here with us today for the first time…and we welcome you back and acknowledge your significant service. Another mission of great significance was “Operation HELPEM FREN” also known as the Regional Assistance Mission to The Solomon Islands (or RAMSI). A police-led mission from the outset, RAMSI reflected broader international thinking about the importance of effective domestic security capabilities as a critical precondition for achieving long-term stability and development. Today on this 15th Anniversary we remember those who did not return home from the Solomon Islands mission: Australian Protective Service officer Adam Dunning, 26, who died after he was shot twice in the back on a night patrol in Honiara; Australian Army Private Jamie Clarke, 22, died on patrol after falling into a cave whilst searching for illegal weapons; and Police officers from Vanuatu, Niue and the AFP who died in mission. As we reflect this morning on all police in our Region who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service, I ask you to spare a thought for those Police who returned and remain in ill health through physical and mental health injuries. I thank those who have committed to changing the face of mental health services for police and emergency service workers and ask you to continue the great and noble task of ensuring no more are left behind. Thank you.”


Chief Commissioner Ashton and Premier Andrews stand for the last post.

Also present at the Melbourne Police Remembrance Day was 14 year old Vitalia the daughter of Detective Acting Inspector Janet Mitchell from Victoria Police who served with UNMIT in 2008. Vitalia was resplendent in her Timor Leste top and proudly carrier her birth counties flag at the ceremony. In the following extract Janet recounts how she met and eventually returned to East Timor to adopt Vitalia who now resides with her in Australia; “I met Vitalia in Oecusse District when I was part of UNMIT in 2008. She was two and a half years old and was living in Topu Honis Safe Place/Refuge for children in a mountain village called Cutete, two hours up the mountain from the ferry port. After I finished my UN mission I returned to East Timor the very next morning to begin the process of adopting Vitalia who was available for adoption due to cultural reasons. I rented a small thatched roof house on the beach and began the complex adoption process firstly through the East Timorese Courts and then with the Australian government to get an adoption visa, and most importantly got to know her. Vitalia knew no English, but quickly

True Blue December 2019

Retired Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police and Northern Territory Police march with the Police Overseas Service Association (Victoria and Tasmania Branch) banner in the background.

Victoria Police Shrine Guards mount the catafalque at the Melbourne Police Memorial.

learned with my help as well as watching ‘Wiggles’ DVDs which fascinated her. At the end of 2009 the adoption process was complete and I returned to Australia. Vitalia loves sports: basketball, tennis, athletics, swimming and soccer. We try to make Vitalia’s East Timorese culture part of our lives in Australia. We are members of an East Timorese/Australian Friendship group which meets regularly and brings together East Timorese people living in Melbourne and people who are interested in the small independent nation. She loves to travel and every two years we go back to East Timor to Topu Honis in her home village where we stay for one week. Vitalia’s birth mother lives in the village with her husband and Vitalia’s two half-brothers. After Vitalia was adopted, her birth mum taught herself English so she could speak to Vitalia when we visited. She owns a small kiosk selling biscuits, tea bags, soft drinks, lollies and Bintang beer all of which she carries from a market which is a two hour walk down the hill. We have a wonderful time during these visits: eating Timorese food, dancing, singing, drinking tea and the local

brew called ‘Tua’, hiking and renewing friendships. Vitalia runs with her friends, they play games, sit and eat together, dance and listen to Timorese music. She spends most of her time with her birth mum in their thatched roof house, dirt floor, chickens running loose, cooking food over an open fire and playing with her brothers. Vitalia and I usually visit the local primary school, join the Sunday church service and help in the vegetable garden that supplies food for Topu Honis. One of our most enjoyable activities is to distribute clothes to the children that we have collected in Australia – good quality second-hand clothing. We make sure we travel light so we can bring more for the children and we also send boxes ahead of time and we bring them on the ferry and up the mountain to Topu Honis. I often reflect on this week in the mountains: it is a week where all of our norms are turned upside down. All of a sudden, I am ‘chopped liver’, Vitalia is with her birth mum all the time, doesn’t know what to call her, so doesn’t call her anything. Vitalia’s step father has three children in the house instead of two, Vitalia’s brother becomes the middle child and finds the shift of attention challenging and the youngest brother has two older siblings to play with. All too quickly the week is over and we make the long trek down the mountain to the ferry and say our tearful goodbyes. When I adopted Vitalia I made a promise that I would bring her back to East Timor every other year so that she would be able to keep in touch with her Timorese family and her culture. It is one of the most fulfilling things we do in our busy lives.” Victoria Police and the Melbourne Office of the Australian Federal Police have also joined forces to put on a 20th Anniversary Reunion for those who served in East Timor/Timor Leste. All former East Timor, IDG East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Cyprus, ADF (Police) and other mission veterans are encouraged to attend and support this significant reunion. Thanks to a DVA grant obtained by UNOPAA Secretary Peter McDonald APM, this free reunion will be held on Friday evening 29th November 2019 from 6.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. at the Mission to Seafarers 717 Flinders Street, Docklands (Melbourne). As the first major reunion of the IDG era we encourage all former Vicpol and AFP East Timor veterans and partners together with other IDG and UN missions to come along. Great accommodation deals are available through the Police Associations’ webpage with Mantra Group and Quest Apartments, so make a weekend of it in Melbourne. To express interest in attending this reunion email your name/s to


True Blue December 2019

UNOPAA National Reunion/Conference Caloundra 20-24, October 2019 UPDATE NUMBER 8 OF 8 NOVEMBER 2019. FINAL UPDATE.

Hello again from the Sunshine Coast. Now that the 2019 UNOPAA National Conference/ Reunion 20-24 October 2019 is behind us, Julie and I thank you all for your attendance, support and friendship which assisted greatly in the successful outcome of the event. Without your acceptance of, and willing participation and involvement in, the various events, we may/could not have achieved what we had planned and had hoped to achieve. As I said at the Welcome Dinner, all the States and Territories were represented which speaks volumes of your interest in and support of the UNOPAA Conferences/Reunions, of your willingness to travel long distances to these events, while also confirming that they are indeed National events.

Those who attended the reunion for their first time, we hope what we provided whetted your appetite to attend future conferences/reunions as well as prompting you to reach out to some of your colleagues with whom you served overseas and encourage them to come along and join in future festivities. As outlined on the back of the Order of Events and Menu at your table setting at the Formal Dinner we were assisted by quite a number of sponsors/ donors/supporters and helpers, to whom we are truly grateful. Their generosity and support in time and kind enabled us to put together the program you experienced and from all the feedback we have received, you enjoyed thoroughly.

The Official Table at the Welcome Dinner.

Ben and Kaz McDevitt with the Author of ‘Scorched Earth’ Tammy Pemper. Tammy and her husband (Peter Watt) were signing copies of the book in the Reunion Registration Room.


Members who had served in East Timor and their partners. Welcome Dinner.

True Blue December 2019

A fireworks extravaganza at the Welcome Dinner. (Unfortunately, the pyrotechnician misread the instructions - 25 instead of 20) a small glitch during what was a fantastic night.

Rick’s Garage – a step back in time.

Enjoying the surrounds and food at Rick’s Garage.

Cruising the canals of Maroochydore on ‘Whale One’.

We optimistically aimed for and budgeted for 150 attendees and, while we did not reach that number, we were more than satisfied with the final count of 139. Because of various reasons, a few members were unable to come to all the events.

TUESDAY 22.10.2019: • Whale One Mooloolaba Canal Cruise. 92 members/ partners. • MV Maroochy River Cruise. 36 members/partners, plus 4 guests.

A breakdown of the events and the number of UNOPAA members/partners and guests are as follows:

WEDNESDAY 23.10.2019:

SUNDAY 20.10.2019:

THURSDAY 24.10.2019:

• Caloundra Street Fair and Markets. Numbers unknown, but quite a few took advantage to shop or browse. • Sunshine Coast Jazz Club – Pippa Wilson & Jazz Notes Showband. 17 members/partners. • Rick’s Garage and Restaurant, Palmwoods. 98 members/partners. (We originally thought up to 50 members would attend this Optional Extra, but were very happy with the final number of 98).

MONDAY 21.10.2019: • Welcome Dinner. 129 members/partners, plus seven VIP’S/guests.

• Mayoral Reception. 128 members/partners, plus three guests. • Street march/church service. 137 members/ partners, plus three guests. • Formal Dinner. 135 members/partners, plus nine VIP’S/guests. I am forwarding the names of those who registered and attended the reunion. For privacy reasons and without the approval of those listed, I have not included full home addresses, telephone numbers or other contact details. For those considering hosting a future reunion and contemplating how to encourage younger members with families and/or who are working to attend,


True Blue December 2019

a suggestion was put forward that thought be given to holding the reunion over a weekend (long weekend?) so that interested attendees with families and/or who are still in the workforce would be better placed to attend by not having to take time off from work or by being able to make suitable alternative family arrangements for the weekend. If desired, attendees could extend their stay at the reunion location before and after the event. Another suggestion is that consideration be given to holding future events in regional areas rather than capital cities – as we were able to achieve successfully in 2009 and 2019 by staging those events on the Sunshine Coast. As most states have held an event in their major city, it is worthwhile to consider going outside the cities with the strong possibility of gaining cheaper options/rates for accommodation, venues, transport as well as attracting strong community involvement and enhanced local sponsorship.

There was plenty of food and good company on the Canal Cruise.

Best wishes and hope we meet again at the 2021 reunion. Happy days

John (Whiskey) and Julie Walker John (Whiskey) Walker E: M: 0474 157 982. Julie Walker E: M: 0412 789 957 T: (07) 5437 6587

With Chefs cooking up a feast

Julie and John “Whiskey’ Walker with the Mayor of the Sunshine Coast at the Mayoral Reception.


True Blue December 2019

Assembling prior to the March.

Lined up and ready to ’step off’.

The Formal Dinner – What a night it was.

We looked Resplended (or so we were told).

The High Commissioner for Cyprus (Her Excellency, Martha Mavrommati) with Julie and John ‘Whiskey’ Walker at the Formal Dinner.


True Blue December 2019

The Courage for Peace Exhibition Australian War Memorial The Courage for Peace Exhibition officially opened on Thursday 17 October 2019 at the Australian War Memorial and will be open until 2nd September 2020. History shows a perpetual tension between humankind’s capacity for conflict and its capacity for compassion, its ability to commit atrocities and its ability to envisage a better world. Australia’s peacemakers, peacekeepers, disaster-relief workers, and capacity builders operate in the midst of this tension. They work with strategic minds and courageous hearts to avert tragedy and build peace. The Courage for Peace tells the story of their crucial work, showing how the conditions for peace are forged by the difficult, necessary, ongoing commitment of many. Their work takes many forms in diverse locations. Australians have contributed to the efforts of the United Nations in war zones across the globe, as well

as to disaster relief and nation-building in our own region. The Courage for Peace focuses on Australia’s recent peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in the Asia–Pacific, and Australia’s diplomatic efforts to prevent conflict, including in support of the United Nations and the international rules-based order. Together, these show how Australia works regionally and globally towards peace for itself and for others. The exhibition honours Australia’s peacemakers and peacekeepers – those with courageous hearts and strategic minds who work tirelessly to avert tragedy and build peace, and those who work towards peace for their persistence, idealism, courage, and achievements. From peace processes on Bougainville, to protecting elections in East Timor; from helping the innocent in Rwanda to building peace in Solomon Islands – Australian civilians, diplomats, police and the military have made a difference regionally and globally.

SUPERINTENDENT GEOFF HAZELL APM (RET’D) Supt Geoff HAZEL APM (Ret’d) wore the beret shown during his numerous United Nation (UN) peacekeeping operations to East Timor, Cyprus, Mozambique and Solomon Islands. His medal group (also shown) reflects his service with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Army (ADF) Geoff deployed to East Timor in June 1999 as the Regional Commander of the UN Police in the Ermera District. As the Police were unarmed, Geoff relied on his communication skills and experience from two tours of Vietnam. He reflected “I don’t think I have ever been so stretched as I was in East Timor”. Supt Hazell sat by the radio all night before polling day, monitoring the situation. He remembers the first report the next morning. In the background were the sounds of the East Timorese children singing as the East Timorese gathered at the polling station.


True Blue December 2019

L-R: Alan LeLievre, Don Barnby, Geoff Hazel, David Savage, Martin Hess and Dale Cooper. (Courtesy AWM)

BOMBING OF THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY IN JAKARTA 2004 Many Australian Diplomats and government officers work in unpredictable environments across the world. They operate behind the scenes to protect Australia and its citizens. Despite the dangers they may face and the tragedies they may witness, they remain determined in their efforts on behalf of Australia’s national interests. Australian diplomat David Ritchie was the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia during a tumultuous time of shared tragedy and crisis, including the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings, the 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. On 9th September 2004, David barely escaped with his life when a car bomb functioned outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

Ambassador’s Window and Coat of Arms from Australian Embassy in Bali Bombing. (Courtesy AWM)

Medals and UN Beret with description from Veteran Peacekeeper Supt Geoff Hazell. (Courtesy AWM)

Quote from LtCol Gary Stone (Retd). (Courtesy AWM)

David was seated at his desk when the explosion shattered his blast-resistant office window. He narrowly escaped death when a steel fence spike flew through the window. Despite the threat of a second terrorist attack, embassy staff evacuated the building, secured the grounds and provided assistance to the injured. Ambassador Ritchie coordinated Australia’s consular response providing support from the government to those affected by the tragedy. Ambassador Ritchie and the embassy staff were awarded the Australian Group bravery Citation for their courage.


True Blue December 2019

Geoff Hazel (left) with David Savage in East Timor.

Stories from East Timor I have known Geoff Hazel most of my Police Career. In the main – he was my sergeant and then my Officer in Charge. I now call him a mate. Between June and August this year, Geoff posted several stories about his East Timor deployment time, on Facebook. I read them with great interest as I was in the small 2nd Contingent that replaced his. I asked Geoff if he would allow me to publish several of these stories in True Blue, which he readily agreed to and provided them to me in ‘Word’ format along with a few photos to accompany the stories. Geoff has advised me that some of the articles provided are featured in a book he has written on his time in East Timor during the lead up to and the conducting of the Popular Ballot in 1999. Former Leader of the National Party, Tim Fisher, honoured the 1st Australian East Timor Contingent


(in Parliament) by calling them heroes. He specifically mentioned the ‘Emera Turtles’ – a title bestowed upon themselves by Geoff’s Team who were stationed in the Emera/Gleno Region of East Timor. Whilst doing some research on Geoff’s articles, I discovered that his book is just about to be released. It’s title “Picture a Dry Riverbed”. Don Barnaby was provided the opportunity to review the book prior to publication, the below is his review statement:

True Blue December 2019

The following is an excerpt of the ‘House of Representatives” Hansard dated Tuesday 21 September 1999. Speaker – The Hon Tim Fisher MP (Farrer) Deputy Prime Minister The bravery of unarmed people in adding to the integrity of that ballot by dint of sheer courage in extraordinary circumstances has been demonstrated time and time again in the days since the ballot, but particularly in a place called Gleno where there were many incidents on polling day. In fact, the polling place had to be closed for one hour when militia entered and fired their guns into the air. But it was the next day and overnight after the polling place had closed that the ballot boxes were secured and a CIVPOL team in the area, led by Geoffrey Hazel, had to stand guard on those ballot boxes. The collection was to take place by helicopter. Imagine the scene: they decided to switch to a creek bed to load these ballot boxes into the helicopters in order to get the ballot boxes safely away, because at that stage the militia were after those ballot boxes. They wanted to destroy the integrity of the ballot in the Gleno area. Suddenly the helicopter landed, but there was a delay in opening the doors and proceeding with the loading. This led to the disaster whereby the militia came running down the creek bed, firing shots and causing the helicopter to lift off and commence a holding pattern some distance away. At this point, the CIVPOL team led by Geoffrey Hazel and others stood their ground with no arms whatsoever and “A great read, well written and factually interesting. It took me back 20 years!! Refreshingly accurate account of what apparently happened in Ermera! One comment: that incident at Ermera on Polling Day with the truckload of Militia that were blocking the intersection that Crazy had to pass through on his way back to Gleno, was in my recollection, a little more ‘up close and personal’ than me standing on a table in the Polling centre. I recall that I was having quite a ‘long chat’ with the Militia head at the time with the barrel of his automatic inches from my face and attempting to persuade Polri to do their job!! I was also having a 3-way conversation on the radio with Crazy, Jim France and Sandra whilst trying to resolve the impasse. It was finally resolved, and the rest is history. Can’t wait till its published. You write very well. Proud to have served with you and all

surrounded those ballot boxes in distinctive blue colours. It amazed the militia that the CIVPOL team did not clear out and allow them to attack those ballot boxes. A critical stand-off occurred. The militia held their guns. The subsequently backed off, the ballot boxes were reloaded into vehicles, taken to a separate landing zone for the helicopters, subsequently loaded and got back to Dili where I saw the 850 ballot boxes in the counting compound just near the Dili airport. Geoffrey Hazel and the many others involved, including Paul Morris, Don Barnby, Peter Watt, Wayne Corbett, Rob Mills, Randy Martinet and Jim France, were just part of a huge grouping of volunteers from right around the world who did so famously well and were so courageous in bringing about the result, the ballot, and very clearly the integrity of that ballot. Finally, I also salute those in Darwin who have worked so hard to facilitate a lot of the resupply and arrangements throughout July, August and now September in a very direct way. God speed to those Australians in East Timor and to those from elsewhere around the world doing their task in East Timor. God bless them and may the task be completed safely and as soon as possible. We look forward to the advent of the independent East Timor nation. ‘The Turtles’ mate. Will never forget that 3 months in ‘99. Cheers Barny.  Geoff’s reply to Don was: “Don the incident on polling day was how you explained it to me at the time - in the typical way that all Turtles mentioned what they had done - understated - it is now a bit after draft stage - but I will work on trying to get a small addition. Geoff” I can’t wait to get a copy of Geoff’s book, from the snippets he has provided for True Blue, this should be a gripping read. Geoff’s book is planned to be released before Christmas. The book will be published by “Sid Harta Publishers” – price is $29.95. Geoff advises that royalties from the sale of his book will be given to ‘Police Legacy’.

Rod Walker


True Blue December 2019

The following articles are personal accounts from several East Timor Regions, mainly by Australian Civilian Police (one UK Police officer also provides an account). A few of the author’s names may be familiar to you as members of our Association.

UNAMET – TIMOR-LESTE BALLOT BOX COLLECTION (31.08.99) (Rob Walker – UK CivPol) RIVERBED – GLENO, ERMERA CIVPOL (Civilian Police) OFFICERS PRESENT Geoff Hazel - AUS Paul (Morro) Morris - AUS Don (Barney) Barnby - AUS Wayne Corbett - NZ Rob Mills - NZ Rob Walker - UK The popular consultation took place on the 30th August 1999. Due to ongoing militia violence, orchestrated by the Indonesian military (TNI) UNAMET HQ decided to transport all ballot boxes from the outlying districts, back to Dili, via helicopter on the 31st of August. There were genuine concerns that the militias would attempt to disrupt the integrity of the voting process by destroying/attacking the ballot boxes and/or UN staff, prior to the ballots arriving back in the counting centre in Dili. (There were additional concerns that the counting centre itself could be attacked). As far as I recall only three helicopters were available for the task of ballot box collection. Each of the helicopters had any additional seats stripped out to allow the maximum number of boxes to be loaded on each trip. On the Super Pumas, the chopper crew consisted of a pilot, a co-pilot and a crewman / loadmaster. (Other people have written, quite rightly, about the skill, professionalism and bravery of the helicopter crews throughout the numerous incidents they faced during the UNAMET 1999 UN mission to East Timor). In addition to the crew, there were three other people authorised to be on-board each helicopter that day. Each of the three choppers was allocated one Civpol Officer, who was responsible for the physical security/integrity of the ballot boxes. I consider myself very fortunate that I was the UN Civpol Officer allocated to one of the UN helicopters (UN0-061) that day. Additionally, one UN Electoral Officer was to be on board and was responsible for the administrative side of the collection. Our Electoral Officer was a young female (Elise?) who I recall was calm, level-headed and extremely


brave during the Gleno incident and throughout that whole day. The third person present was a fully armed Indonesian Police Officer who, ironically, was present to ‘assist with security’ and ‘ensure that the UN staff did not interfere with the Ballot Boxes’. We left Dili at first light and headed west to the East Timor enclave of Oecusse. (The ‘enclave’ is over the main border and surrounded by West Timor on all sides, apart from it’s coastline). We landed around 0600 hours and although the atmosphere was tense there were no issues with the militia at the landing site. All boxes were loaded quickly and without incident. After take-off, we headed north-east over West Timor and back across the land border, towards Gleno in East Timor. As far as I recall, Gleno was either the second or third collection point that morning. The UN Civpol Area commander for Ermera was AFP Officer Geoff Hazel. The normal helicopter landing site in Gleno was ‘the Oval’; a large grassed area in the middle of the town. Geoff and his team had decided to switch the landing site, due to serious concerns that the militia would ambush the UN Land-Rovers carrying the ballot boxes and/or the UN helicopter. The alternate collection point for the ballot boxes was the dry riverbed, located a short drive from the Gleno Civpol HQ. As we approached the landing zone, I remember there was a problem with radio communications between the pilot and the JOC (Joint Operations Centre in Dili); and therefore, the UNAMET Civpol base in Gleno. As I looked out through the right-hand side window of the helicopter, I could see about six UN Land Rovers lined up, side-by-side, parked on the dry riverbed. The vehicles had been deliberately reversed up to the edge of the riverbank, to allow the boxes to be unloaded quickly on to the higher ground. There were also 1 or 2 additional UN Land Rovers parked slightly further forward, towards the centre of the riverbed. Even prior to landing, I could see around a dozen UN staff standing on, and near to, the riverbank alongside the blue ballot boxes waiting to load them onto the chopper. As the helicopter landed, the crewman opened the right-hand side, sliding door and I saw several Civpol Officers running towards the helicopter carrying ballot boxes. They were a matter of metres from us, as Elise, the Indonesian police officer and I exited the chopper.

True Blue December 2019

the Gleno UN staff. (The pilot later reported that, just prior to take-off, the helicopter had been hit by several rounds). Elise was standing to my right-hand side. I pushed her down behind some bushes, told her to stay down and that I would come back for her shortly. She did exactly as instructed and was calm and professional throughout. In the confusion, one of the ballot boxes was dropped and spilt several ballot papers onto the ground. Due to the downdraught from the helicopter the papers were ‘whipped up’ and were literally flying through the air. Several of the Civpol Officers managed to grab hold of the voting slips, which were later put back into the damaged box and returned to Dili, along with the rest of the boxes. (We were later informed that only a handful of ballot papers were lost). I then moved forward with Morro and stood with him and most of the other Civpol, where they had remained, standing adjacent to the UN LandRovers. The blue Ballot boxes (plus the white sacks containing the paperwork from the vote) were still stacked around the rear of the Land Rovers on the riverbed. Other boxes were still in the rear of the vehicles and/or on the higher ground of the riverbank. Geoff Hazel (centre sitting) conducting a briefing held inside Polri compound on the day they announced the ballot result.

Almost immediately, I saw several Civpol Officers turn to look away from the helicopter and back towards the dry Riverbed. At the same moment, I heard the sound of shots coming from the far side of the dry riverbed. The sound of the helicopter obviously drowned out voices and some of the shots. AFP Civpol Officer Paul Morris (Morro) was the closest Civpol to me at that point and was shouting something. The only word (apart from swear words) I could make out was ‘Militia!’. I looked up and across the riverbed and could see around 30-40 men running towards our position from the field at the far side of the riverbed. (Around 400 metres away). Despite the noise of the helicopter’s engines, shots could now clearly be heard from the direction of the riverbed. The different sounds of gunfire suggested mainly the ‘Rakitans’ (home-made, hand-held guns) but numerous sporadic shots sounded very much like modern firearms. As the militia ran towards the helicopter and the ballot boxes, they were firing their guns in the air. As per standard procedure the pilot, quite rightly, lifted off and we were left on the ground along with

Most of the Civpol present simply stood their ground, in a loose line, in an attempt to protect the ballot boxes from the militia. I recall seeing Geoff Hazel walk away from our position towards the middle of the Riverbed and, bravely, towards the advancing the militia. Geoff had his arms outstretched with his palms facing downwards, in a calming manner, showing that we offered no threat. Rocks and stones where thrown in our direction and several of the militia were waving machetes in the air. Other militia members were carrying home-made, handheld guns (Rakitans). Several of the Rakitans were fired in our general direction, but as they were so inaccurate the lead shot could have gone anywhere. (Although I didn’t realise at the time Geoff Hazel was shot in the arm and had to have several small lead pellets removed later that day). Several of the Civpol Officers in the line the boxes, picked up rocks with which to defend themselves. AFP Officer Don Barnby (Barney) describes picking up a large piece of wood, intending to use it as a club. Unfortunately, the wood was rotten, and it simply crumbled in Barney’s hands. The militia on the riverbed seemed confused and surprised that the UN Civpol had not simply run away


True Blue December 2019

when attacked. This caused the militia to hesitate and some of them actually stopped running towards us. There was a lot shouting and waving of weapons by the militia as they continued to threaten UN staff, from the middle of the riverbed. At this point, I was aware of a second group of men, standing on the far side of the riverbed, who also appeared to be carrying firearms. From my position, I couldn’t see clearly who they were, but they were in civilian clothes and I assumed militia. Other Civpol Officers, who were closer to that group, described that group as carrying fully automatic weapons and were only around 100 metres away from us. As far as I am aware, that smaller group of militia, did not come any closer to the UNAMET staff and vehicles. There then followed a stand-off, which lasted around 10 minutes. Around this time, arriving late (deliberately as normal) were the Brimob/Indonesian Police. As Geoff Hazel negotiated with the Brimob to ensure the security of the ballot boxes and the UN staff, he was joined by a couple of MLO’s and two other Civpol in the middle of the riverbed. The rest of the Civpol maintained the line in front of the ballot boxes. Several times, the militia on the riverbed started to move towards us, but then stopped. It was clear intimidation tactics, to try to get the Civpol group to leave the ballot boxes and retreat. Although, in fairness, no-one knew how far the militia were prepared to go. After a further 10 minutes or so the Brimob moved between the militia and the UN Civpol. The Brimob did actually maintain a presence which allowed the ballot boxes to be reloaded into the Land-Rovers. We then slowly left the riverbed and shortly afterwards, made our way to the Oval for a second attempt to load the ballot boxes onto the helicopter. During his tense negotiations with the Brimob/Police, Geoff Hazel had reached an agreement that the outer perimeter of the oval would be secured by a loose cordon of fully armed Indonesian police officers. The militia (who were also fully armed) where to be kept outside of that cordon. I was in Morro’s Land Rover, along with Elise, as we and the other Gleno Civpol drove onto the oval. The helicopter which have been circling overhead then landed in the centre of the oval. The crewman already had the left-hand door of the chopper open prior to landing, to facilitate a fast load of the ballot boxes. Immediately the helicopter landed, Morro and I pushed Elise on board the chopper, before the ballot boxes were loaded. The first Land Rover was then


quickly reversed up to within 8 metres of the open chopper door. A group of six Civpol / UN staff formed a short line and manhandled the boxes straight into the chopper, loading them in less than five minutes. I recall shaking hands with Morro as I got back onto the helicopter, to fly to the next pickup point in Hatolia. The Gleno Civpol team remained on the ground with several more days of violence and intimidation to face.

NOTE UNAMET HQ Electoral staff later made the valid point that, had the militia succeeded in destroying and/ or ‘taking’ any of the ballot boxes, then the potential impact on the integrity of the whole voting process would have been serious. The Pro-Integration side would claim that all of any missing votes would ‘obviously’ have all been for their side. AFP Australian Federal Police UNAMET United Nations Assistance Mission East Timor CIVPOL Civilian Police MLO Military Liaison Officer BRIMOB Mobile Brigade – Indonesian ‘Paramilitary’ Police

DAVID BACHI; GREG CORIN; PAUL MCEWAN; CHRIS COOPER 1ST AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE DETACHMENT, UNAMET Event One: Over the period 11 - 13 September 1999, UNAMET personnel (including civilian police, district electoral officers and military liaison officers) from Baucau, Los Palos and Viqueque UNAMET Districts, together with American based Carter Institute members, gathered at Baucau in preparation for possible evacuation due to tension arising from the result of the Popular Consultation. The decision to gather in Baucau was made due to an escalation of tensions in each District and the ever-present risk of damage or injury increasing. Station Sergeant’s Bachi and Corin were tasked with developing a security plan for a number of Baucau buildings in the event of a ‘lockdown’ as the situation had deteriorated to the point where damage to UNAMET occupied homes and vehicles was occurring. Four primary locations were identified as ‘strongholds’ – UNAMET Headquarters, CIVPOL House, UNAMET District Coordinator’s house and a private residence not far from UNAMET Headquarters. A number of other locations may have also been used in the initial stages however these were reduced as tensions increased and as

True Blue December 2019

Convoy lined up outside the Emera Polri HQ before evacuation to Dili (“Emera Turtles”).

individuals were relocated to one of these main centres. To give an example, on the day of evacuation there were in excess of 53 people in CIVPOL House. This house was approximately 100 metres from UNAMET District Headquarters and originally housed nine civilian police members throughout the registration and polling period. At the peak of the tension not only did Baucau UNAMET Headquarters have far in excess of this number secured inside but also provided for an unknown number of locally engaged staff and families.

At the same time, together with a Filipino Superintendent ‘Moro’, Station Sergeant Bachi stationed himself on an upstairs verandah at CIVPOL House as this afforded a direct view of the HQ building and provided dialogue on the activities of Militia and BriMob groups, in effect providing the eyes for the HQ group. Many of the shots received at CIVPOL House were close to the verandah position occupied by Station Sergeant Bachi. It was also known that unknown elements were monitoring and had previously communicated on UN radio facilities. The position held by Station Sergeant Bachi was exposed to say the least, with little in the way of protection offered by open lattice, brick verandah walls and a wooden floor. The actions of Station Sergeant’s Bachi and Corin were paramount in easing tension amongst all those contained in the strongholds. It cannot be over emphasised enough as to how vital the flow of information provided by these two was to not only those making the ultimate decision to evacuate all staff and not leave a presence behind, but to those in all the strongholds. Calm, continuous communication ensured no loss of life or injury occurred. Event two:

On the morning of the 13th, a decision was made that the majority of UNAMET personnel and the Carter Institute members would be evacuated from Baucau airport using Australian Defence Force C130 aircraft. This would leave a small group to maintain a presence on behalf of the United Nations. Throughout the morning Station Sergeant Greg Corin had been providing constant radio communication from the HQ building with all personnel and Station Sergeant Bachi was overseeing ‘defence’ preparations.

After the decision to evacuate was made, arrangements were put in place for all UNAMET personnel and American based Carter Institute members to travel to Baucau airport for subsequent processing and departure. It is interesting to note that difficulties were initially experienced with Indonesian authorities providing an armed escort to the airport, but this was quickly overcome when the TNI member with responsibilities for local militia guaranteed our safety. A short time later everyone, including some locally engaged personnel and their families, gathered at the airport. Amongst this group was also Bishop Belo and his support staff.

During the morning on no less than three occasions, tension escalated to the point where all personnel were directed to ‘lock down’ and there was to be no movement or visible presence outside of allocated strongholds. At these times shots were being exchanged between militia and BriMob police groups, with both the HQ building and CIVPOL house receiving a number of hits, whether intentionally or unintentionally cannot be determined. During this time Station Sergeant Corin maintained his composure and continued to communicate with all strongholds, providing situation reports and facilitating the flow of information, particularly on welfare. I am advised that Station Sergeant Corin maintained a radio ‘log’ of all transmission during this time and may have that log in his possession today.

Tension continued at the airport as Australian Defence personnel, UNAMET members and Indonesian authorities negotiated evacuation details. One contentious issue was the attempt to separate East Timorese people from the main group and the subsequent refusal by Indonesian authorities for them to be evacuated with the main body. At this point it must be highlighted that what only can be described as controlled restraint was being displayed by all parties as a number of Indonesian military members, acting in an emotionally threatening manner, continued to verbally abused the East Timorese in both the English and Indonesian languages. Threats to rape and then murder the women as soon as the UN had departed were commonplace.


True Blue December 2019

Information was received that two C130 aircraft were to arrive and fly everyone to Darwin, however only one aircraft would land at any one time. A decision was made that as many people as possible were to be evacuated on the first aircraft in the event that should the situation deteriorate to the point where the other aircraft would not be allowed to land most, if not all, would be out. The result of this decision was that only a small amount of personal possession was to be taken by each person as room was limited and that all CIVPOL, DEO and Carter Institute personnel and a small number of Military Liaison officers were to go. Bishop Belo was also able to get onto the first aircraft. As numbers within the first aircraft increased and negotiations for the safety of the East Timorese continued, so did the verbal abuse at the East Timorese, necessitating a number of CIVPOL members, including Station Sergeant McEwan and myself, physically placing ourselves between the Indonesians and the locally engaged staff. As the aircraft filled, the numbers of CIVPOL members reduced to the point where just Station Sergeant McEwan and I remained, however we would not relinquish our role until such time as the safety of these people had been assured. On more than one occasion we were both directed to get on the first aircraft, but we refused. A decision was made for the first aircraft to depart leaving Station Sergeant McEwan and I behind. Whilst this was not the reason for remaining behind, I am aware that this aircraft was overloaded with in excess of 130 people on board. Some concern was expressed when the aircraft taxied onto the main runway as an armed Indonesian military vehicle that appeared to want to prevent the aircraft from departing followed it. Nothing eventuated and the aircraft departed, later arriving safely in Darwin. Negotiations continued with Indonesian authorities about the destiny of the East Timorese. At this time a number of women were clutching both Station Sergeant McEwan and I as we attempted to answer repeated questions as to their fate. Eventually a compromise was reached where UN helicopters could be used to ferry these people to Dili and hopefully, they would reach the UN compound. Two UN helicopters piloted by Australians had been located at Baucau throughout the evacuation proceedings and were now called upon to take the East Timorese. Concerns were expressed that the number of East Timorese were in excess of the authorised load limit for helicopters of that type. I understand that this may have been in the order of 17 passengers for each helicopter. Eventually in


excess of 35 passengers were crammed into each, with personnel belongings forced to be left behind. Both Station Sergeant McEwan and I could do nothing more for these people other than to hand them as much local currency as we both had. Witnessing the helicopters take off was certainly unsettling as not only were distraught people peering out of the windows but also the rotors were straining under the weight of the helicopter’s load. I can certainly attest to the flying skills of the Australian pilots as they encouraged each machine to respond. Fortunately, whilst this was occurring the second C130 aircraft had arrived and Station Sergeant McEwan and I were able to assist in loading personal items left behind by those who departed on the first aircraft. Sadly, Station Sergeant McEwan and I were only two of approximately a dozen people on that flight and plenty of room would have been available for the East Timorese. Both of us eventually arrived safely in Darwin.

C.M. Cooper UNAMET


About 10.00am on 4 September 1999, commercial radio broadcasts denounced the Popular Consultation result as being invalid due to manipulation by Australia and corrupt local UN staff. The local Indonesian police commander personally conveyed his genuine concerns for the physical safety of Sergeant Anthony FOWLER and myself, as the only AFP members in Manatuto. We were both restricted to the DHQ. About 11.00am on 4 September 1999, local ‘Mahadi’ militia began driving past the Manatuto DHQ on motorcycles and a small truck. These drive-bys continued until the local militia leader Filomino Brito FREITAS came to DHQ about 1.00pm that afternoon, to personally threaten all UNAMET and demand that we leave. FREITAS appeared to be infuriated by our friendly smiles, hand waves and apparent lack of reaction. He left the area to return about 30 minutes later with a group of about 12-15 armed militiamen to repeat his earlier threats. The local Indonesian Police Commander happened to be at DHQ (warning AFP members) when FREITAS returned, and his local policemen managed to move the militia group away after intense negotiation. The militia group left the area to ‘shoot up’ houses in Manatuto. At this time, all UNAMET staff moved into the DHQ that was secured with 3 days supplies of bottled water and dry rations to wait out this armed civil

True Blue December 2019

disobedience. All locally employed UN staff members were advised to immediately make their way to the nearby highlands, which were controlled by rebel forces (FALITIL).

The observation team remained in position, dispute this real danger, to provide warnings to the DHQ and UNAMET residences about militia movements/ activities.

About 5.00pm on 4 September 1999, all UNAMET staff moved in convoy to the local Indonesian police compound in Manatuto because Indonesian security forces would not continue to protect the DHQ. That night, I was advised by a reliable source that the Indonesian police were preparing to withdraw from East Timor, with the first elements leaving Manatuto at midnight.

At 9.44am Tuesday 7 September 1999 (refer to radio log), a member of the local militia entered the front door of DHQ armed with an M16 assault rifle which he pointed at the UNAMET staff (30-40 persons present) before leaving.

