Honour Monash - A great Australian


In the News


 Anzac Day Service at Villers Bretonneux intervention sparks Monash calls  

The prime minister's decision to intervene in French Anzac Day services has reignited debate about offering Sir John Monash Australia's highest military rank. [SBS World News 26 February 2019]

Scott Morrison's decision to save Anzac Day dawn services in the French countryside has sparked fresh calls for prime ministerial intervention in another aspect of military history.

Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has seized on the swift captain's call to again urge Mr Morrison to posthumously promote World War I commander General Sir John Monash to the rank of field marshal.

"I strongly welcome the prompt decision of the prime minister to retain the dawn service at Villers Bretonneux," Mr Fischer told AAP on Monday evening.

"I seek from him an equally prompt decision to push through the John Monash bill in the last three days of sitting of this parliament.

"This bill provides for the long overdue posthumous promotion of John Monash to the rank of field marshal, as a gift from the prime minister and the parliament in the same way that Menzies promoted (Thomas) Blamey to field marshal in 1950."

Mr Fischer and other supporters of the campaign to promote Sir John Monash argue his contribution to the allied victory in World War I has not been sufficiently recognised.

Last year, they urged the coalition government to grant him the highest military rank, hoping the elevation would coincide with the opening of the Monash Centre at Villers Bretonneux.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten supported the campaign but then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull decided against the idea.

Military leaders past and present argued against the posthumous promotion, saying it would break with protocol.

The prime minister stepped in on Monday to stop the Villers-Bretonneux dawn service being moved to later in the morning.

The Department of Veterans' Affairs has been blamed for trying to shift the start time.

Veterans organisations are now questioning whether it should be organising such events at all.

James Brown, president of the NSW RSL, said the department should focus on making sure veterans receive the medical help they need.

"Asking them to also run a series of really important ceremonies all over the world, maybe that's too much," he told Sky News.

Mr Brown believes the Australian War Memorial would be a better organisation to run such services.

The dawn service has been held at the memorial near Villers-Bretonneux since 2008, the year which marked the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I.

 Cathy McGowan MP Moves the Monash Promomotion Bill in Parliament go to top of page

Cate McGowan AO, MP with Saluting Monash Council MembersMembers of the Saluting Monash Council travelled to Canberra on 22 October 2018 to support the Member for Indi Cathy McGowan AO MP as she presented a the Defence (Honour General Sir John Monash) Amendment Bill 2018. The Bill was seconded by Jane Prentice MP, Member for Ryan. A copy of the Bill can be downloaded  HERE .

The Saluting Monash Council all wearing their service medals and accompanied by their partners sat in the gallery with Senator Jim Molan, AO, DSC as Ms McGowan gave her eloquent address in support. A copy of the address can be downloaded  HERE .

The bill will now be debated in Parliament. It dissolves all opposition to the posthumous elevation of Australia's greatest soldier. The aim is for the title to be awarded on 11 November 2018. That is now achievable.

Saluting Monash Council Members and partners in Canberra Saluting Monash Council Members in Canberra
Saluting Monash Council Members with Partners and the Member for Indi in Canberra Saluting Monash Council Members with Partners and the Member for Indi in Canberra

 Dr Brendan Nelson Speaks About Australia and World War 1 go to top of page

Dr Brendan Nelson AO

On 20 Sep 2018, at 11:57 Dr Brendan Nelson gave an address to the National Press Club at the Australian War Memorial. His words resonate, they come from his many years as head of the Australian War Memorial paying tribute to the generation of our countrymen who wrote our nation's name large while enduring unconscionable privations in war and peace. His address encapsulates what it is to be an Australian and pays tribute to our greatest citizen. You can hear his speech below.

42 Minutes. Audio courtesy the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

OR you can view the video of his speech and the following questions below. The video is 1 hour 7 minutes; and again courtesy the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

 The Defence (Honour General Sir John Monash) Amendment Bill 2018 go to top of page

A significant, new initiative has occurred in the Saluting Monash Council's campaign to have General Sir John Monash promoted to the rank of Field Marshal namely The Defence (Honour General Sir John Monash) Amendment Bill 2018.

On Wednesday 8 August 2018, the Centenary of the Battle of Amiens, the Hon Tim Fischer AC announced the lodgement of The Defence (Honour General Sir John Monash) Amendment Bill 2018, the advent of which has been forwarded to the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Leader of the National Party, Speaker of the House, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Veteran Affairs, Minister for Defence and his local Member Cathy McGowan.

The Bill seeks to honour on behalf of the Australian people not only General Sir John Monash but all members of the AIF.

The Draft is available for  DOWNLOAD HERE

You will note that it is comprehensively drafted to preclude opening the floodgates to other promotions and also recommends the promotion be backdated to 1 January 1931 at which time General Sir John Monash was restored to the Active list, thus covering off what Prime Minister Menzies had to do to retrospectively promote General Sir Thomas Blamey to Field Marshal. Both were significant factors raised by opponents of the promotion of Sir John.

 The Sir John Monash Reflective Centre Opens go to top of page

In April 2018 the Sir John Monash Reflective Centre opend at Villers Bretonneux honouring the achievements of Australian soldiers and Monash as our and arguably the world's most effective field commander in World War 1.

 Tim Fischer in the Australian Jewish News Anzac Day 2018 go to top of page

 Tim Fischer in AJN 

 Tim Fischer on Channel 9 go to top of page

On 15 April 2018 Channel 9 carried this news item:

 Tim Fischer in Reveille go to top of page

The following article appeared in Reveille the RSL of NSW Journal Vol 91, No 1, March 2018 pages 28 and 29.

 Tim Fischer in Reveille 

 Tim Fischer in Reveille 

 Bill Shorten's Comment in Parliament (taken from Hansard)  

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong-Leader of the Opposition) (15:16) Wednesday 28 March 2018:
"On indulgence: the opposition wishes to associate itself with the remarks of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and notes that the Prime Minister will be attending the commemoration. I thank him for his invitation to the opposition to join him. Perhaps this House can consider at some point in the future whether or not it is now time for Sir John Monash, arguably Australia's greatest general, to receive recognition as field marshal."

 A Private Member's Statement in the Victorian Parliament go to top of page

David Southwick Private Members Statement

 A Private Member's Bill in the New South Wales Parliament go to top of page

9 March 2018, The Hon David Elliot BA, MA, MStJ, MP, Minister for Counter Terrorism, Minister for Corrections, and Minister for Veterans Affairs showed his support for the campaign to promote Monash in the most practical way possible. He raised a private members bill in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly:

David Elliot Private Members Bill

With the level of support on all sides of politics, the bill is sure to pass.

 The St George and Sutherland Shire leader go to top of page

This item was published in the St George and Sutherland Shire leader on 28 February 2018.

Leader Article 28 February 2018

 Monash goes to Jerilderie go to top of page

This portrait, very detailed and somewhat different, shows a confident Sir John Monash with both knighthoods and wearing General's rank was gifted to Jerilderie by the Berman family. A very generous gesture, the portrait being and is much appreciated by Mayor Ruth McRae, Councillors and citizens.

Portrait gifted to Jerilderie

 Tim Fischer Writes to the Australian go to top of page

Friends, See letter below published in the Australian on Thursday 28 Sept 2017 from the pen of Saluting Monash Council Chairman, the Hon. Tim Fischer AC.

The large media coverage of the Polygon Wood centenary points to how big April 2018 and Villers will be next year plus 4 July Hamel and 8 August Amiens centenaries. We will plan ahead but please take opportunities to advance the cause publicly.

In Victoria we have received many Letters from prominent Australians and associations including RSL Sub - Branches, Rotary Clubs, Municipal Councils and Defence Force personnel expressing strong support for the promotion of Sir John Monash to field marshal on the basis of his indisputable legacy as an outstanding field commander who had a profound effect on the final defeat of the German Armies in World War One.

