26 September 2009

Wounded soldiers deserve recognition

The decision by the government (via the Department of Defence) not to name 83 Diggers wounded in Afghanistan is a disgrace. So disgraceful is is that on Monday I will tender my resignation from the Defence Force.

Defence says it is acting in the interests of the soldiers: protecting their privacy. Well, that's the spin, isn't it?

The real reason for the cover-up is the government doesn't want the public to know about the injuries. There's an election due soon. It doesn't take a genius to know what the continual reporting of battle casualties will do for for Rudd's popularity.

As reported on today's front page of The Australian, this is at odds with the wishes of soldiers serving in Afghanistan. They want the public to know the truth. Their view is backed by former Chief of the Defence Force, Gen. Peter Cosgrove, and Lt. Col Dave Lewis, from the SAS Association.

I've spent 23 years in Army PR (for of them in the Regular Army) and served in East Timor in 2001. Sorry to say that ends on Monday.

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The PR Lab is a consultancy, specialising on research, reputation management, social media, media relations and the development of measurable strategies that produce results. It is run by Dr Greg Smith, a former journalist and PR professional. Greg worked on daily newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. He held senior PR positions in the Australian Defence Force, Sydney Olympics and national not-for-profits. He has also lectured in PR at Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia.