INQUIRY: Les Ray posted in Malaysia, 1974.
INQUIRY: Les Ray posted in Malaysia, 1974. Contributed

Mission inquiry push slowed while new minister is decided

AN IPSWICH veteran's fight to correct a "shameful betrayal” of his Malaysian deployment will be taken up when a new responsible minister is chosen.

Les Ray is calling for an inquiry into Rifle Company Butterworth's 1970s mission, which he describes as warlike but the government classes as a peacekeeping operation.

The existing Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Michael McCormack, is expected to assign the portfolio to another National Party member after he was elected Deputy Prime Minister on Monday.

Member for Blair Shayne Neumann passed the concerns of Mr Ray and his fellow servicemen, Bill Brown and Robert Cross, to Labor's spokeswoman for veterans affairs and defence personnel, Amanda Rishworth.

"I strongly support Messrs Ray, Cross and Brown's calls for an inquiry and would appreciate your advice and assistance,” Mr Neumann wrote.

Speaking to the QT, the Member for Blair said concerns would be taken to the government when a new minister responsible for veterans' affairs was selected.

That selection is expected to be made within days and would be the third veterans' affairs minister since December.

"There's dysfunction and disillusionment inside the government,” Mr Neumann said.

"We'll see what the government has to say on this.”

In 2014, Mr Ray petitioned the government to review the service of Rifle Company Butterworth between 1970 and 1989.

Mr Ray was left "deeply disappointed” by the Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert's response to the petition, declaring the parameters marking a warlike operation "are at odds with what any reasonable person would consider to be normal”.

Mr Neumann said Labor would write to the government once the person responsible for veterans affairs was named.