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Since 1947 personnel of the defence forces of a number of nations have been used in a peacekeeping role. Australians who have taken part in Peacekeeping Forces include:
- Australian Defence Force members, and
- members of State, Territory and Federal police forces.
Australians employed by the United Nations organisation or private or other government welfare or philanthropic organisations during a peacekeeping period are not members of a Peacekeeping Force as they are not part of an Australian contingent.
Peacekeeping service is defined as service with a Peacekeeping Force outside Australia. It includes:
- Any period after appointment or allocation to the Peacekeeping Force during which the person travelled outside Australia to join the Peacekeeping Force.
- Up to 28 days of authorised travel outside Australia after the person ceased to serve with the Peacekeeping Force or left the area specified in the VEA, and applies to the journey from that area or duty to the next duty assignment or return to first port in Australia.
Under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 VEA, s68(1) and (3) a Peacekeeping Force needs to be:
- described in an item of Sched 3 of the VEA, or if part of a larger force
- an Australian contingent authorised or approved by the Australian Government.
Peacekeeping Forces exist from the date specified in Column 3 of Sched 3 of the VEA. Peacekeeping service ends once the member ceases to be a member of the Peacekeeping Force or the Peacekeeping Force ceases to exist. Specific Instruments from the Chief of the Defence Force are issued from time to time to confirm start dates for Australian involvement.
Who qualifies as a member of a Peacekeeping Force?
To qualify as a member of a Peacekeeping Force, a person needs to:
- have served as an Australian member of a Peacekeeping Force outside Australia; or
- have served as a member of the Australian contingent of a Peacekeeping Force.
Most claims are received from members of the Defence Force who have served as part of an Australian contingent or as Australian members of a smaller Peacekeeping Force. However, membership of a Peacekeeping Force for the purpose of the VEA is not restricted to members of the Defence Force, but includes Australian police personnel attached to Peacekeeping Forces.
Members of Territory, State and Federal police services have served with the Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus since 1964. Since then members of the Australian Federal Police, which has included members of State and Territory police services, have served with the UN in Cambodia, Haiti and Mozambique. Such persons are members of a Peacekeeping Force and eligible under the VEA for compensation.
However, Australians who were United Nations Organisation employees or the employees of a private or government welfare organisations during the time of a peacekeeping mission were not members of a Peacekeeping Force. They were neither part of an Australian contingent nor members of that Peacekeeping Force.