A consistent theme in these Letters is the fact that he received no recognition from the Hughes and Bruce governments despite receiving such from Britain, France, Belgium and the USA. In fact it was worse than that. Both Prime Ministers rejected calls for Sir John to be promoted to full General, a position held by Englishman Birdwood, who preceded Monash as General Officer Commanding the Australian Army Corps. In his Letter of Support the Hon Barry Jones AC credits the cause to quote "He was the victim of politics, prejudice and a striking lack of local self-confidence and optimism ... ... Birdwood was given a seat on the floor of the House of Representatives and formally thanked, a distinction never offered to Monash."

Birdwood held an administrative position as head of the AIF was promoted as Australia's first field marshal in 1925 though his legacy as a field commander, impact and size of command did not match that of John Monash.

All Letters of Support are presented at Parliament House by Tim Fischer.

If you wish to submit a letter please send it to me for filing, recording and forwarding.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Headberry
Director- Saluting Monash Council (Victoria)

Dear Editor,

Revealed in the Australian 26 Sep 17 (Page 11: Victory out of the mire) is the fact that Indian born British General Sir William Birdwood suppressed the Pompey Elliott key report on Polygon Wood. This is another example of British domination of the telling of World War One and we face much worse to come in the centenary year of 2018 when Canada and Australia will be sidelined by the Anglo and American domination of the history rewrites of the final months of the Western Front.

It rankles that in 1925 Birdwood was made Australia's first Field Marshal, followed in 1938 by King George VI, 1950 Blamey and 1954 Prince Philip but no John Monash of Jerilderie, Melbourne, Hamel and Amiens or for that matter Harry Chauvel of Tabulam and Damascus. It is now time to correct this and there is ample precedent for posthumous symbolic promotion in the Australian Army but one step in rank only, so as not to open the floodgates.

Yours Sincerely,

Tim Fischer,
Mudgegonga VIC

 The Artillery Association Supports Monash August 2017 go to top of page


The Royal Australian Artillery Association New South Wales recognised Monash as a "Gunner made good" actually a coastal artilleryman who became recognised as the best general in the wold in 1918. The association asked Tim Fischer to speak at the annual Gunner Dinner at Parramatta RSL on Saturday 12 August 2017. Tim was not able to make it. Thus Tim was represented by John Howells. Vic Rae (Vice President (Admin) & Editor Gunfire) commented "We enjoyed your (John Howells') contribution to our dinner, so ably rounding out for us in the limited time Sir John's contribution. Some of his highs and lows, supporters and detractors as well as the achievement of pulling together all the Australian Divisions, allied troops under his command and employing those elements that can make such a difference, armour and artillery. "

 The Chief Scientist Supports the Jerilderie Proposition June 2017 go to top of page

On 14 June 2017, Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, inspired by his work to ensure our nation's energy future wrote to the Prime Minister supporting the Jerilderie Proposition. In the 1920s Monash had taken on a similar task for Victoria, leaving a legacy to last 'till today.

CLICK HERE to download Dr Finkel's letter.

Dr Finkels Letter

 The Campaign Spreads Internationally - Canadian magazine L'Esprit June 2017 go to top of page

The campaign is taking on an international flavour after Tim Fischer was contacted by Donald MacLeod of Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada who after a visit to Albany WA became captivated by the similarities between the case for Sir John Monash and the WW 1 exceptional Canadian commander of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, General Sir Arthur Currie.

This article is an extract from the June Edition of a key Canadian magazine L'Esprit.

Esprit Article

CLICK HERE to download the article.

 Focus on [the NSW] Parliament April 2017 go to top of page

Focus on Parliament April 2017
Focus on Parliament April 2017

 The Prime Minister Speaks March 2017 go to top of page

On the evening of 19 March 2017 the Prime Minister The Hon Malcom Turnbull MP spoke at the Launch of the New Holocaust Exhibition at the Sydney Jewish Museum, Sydney.

He spole in reverent terms about John Monash, to quote:

"Now John Monash, if there was General that you could say won the First World War, it would be John Monash.

Montgomery, the man with a high opinion of himself as we know, General Montgomery, Field Marshal Montgomery described Monash as the finest General on the Western Front. That's what he said. High praise from a man who wasn't often giving away bouquets. That's how good he was. He is a Jewish man as you know, born from Polish parents who came to Australia, Polish Jewish immigrants to Melbourne.

