The Australian Federal Government’s decision to withhold information from journalists and researchers about its military service has prompted outrage and calls for transparency and accountability.
The Federal Government says it will release the names of Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen who have served overseas in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq.
But the Government says this information will only be made public if a journalist requests it, and if they have given the Australian Government’s name, age, gender and other details.
In response, ABC News has requested the full names of the soldiers, and other information about their service and the reason for the request.
In the course of our investigation, we were provided with a list of 10,000 Australians who have fought overseas, including some who have been in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The list includes those who have returned from military service in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as Australian troops who have also served overseas.
We were told the Government had identified and identified names of those who were willing to give their full names, but we were not provided with their full identities.
We have previously asked the Federal Government to disclose details of the names, ages, gender, and citizenship of the 10,918 Australian soldiers who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan, and the reasons for their deaths.
The Government has refused to provide us with any information on the circumstances of these deaths, or any other information we request about the Australian servicemen and women who have fallen in battle.
We also sought the names and dates of the deaths of three Australian soldiers killed while conducting a firefight against an Islamic State militant in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
We’ve previously asked for information about the circumstances surrounding the deaths and whether any Australians have died overseas, but the Government has not provided any information about these cases.
The ABC has also asked for a list, and requested the identity of those in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) who have perished in battle overseas, as a matter of urgency.
The Australian Government has told us it is not obliged to release any information to the ABC, but has told the ABC it is prepared to provide information to our investigation.