When armed Indonesian soldiers attempted to move the 30-40 East Timorese local staff away from the airport apron, AFP members formed a human barrier to stop our local being driven away and to prevent any physical harm befalling them. The following morning, upon returning to my own residence about 7.00am, I was warned by my landlord (a local village chief) not to return to the DHQ. He said that local militia was being reinforced from Dili to attack the DHQ that afternoon. This threat was also confirmed by a reliable source within the Indonesian police. About 4.00pm on Sunday 5 September 1999, after consultation with UNHQ regarding this threat and the withdrawal of Indonesian police, all UNAMET staff in Manatuto evacuated to Baucau Regional HQ to avoid the potential militia attack upon the DHQ. About 9.40am Tuesday 7 September 1999, militia activity intensified in Baucau with widespread shooting incidents targeting the Baucau Regional HQ and UNAMET residences. I was in the CIVPOL House with about 40 UNAMET staff, international observers and media when the premises came under a sustained gunfire attack. F/Agent Dave BACHI and a Filipino police officer manned an observation post in an exposed position on the terrace roof CIVPOL House, to report on the movements of militia elements who were shooting up Baucau. High velocity bullets impacted with the walls and roof near this position, fragmenting and ricocheting overhead.

The gunfire continued unabated and about 10.20am the DHQ came under direct attack with high velocity 7.62mm bullets being fired through the large external windows (covered by plywood screens) into the area where Constable Greg CORIN was on duty as the Communications Officer. I recall a radio message to “Baucau Base” being answered by Constable Greg CORIN with: “Standby, I’m a bit busy at the moment, they are shooting into my office and I am under the desk…” later, I counted 11 bullet holes inside the RHQ. It should be noted that the evacuating UNAMET staff from Los Palos District were due to arrive at Baucau DHQ at 9.30pm this morning which coincided with the time of local militia activity / attack. The Los Palos group was instructed to go straight to the military airport outside BAUCAU where a C130 transport aircraft was expected to arrive at midday to evacuate 65 UNAMET staff (in a partial evacuation). Later, about 10.38am (refer to radio log) the gunfire ceased and Baucau returned to a near normal state with local people moving about. However, there were isolated shooting incidents. At this time, it was decided to make a full evacuation of all UNAMET staff due to the continuing active ‘high threat level’ from the local militia. Between 1130am and 1.15pm on 7 September 1999, three UNAMET convoys moved all UNAMET international and local staff to the Baucau Airport where an Australian Defence Force C-130 transport was standing by. The Indonesian military refused to allow the evacuation of East Timorese local staff employed by UNAMET. When armed Indonesian soldiers attempted to move the 30-40 East Timorese local staff away from the airport apron, AFP members formed a human barrier to stop our local being driven away and to prevent any physical harm befalling them. AFP members refused to board the ADF C-130 until a UNAMET helicopter was made available to fly the East Timorese local staff away to a place of safety. After much heated discussion, a UN flight helicopter


True Blue December 2019

(super puma) was provided for the local staff. AFP members then boarded the ADF C-130 to be evacuated to Darwin.

This intervention was reported to Dili on 29 June after the attack on the compound and a copy of that report is available.

This is a true and accurate account of this matter to the best of my recollection in the absence of full documentary evidence. All records were lost with the subsequent destruction of Manatuto DHQ and Baucau RHQ along with 85-90% of the local infrastructure following the forced evacuation of UNAMET.

On 29 June the UNAMET office in Maliana was attacked by about 100 members of the militia. The militia wearing red and white headbands and kerchiefs, wielding traditional weapons and sticks were observed by Sergeants Craig MANN and Brendan WITHERS charging towards the front gates of the compound shouting menacingly. At the time the front gates of the compound were closed and defended by six members of Polri who after seeing the group approaching fled.


From the time UNAMET arrived in Maliana on 26 June 1999 it was apparent that the UN mission was to encounter serious problems. Maliana is the provincial capital of Bobonaro District and is situated on the border with West Timor. It is considered to be the heartland of the pro-Jakarta movement. Other villages within the District include Batugade, Atabi, Lolotoi, Kailako, and Balibo, all of which had active militias. Balibo was a militia stronghold and is the location where, in 1975, 5 Australian journalists were murdered by pro Jakarta elements. 28 June 1999. About 9pm information was received by Peter BARTU that the militia had gathered near the roundabout in Maliana near UN HQ. The militia intended to attack a group of houses situated behind a subsidiary police station. Sgt Brendan Withers, Supt HUTSON and BARTU attended the scene driving slowly through a crowd of about 60 militia who were bearing machetes and swords and dressed in red and white scarves. The militia were assembled about 30 metres from a group of houses. Outside the houses were about a dozen old persons and children carrying clubs. All these persons were shaking with fear. The group stated that they were about to be attacked by the armed militia because they were from Memo village, which was proindependence. The UN vehicle remained with the group separating them from the Militia. Only after the militia had begun to disperse assistance was sought from Polri Headquarters. After lengthy discussion with Polri they finally agreed to attend the scene. By the time Polri attended the main group of Militia had dispersed. Polri were further advised that the militia had planned a simultaneous attack on Memo village and that reinforcements were required to be sent there immediately. As a result of the intervention and standoff by the UN personnel the planned attack on the houses in Maliana and Memo village was prevented. The militia were intent on violence and behaved threateningly throughout.


Sergeants MANN and WITHERS withdrew from their position near the front of the building and attempted to secure a pedestrian doorway located next to the front gates. As they did this a group of about forty East Timorese who had been sitting near the entrance of the compound rushed into the complex in order to seek protection. Sergeants MANN and WITHERS together with other UN personnel, ABC journalists and the East Timorese refuge seekers moved towards the rear of the compound fearing they would be over run. At the same time a barrage of fist sized rocks discharged from outside the compound and began to fall within the compound occasioning a number of injuries. As the Maliana office had no functioning communications Sergeant WITHERS was dispatched to seek assistance from Polri Headquarters located about 400 meters away. Sergeant WITHERS climbed the wall on the southern side of the compound and jumped 18 feet to the ground. A number of East Timorese also climbed the wall and followed him to safety. Sergeant WITHERS then made his way to the police station carefully avoiding the mob who were still attacking the complex. Sergeant MANN remained with the compound and working as a team with the Regional Security Co-ordinator, Mr Richard MITCHELSON, provided clear dynamic instructions to those remaining. The first barrage of rocks lasted for about 3 minutes after which there was a pause. During this time an evacuation plan was being quickly formulated by Sergeant MANN and Mr MITCHELSON but another barrage of rocks commenced from both the southern and eastern sides of the compound. During this second barrage Sergeant MANN and Mr MITCHELSON through clear and concise commands directed the personnel within the compound to places of safety. During the second barrage further injuries were sustained by a number of East Timorese. At the conclusion of the second barrage both Sergeant MANN and Mr MITCHELSON directed UN

True Blue December 2019

Convoy lined up outside the Emera Polri HQ before evacuation to Dili (“Emera Turtles”).

personnel and others to areas within the compound where they could be accounted for and treated for injuries if necessary. Sergeant MANN administered first aid to the injured East Timorese and applied field dressings to those with open wounds. Sergeant MANN moved methodically through the group of injured assessing the seriousness of their wounds and treating them accordingly. Other UN volunteers assisted in this process, but sergeant MANN was the only person present with a medical kit on his person. Sergeant MANN was also responsible for liaison with the Indonesian Police who attended the compound after the attack had ceased. Sergeant MANN explained to the police the requirement for police reinforcements to help secure the premises. The initiative, resourcefulness and actions of Sergeants MAN and WITHERS in the face of such overwhelming odds are a true reflection of their courage and professionalism. The leadership and control displayed by these officers under such difficult circumstances reduced the number of casualties and most probably averted a tragedy. After this attack all non-essential UN staff and locally engaged personnel were evacuated to Dili.

A unanimous decision was taken by the 4 UNCIVPOL members to remain in Maliana to ensure the UN presence and to demonstrate to the militia that it was our intention to carry out the UNAMET mandate. This decision was taken despite direct threats and intimidation by the militia leaders. From this time the activities of the militia escalated with daily reports of murders, arson, assault and a variety of other crimes In early July both Sergeant MANN and Sergeant WITHERS had departed Maliana to be replaced by Sergeant David SAVAGE. Sergeant SAVAGE commenced a comprehensive recognisance of the District and was instrumental in providing intelligence assessments of militia activities in some of the more remote locations. On 6 July Sergeant SAVAGE, in company with a UN volunteer and a locally engaged staff member, were ambushed by armed militia near the border with Ermera District. Sergeant SAVAGE took control of the situation and through clear instructions managed to evade the militia who had begun to chase the UN vehicle. Subsequent intelligence reports from reliable sources confirmed that it was the intention of the militia to stop the UN vehicle and kill the locally engaged staff member in order to send a message to the UN.


True Blue December 2019

Sergeant SAVAGE performed a pivotal role in Maliana being amongst the few UNCIVPOL that possessed all the skills required for such a deployment. Sergeant SAVAGE had the unenviable duty of investigating reports of atrocities and consequently was involved in the discovery of badly decomposed and mutilated bodies. Sergeant SAVAGE remained at the crime scenes to provide advice to the Indonesian police and assisted with the removal of the bodies for autopsy. As part of his duties Sergeant SAVAGE was required to respond to reports of militia activities throughout the District. On numerous occasions through the intercession of Sergeant SAVAGE the militia were prevented from carrying out their threats to burn villages or to assault the local people. I have been present with Sergeant SAVAGE on numerous occasions when the militia has besieged our living quarters and UN compound in Maliana. Despite continuous automatic gunfire over extensive periods of time Sergeant SAVAGE remained calm and in control. In order to protect the local East Timorese who formed part of the household Sergeant SAVAGE remained with them in order to protect them. The only weapons of self-defence accessible were wooden clubs that had been fashioned for us by the locally engaged staff at the UN compound or traditional hunting spears. Despite numerous opportunities to evacuate Maliana after serious incidents Sergeant SAVAGE along with the other UNCIVPOL personnel remained resolute in their decision to stay in order to ensure that the “consultation” went ahead and for the protection of the locally engaged staff. If the UN had evacuated Maliana prior to the “consultation” going ahead the effect would have been catastrophic to the entire process. After the “consultation” the militia and the TNI commenced the systematic destruction of the District. In Maliana locally engaged staff were murdered in front of the UN compound and every building associated with persons considered proindependence or who had supported the UN was looted and burnt. The destruction took place with no regard to the fact that the UN was observing the whole process. Despite the level of violence and the obvious threat to their own lives UNCIVPOL members still refused to evacuate. It was only after the withdrawal of Polri and an agreement that our remaining locally engaged staff would be able to retreat to Dili with us that the decision was taken to pull out. After reaching DILI it was apparent that the situation was deteriorating with shooting in the street,


buildings burning, and the Dili compound being besieged. In the evening of 5 September many hundreds of refugees, in a state of panic as a result of indiscriminate gunfire aimed at their campsite, stormed into the UN compound to seek protection. The refugees crawled across razor wire in an attempt to reach safety. I was present when Sergeant SAVAGE took a lead role in directing the refugees through a gateway into the UN compound. At the time there was complete pandemonium with petrified refugees.


UNAMET deployed to Liquica (about 30km West of Dili) in June 1999. The town was immediately found to be under the control of the TNI using the proxy of the Besi Merah Putih (BMP) militia group. From the arrival of UNAMET there were repeated, daily threats made that if any Australians were sent to Liquica they would be killed immediately. Further the Indonesian police (POLRI) on several occasions stated to UNAMET staff that they could not guarantee the safety of any Australians, although other nationalities with the UN had nothing to worry about. On 2 July 1999 two AFP officers, the undersigned and Keith Randall were posted to Liquica. A number of violent incidents immediately followed, including attacks/intimidation of UN and local staff. On 3 July 1999 the undersigned was in a UN vehicle with a NZ CIVPOL officer, Sgt Steve Wills when about 30 BMP armed with rocks, machete’s and improvised firearms attacked causing major damage to the vehicle. No person was injured at this time. On 4 July the BMP launched a major operation against UNAMET. An NGO convoy was ambushed in the town of Liquica with hostages taken and several casualties. The undersigned moved to intervene with 4 well armed POLRI at which time they refused to take any action. The militia then attacked at various points throughout town. The undersigned, in company with the CIVPOL commander, Ray SUTTON was separated from the other CIVPOL when attacked by a group of about 40 BMP when attempting to R/V with a UN helicopter. One vehicle was lost, and escape was affected via helicopter. Radio communications were maintained with the other CIVPOL which included Keith Randall. During the subsequent road evacuation Randall and the other CIVPOL kept UN local staff in their vehicles thereby saving their lives at significant personal risk. Numerous firearms were discharged, and machetes

True Blue December 2019

were used to open vehicle doors. No local staff were captured by the BMP and all UN staff were safely evacuated by road. Supt Ray Sutton, in subsequent official correspondence to Dili HQ wrote; “…the two Australian Federal Police officers who have been posted to Liquica are professional and capable police officers who performed commendably in the face of some very serious violence during some attacks…I was concerned to note that the day following the arrival of the Australian officers attacks on CIVPOL and UNAMET staff began in Liquica” Following these incidents, the UN civilian staff refused to return to Liquica. CIVPOL deployed back to Liquica and a number of relatively minor incidents occurred, and threats and intimidation continued on a daily basis. Intimidation usually took the form of verbal abuse, brandishing machetes or pointing firearms.

At this time about three improvised weapons were discharged without injury to myself. I turned to face the militia and saw that they appeared affected by either drugs or alcohol. One militia man was firing a 9mm automatic pistol without aiming. The registration of voters and popular consultation was conducted without major incident. Staffing was at time reduced by the incidence of Malaria and other factors. 40% of the CIVPOL present contracted malaria on at least one occasion. S/Sgt Randall contracted malaria and refused to be evacuated, electing, despite the absence of medical facility, to continue working. There were no communications with Dili (aside from Satellite telephone) for the majority of this time. In late August a further Australian police officer, S/Sgt Sharon McCarthy was posted to Liquica. The day prior to the result being announced (3 September 1999) the POLRI and TNI commander’s attended the UNAMET office in Liquica and told the Military Liaison officers (Lt Col Reske) that the Indonesians would not guarantee the safety of UNAMET following the announcement of the result. By this stage, this was realised to be a threat of impending violence. This was communicated to Dili and the orders were returned to remain in Liquica as long as possible.

On 4 September 1999 the POLRI LO (Capt Suhendro) had a conversation with UK CIVPOL officer, Sgt Nick Foster. Foster was told that the Australian CIVPOL would be killed on 4 September. On 4 September the announcement of the result was made at 9:15am. The undersigned was performing duties as Operations Officer on this day. HF email and VHF voice communications were maintained with UNAMET HQ (S/Sgt Ferry was on duty in the Joint Operations Co-ordination Centre on this day). Following the announcement, a general movement of people began toward West Timor, organised by the TNI. A large number of fires were seen in Liquica throughout the day and periodic bursts of automatic weapon fire were heard throughout town. Hourly situation reports were sent to UNAMET HQ. Despite the “security” of about 30 POLRI, a militia attack commenced on the UNAMET compound in Liquica about 3:30pm. A coffee truck with about 30 BMP blocked the driveway and rocks were thrown into the compound. The POLRI participated in the attack, opening fire with automatic weapons immediately prior to the militia entering the compound. An evacuation was commenced. I saw the CIVPOL members and MLO’s move past the Operations room toward the vehicles. I sent an urgent sitrep to HQ and saw militia moving past the operations room. I then disabled the radio and moved outside. At this time about three improvised weapons were discharged without injury to myself. I turned to face the militia and saw that they appeared affected by either drugs or alcohol. One militia man was firing a 9mm automatic pistol without aiming. I saw the first of the UN vehicles moving through a pre-arranged escape route via a gap in the fence at the rear of the compound. The militia then moved back outside, and a heavier caliber automatic weapon commenced firing in the vicinity of the driveway. I jumped down to the vehicle park area and saw Randall moving his vehicle in an orderly fashion through the fence. I saw McCarthy had made her way to our vehicle and was sitting in the passenger seat waiting for me. I got into this vehicle and followed the other vehicles out of the compound. A large amount of automatic weapon fire was being directed into the air. Rocks and some occasional small arms fire were directed at our vehicles as we departed. On moving past the TNI HQ in Liquica an explosive device (possibly a grenade) exploded adjacent to the side of my vehicle next to McCarthy. Fragments came through the vehicle and a tire was blown out. Some glass/metal hit McCarthy in the arm without serious damage. McCarthy remained calm at all times and held a shovel against her window


True Blue December 2019

to provide additional protection from rounds and other projectiles. At the same time an assault rifle was giving enfilade fire down the road we were on. Several rounds came through the front of my vehicle, one passing through a bag at McCarthy’s feet. I later became aware that this burst resulted in US CIVPOL officer Earl Candler being wounded with two 7.62 rounds in the stomach. Candler was travelling in a vehicle ahead of mine. (Candler has a very similar appearance to the author of this report and was frequently mistaken for another Australian officer because of this). The convoy passed through two further ambushes without further casualties and refuge was taken at the POLRI station. Emergency first aid was given to Candler and I saw McCarthy stop the bleeding and generally assist. Candler was exceptionally calm, especially given his wounds and the situation. Helicopter evacuation was arranged though HQ and a tense standoff occurred between the Militia and UNAMET. BMP members came into the POLRI station but appear to get orders to scale their attacks down as an American had been shot. Ultimately, we reached the relative safety of Dili where, I would anticipate other AFP officers will comment on events prior to our evacuation to Darwin.


Supt Hazel, Stn Sgt Paul Morris, Snr Sgts Don Barnby and Peter Watt. After the close of my Polling Station at Ermera village, we returned to Gleno HQ building with the polling team from Poetete village, which included a NZ Police officer – Wayne Corbett. I, along with Paul Morris, Peter Watt and two NZ police were tasked to attend the Gleno Polling station where earlier that day the Militia had stoned the Polling site, injuring a DEO. They were intimidating the remaining few voters and local staff that were still in the vicinity. The Militia leader threatened me with a sword, and finally vented his frustration at the CIVPOL groups by throwing a chair at me. The remaining local staff and voters left the area and we (CIVPOL) returned to Gleno HQ. At approximately 8.30pm that evening, the majority of the locally employed staff (numbering around 190 people) were sleeping and talking in the grounds of the building when the Militia attacked, throwing rocks and shooting weapons. The local staff understandably panicked and rushed inside the building through the single front door, and seven


police ran outside and formed a cordon around he HQ. They included the above AFP members and 2 NZ Police and 2 US Police officers. Throughout the night the Militia continued to burn buildings in the vicinity and automatic gunfire could be heard. A picket was organised by the above members for the duration of that night, guarding the people inside the building and the ballot boxes. At approximately 3am, I heard the voice of my Electoral officer, Sandra Chestnutt on the Radio. Apparently 8-10 DEO’s were in their accommodation which was approx 150-200 metres from the HQ office. Militia activity was intensifying during the night – and they were concerned for their safety. I took Rob Mills (NZPol) and Randy Martinak (USPOL) and we made our way to their location – gave them an updated Sitrep and took names of all DEO’s that were in their accommodation and shortly thereafter, returned to the HQ building. Militia activity had increased, and we had to dodge several Militia patrols on the way back to HQ.


Supt Geoff Hazel, Stn Sgt Paul Morris, Snr Sgt’s Don Barnby, and Peter Watt. Incident witnessed by DEO’s Sandra Chestnutt (AUST) and Inge Borg (Germany). This incident occurred while attempting to transport ballot boxes from Ermera Region to Dili for counting. 60 boxes and 58 bags. All UN CIVPOL were involved in the operation, however seven (7) held their ground and confronted armed militia and refused to give up the ballot boxes. Eight UN Landrovers were lined up on the bank of a dry riverbed (our secondary LZ) waiting for the arrival of the UN helicopter. When the helicopter landed members of the militia entered the riverbed armed with traditional and automatic weapons and proceeded of fire at the chopper and the UN CIVPOL. The ballot boxes were staked on the edge of the riverbed waiting to be loaded on the chopper. The chopper took rounds and lifted off leaving two members (DEO and Rob Walker UK Police) on the ground the above-named police. One of the ballot boxes split and the aforementioned police managed to recover all accept two ballots while being shot at and stoned by Militia. Supt Hazel walked out into the middle of 20-30-armed militia and attempted to negotiate with them while they were firing weapons indiscriminately around him and the remaining 6 officers guarding the boxes. All 60 boxes were recovered and returned to Ermera HQ. A short time later still under threat of further militia attacks the

True Blue December 2019

L-R Geoff Hazel, UN Helicopter Pilot, Don Barnby, Paul McEwan and US Civpol officer with UN Helicopter in background.

same police managed to load the helicopter at the primary LZ and transport the ballot boxes to Dili Members Hazel/Morris/Barnby/Watt (Aust) France/ Martinak (USA) Corbett (NZ) physically guarded approximately 100 locally employed staff and civilians throughout the day and refused to hand these people over to the militia. Throughout the day the militia rampaged through Gleno destroying houses and shooting discriminately. Continuous threats throughout the day against UN Police and local staff. 5.40pm Morris/Barnby/Watt/Martinak escorted 17 vehicles and 160 people to Dili through numerous Militia roadblocks, always associated with Militia threatening and waving weapons at us. Throughout this whole episode which began at 11am and was finally concluded at 5.40 pm with the departure of the convoy for Dili Supt Geoff Hazel held negotiations with POLRI, TNI and Militia leaders to obtain the necessary assurances and clearances for the convoy to proceed safely.

Between 2/9/99 and 6/9/99 members Hazel, Morris, Hunter, Swan, Barnby, Tanti, Knoth and Watt (Australian Police) were in a siege situation in the village of Gleno. Members of the Aitarek militia had threatened to kill any Australians. On 5/9/99 regardless of the threats and damaged caused by the militia members Morris/Barnby/Swan went on a mobile patrol in an effort to reach the old village of Ermera to provide a Sitrep. The patrol was aborted 1 km short of the village because of the situation worsening. Throughout the entire 3 month period of our deployment to the Ermera Region, the AFP members mentioned, under the superb leadership of Supt Geoff Hazel performed their duties in an exemplary and courageous manner in an environment that deteriorated to the “siege situation� during the last few days following the ballot.

D Barnby


True Blue December 2019

A Political Response Prior to the last Federal Election, UNOPAA submitted a position paper to the political parties and received a response from the Liberal Party which stated that, if re-elected, the Morrison Government would “work closely with the UNOPAA on legislative improvements and other activities (such as a Health Audit) that may be necessary to more, appropriately recognise and support police who have returned from overseas operations and their families”.

After the election, we wrote to the Minister for Veterans Affairs requesting the steps that would now be taken to address this commitment. On 22 September 2019, we received a reply. It ignores the commitment, goes over old ground and says nothing new. UNOPAA will continue its efforts to have the Minister and the government seriously consider our concerns, and to improve the health and welfare of our members.

The Hon Darren Chester MP Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel MC19-002128

Mr Peter McDonald APM National Secretary United Nations & Overseas Policing Association of Australia Dear Mr McDonald Thank you for your correspondence of 10 June 2019 regarding improper use of Australian Honours and legislative amendments to provide recognition and support for police members on overseas operations. I note you also wrote to the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, regarding these matters. I welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with you. The Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General administers the Australian Honours and Awards system. I have forwarded your correspondence to that office for response on this particular issue. You may wish to note the Defence Act 1903 (Cth) contains a similar offence relating to the improper use of service decorations. As you are aware, some members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and seconded state police force officers, are eligible for entitlements from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for service overseas on peacekeeping and other deployments. Police members who have served with certain Peacekeeping Forces are eligible under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) for compensation and treatment entitlements relating to any injury or illness caused by their service with the Peacekeeping Force. VEA compensation coverage effectively ceased for most service on 1 July 2004 due to the enactment of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA), which aimed to provide tailored entitlements and benefits to the Defence community. Although some limited coverage was extended after this date for existing peacekeeping operations (including a new declaration for peacekeeping in Sudan), it is not generally considered appropriate to extend any eligibility to the VEA after 1 July 2004 given this legislation is now closed to Defence members.


True Blue December 2019

The MRCA, which covers Australian Defence Force service from 1 July 2004 onwards, explicitly does not apply to the police service on peacekeeping operations. Members of the AFP who have served overseas on operations which are not covered under the VEA can be compensated for any injuries or illnesses arising from that service under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA), with additional ‘top-up’ provisions for declared hazardous service under the AFP Commissioner’s directives. I would note the decision to extend VEA coverage to members in Sudan occurred prior to these additional provisions being made. Under recommendation 27.1 of the Review of Military Compensation Arrangements Report of March 2011, the Steering Committee re-affirmed AFP members should not be given access to the MRCA. The Government accepted this recommendation, noting “it is not appropriate to provide access to [police] members to a scheme that has been designed to provide for the unique nature of military service.” I understand it is challenging that members of the AFP conducting similar duties on different operations can receive varying compensation coverage, depending on which legislative act is relevant to their mission. I would recommend also seeking guidance from the AFP Commissioner and Minister for Employment regarding the potential for legislative change to the SRCA, and how changes could ensure appropriate support and recognition is provided to police members on overseas operations. I would also like to take the opportunity to inform you the Productivity Commission (the Commission) has recently undertaken an Inquiry into Veterans’ Affairs’ Legislative Framework and Supporting Architecture for Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans (Serving and Ex-serving Australian Defence Force Members). The Commission has reviewed the effectiveness of the legislative framework for compensation and rehabilitation, and considered the interplay between the various pieces of legislation. Given the Inquiry’s final report was submitted to the Australian Government on 27 June 2019 (publicly released on 4 July 2019), the Government will now consider the Commission’s recommendations and provide a formal response to the report. In this context, it will be important that any future legislative change takes the Government response to the Commission’s report into account and that significant legislative change not pre-empt the Government’s response. Thank you for taking the time to write. Your sincerely

Darren Chester

Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Telephone: 02 6277 7820 Email:


True Blue December 2019

Rededication of Memorial to Sergeant Ian Ward On 12 November members from the AFP, NSW Police and the United Nations Force In Cyprus gathered in Sector 1 to rededicate the memorial to Sgt Ian Ward. Some time ago the Memorial that had been placed near the site had been moved to allow for a significant upgrade of the UN Road to enable a vehicle crossing point between the North and South. This meant that the Memorial had to be stored and then with the assistance of the UN Engineers from the Slovakian Contingent a new site was created just 400 metres from the original site. The Australian High Commissioner to Cyprus Mr Sam Beever was the driving force behind the relocation of the memorial. Contact was made with the AFP and Sgt Wards’ two sisters Barbara Teaken and Rosemary Bond were in turn contacted by the AFP Ceremonial Branch and invited to attend the rededication. The AFP coordinated and financed the rebuilding of the Memorial and also assisted Sgt Ward’s two sisters with travel costs.

The Rededicated Plaque to Sgt Ian Ward.

At the exact hour on the exact day 45 years after the tragic events that killed Sgt Ian Ward and a Turkish Cypriot refugee and injured 5 others including another NSW Police member the service was conducted in Sector One, now the home of the Argentinian Contingent. A small but well represented group gathered to remember Sgt Ward. This Included the Australian High Commissioner to Cyprus, Mr Sam Beever, the UNFICYP Force Commander Australian Major General Cheryl Pearce AM, Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy APM of the NSW Police and his wife Patricia. Sgt Wards sisters Barbara and Rosemary, Commander Jennifer Hurst from the AFP, Inspector Jim Illfield (Retired) from the NSW Police who replaced Sgt Ward after his tragic death, Superintendent Colin Speedie (Retired), Superintendent Mark Kennedy from AFP International Operations and a small number of other invited guests. After a short formal service conducted by the UNFICYP Padre Jim Chadwick wreaths were laid. The party then returned to Nicosia and attended a reception hosted by the Australian High Commissioner.


The Australian High Commissioner to Cyprus (HE Mr Sam Beever) addresses those present.

The Australian High Commissioner to Cyprus (HE Mr Sam Beever) lays a wreath at the memorial Rededication.

True Blue December 2019

AFP Sergeant Paul Beath, AFP Superintendent Mark Kennedy (International Operations), AFP Commander Jennifer Hurst APM (Manager Europe, Middle East and Africa) Barbara and Rosemary, Superintendent Mick Travers APM (OIC AFP Ceremonial and National President UNOPAA) and NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy APM.

Barbara Teaken and Rosemary Bond (Sgt Ian Ward’s sisters) lay a wreath at the rededicated memorial.

The Argentinean UN Military personnel (who assisted as flag bearers) with UNFICYP Force Commander Major General Cheryl Pearce AM.

Australian High Commissioner to Cyprus (HE Mr Sam Beever), UNFICYP Force Commander (Major General Cheryl Pearce AM) and NSW Police Deputy Commissioner(Jeff Loy APM) with Barbara and Rosemary.

AFP Superintendent Colin Speedie (Retired) and NSW Police Inspector Jim Illfield (Retired) lay a wreath at the rededicated Memorial on behalf of the UNOPAA.


True Blue December 2019

Past UNOPAA President, Denis Percy, is returned to the town he grew up in and loved The following article has been written by Alex Percy, wife of Denis Percy. Following on from the Caloundra Reunion, Alex, family, friends and several UNOPAA members travelled to Bangalow, Qld, to inter Denis’s ashes next to his mother. FROM ALEXANDRA PERCY Denis Percy, past National President of UNOPAA, was born in Bangalow N.S.W in 1944. Bangalow is a pretty country town North of NSW and has now become a very trendy town live in. Denis was born the youngest of 10 children, seven girls and three boys. Denis’s father died when he was only 2yrs. old so he had a poor upbringing, raised by his older siblings and widowed mother. A very determined young man, he left Bangalow to live and work in the big smoke (Sydney) where he worked for the post office and other menial tasks


True Blue December 2019

for a short while until he was old enough to join the Police Force, following in the footsteps of his older brother Gerry Percy. Denis held a long career within the NSW Police Force which included serving 18 months with the United Nations Police Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus. His passions were many, the Police Force, United Nations Peacekeeping Organization, his family, friends, life and travel being amongst the most important. He was an intelligent, articulate man, the life at a party, always striving to improve himself and assist others where possible. An amazing historian, he never ceased to amaze me with his knowledge of various Wars and the Political situations around the world. After retirement, he was still connected with the Police by editing TRUE BLUE and becoming National President of the UNOPAA for a long period. His bond within the Cypriot Community in Sydney was strong and he was well liked and respected by the Executive Committee and members alike.

Unfortunately, after retirement his health suffered, which saw Denis in hospital on many occasions. Sadly, on March 5th, 2018, he passed away after suffering a heart attack at home and being taken to the Royal North Shore Hospital. With the numerous issues affecting him, his body simply began to shut down. His wish was to be buried in his beloved Bangalow next to his adoring mother. On November 28th, 2019 this wish was granted with his Ashes being interned at the Bangalow Cemetery, next to his mother. Our children Natalie and Grant, myself and approximately 30 loving colleagues, friends and a few family members where present to send him off to his new resting place, Blessed by the compassionate Father David Gilbey, Catholic Priest for that region. Deny is now at peace, along with family members who died before him and many loving friends. A short story which is deserved of more.

By Alexandra Percy


Vale It is with regret that we advise of the passing of the following:

HAROLD DARWEN A Northern Territory member of the 6th Contingent to Cyprus (1969-70). Harold passed away on 15 August 2019, aged 84 years.  His funeral was be held on Tuesday, 20 August 2019, at Woongarra Crematorium Chapel, Bruce Highway, Julago (Townsville). Our thanks also to the NT Retired Police Association for this advice.

DESMOND JAMES (DES) SHEEHAN A Queensland Police member of the 1st Contingent to Cyprus (1964-65).

CHRISTOPHER JOHN BYRNE An AFP member who served in East Timor in 2000. Christopher (Chris) passed away on 2 November 2019 aged 62 years.

TEREZIJA (TERRI) MARIC An AFP member who served in Cyprus and East Timor. Terri passed away from cancer in November 2019. Her funeral was held at 12 noon on Friday, 15 November 2019, at St. Pius X Catholic Church, Golda Avenue, Salisbury Qld.

Des passed away on Monday, 9 September 2019. Advice of his passing was received via Doc Gillespie from the Queensland Retired Police Association.

IVY WRIGHT Tthe widow of Mick Wright, a WA member of the 1st Contingent to Cyprus (1964-65). Ivy passed away in Gosnells, WA (a suburb of Perth) in January 2019 and her funeral was held in Cannington on 14 January 2019. She was a longstanding supporter of UNOPAA.

DAVID BOSTON An AFP member who saw service in Cyprus, East Timor and Solomon Islands IPMT.

CORRECTION: In the last issue of True Blue, I advised of the passing of Lee Haddon and reported that Lee had been seriously ill for some time. We have been advised that Lee ‘s passing was quite unexpected and that he had been ill for only a short period. Indeed, only weeks before he passed away, Lee was at his grandson’s birthday function in good health. I apologise to Lee’s family and Trudy for the incorrect reporting in True Blue. As Editor, I rely heavily on the information that is passed on to me. Unfortunately, in this instance, the information I received wasn’t as robust as it could have been.

Rod Walker

David passed away on 13 September aged 55 years.

The UNOPAA National Executive, our National Committee and all members of UNOPAA, express our sympathy to families and friends of the above.



Membership Renewal or Application Your annual UNOPAA membership subscription is $20.00. Please complete this form and return with your subscription to address at the bottom of this form.

Surname or Family Name Given Name/s Preferred Name Private Address (No. & Street) (Suburb or Town) (State)


Spouse/Partner’s Name Phone (Home or Mobile)


Email Address Current or former Police Organisation (please tick)









Currently serving

Service Status


(specify below)

Former or retired


United Nations or Overseas Policing Service UN Mission/Country of Policing Service (eg: UNFICYP-Cyprus, UNMIT/TLPDP-Timor Leste, RAMSI, Afghanistan, etc)


Contingent Number/s

Military Service (eg: RAAF, Corps, Regiment, Wing, Ship etc)

Membership Fees

for Serving Members, Former or Retired,

$20.00 or Associate Cheque

Payment Type

Do you require a receipt?




Money Order


EFTPOS - Account Name: UNOPAA BSB: 815-000 Account No: 229831

Direct debit (form attached)

All payments MUST be made in Australian Dollars. Make cheques payable to UNOPAA. Do NOT send cash.

Please send this Application Form and remittance to: UNOPAA c/- Peter McDonald, National Secretary PO Box 253, East Keilor, VIC, 3033 Phone: (03) 9337 4736 Mobile: 0418 131 352 Email:

Official Use Only

Membership updated on: By:

True Blue December 2019




UNOPAA Tie – Blue with Light Blue Logo


UNOPAA Cuff Links





UNOPAA Lapel Pins Round


UNOPAA Flag/ANF Lapel Pins


UNOPAA/ANF Challenge Coin




Please note – GST, postage and handling included

Cuff Links


CHEQUE OR MONEY ORDER Send cheque or money order in mail, payable to “UNOPAA”, and this form completed with your order to PO Box 7099, KARABAR NSW 2620 DIRECT CREDIT - INTERNET TRANSFER Account: UNOPAA Merchandise S2 BSB: 815000 Account: 100343942 Reference: <your last name> and ‘MRCHDS’ in the reference field Then e-mail details of the transaction including your reference number and a copy of this completed form to Title (Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr, Rank)


First Name


Last Name






Post/Zip Code

The United Nations & Overseas Police Association of Australia (UNOPAA) will accept returned products/ merchandise where: • The product is faulty, or not fit for purpose, or the product does not match the sample or description. Proof of purchase (UNOPAA merchandise receipt) must be provided in order to: • Obtain a refund (by cheque) will be provided or re-issue alike article.


Lapel Pins Round

Flag/ANF Lapel Pins

ANF Challenge Coin IMPORTANT NOTES The UNOPAA will take the utmost care in packaging; however, we will not accept any responsibility for goods damaged in transit. The UNOPAA will not accept returns where the product or merchandise is ordered specifically for an individual (eg Montage, clothing, etc) All queries for return of merchandise must be received within 30 days from date of purchase and directed to the UNOPAA Merchandise officer @heldale.cooper@ Item returns will be at the discretion of the APPVA Merchandise Officer provided the above criterion is met in the first instance. Please choose carefully as UNOPAA cannot accept returns due to a change of mind.

True Blue December 2019

Donate now.

Will You? Will you have a Will when it counts? Do you have one now? Your Wills is an Australian first: a fast, hassle free online Will platform that allows you to create a simple, straightforward, legally binding Will online, anywhere, anytime in 9 easy steps. We’re here to help you make your dedication formal. To make it count. To do it your way. We don’t have to play a big role in your life, we just need a cameo, every now and then. Jump online today and complete your Will from $59.95* Use promotional code


at check out for 10% off.

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way!

Your Wills Your Way



* Terms and Conditions apply.

Profile for Countrywide Austral

True Blue December 2019  

The official journal of the United Nations & Overseas Policing Association of Australasia.

True Blue December 2019  

The official journal of the United Nations & Overseas Policing Association of Australasia.