And despite the anti-Semitism in the British Army he rose to the top through sheer talent and he served. And next year we will remember and honour those extraordinary battles in which he led Australians and Americans into battle for the first time and he turned the war, he turned the tide.

Now I spoke about this, about Monash when I was at Moriah, just fanot so long ago, many of you were there I know. And certainly many of your grandchildren and children were there.

In fact, when we went in with Bibi Netanyahu and Sara, Lucy and I - Bibi and Sara had got there. Bibi said to me, he said: 'Are there any of these children's parents that you don't know?'

I said: 'There's a few, there's a few but I know their grandparents.'

Fair enough. But it was a very family occasion for the Member for Wentworth and Lucy.

But I referred to Monash and Bibi said to me, just before he got up, he said: 'Monash, I'm going to talk about him.' That's what he said.

And then he spoke - and if you didn't see the speech it is worth getting a video of it. And he talked about Monash and he said, he reminded those kids, he said in those days, Monash was remarkable because he was a soldier. There weren't many Jewish soldiers in those days. Because the Jewish people did not have a state, they did not have a country and Monash was an exception."

CLICK HERE to download the full transcript of the Prime Minister's speech. His references to Monash are highlighted.

 Australian Jewish News 17 March 2017 go to top of page

A NATIONAL campaign for the posthumous promotion of General Sir John Monash to the highest Australian military rank of Field Marshal, by Remembrance Day 2018, built momentum in Sydney last week.

The Saluting Monash Council (SMC) held its NSW launch at Parliament House on March 8, framing the campaign as "righting a wrong".

It was given extra zest by an impressive guest speaker list that included Monash's great-grandson Michael Bennett, author and journalist Peter FitzSimons and several politicians.

SMC national chairman Tim Fischer said via video link: "It's never too late to correct a wrong," adding that after WWI, prime minister Billy Hughes had frozen Monash's rank "very unfairly".

"Monash was discriminated against on several counts, being the son of Prussian migrants, being Jewish ... he was neither Duntroon nor Sandhurst [trained] and that was resented ... [war historian Charles] Bean said he was too old.

"Well, enough is enough."

Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie said of Monash, "The things that held that rank back from him - being ageism, being -anti-Semitism, being elitism - have no place in modern Australia".

Sydney Launch Sydney Launch

Peter FitzSimons, who is writing a book called The Monash Masterpiece: The Battle of Le Hamel, commended SMC for its timely campaign.

"For me, the essence of what Monash was about was that he didn't come out of the class system, he was of the people and he treasured the lives of his men," FitzSimons said.

"And also the fact that he totally revolutionised the way of warfare.

In the Battle of Le Hamel, instead of doing it the way of Fromelles - which was to just send wave after wave of soldiers and have them cut to pieces - Monash planned it as an engineer, as a man with three degrees.

He had planes come in very low, then tanks were moved forward, and the infantry was working in tandem behind.

That model was then adopted for the rest of the war, and it saved countless lives."

Matt Thistlewaite MP said Monash was "instrumental in transforming British and Allied views of the Australian soldier".

Bennett said he feels very pleased to see the growing interest in Monash's legacy,"as an engineer, as a soldier and as a nation-builder".

"Monash was seen as a leader in the Jewish community, particularly on his return from the war," Bennett told The AJN.

"And although he was quite secular, I know he was very proud of his origins."

For more information about the Sydney launch CLICK HERE.


 Monash Leader 20 December 2016 go to top of page

Clr Lynette SaloumiOn Tuesday 29 Nov 2016 at a Monash City Council Meeting Clr Lynette Saloumi nominated Motion 7.2 to support the posthumous promotion of General Sir John Monash to the rank of Field Marshal. On behalf of the Saluting Monash Council, chaired by The Hon Tim Fischer AC.

Her motion to support the Saluting Monash Council (SMC) in its objective to promote General Sir John Monash to the rank of Field Marshal was passed on Tuesday night 29 Nov 2016. Peter McCall OAM was appointed to represent Monash Council on the SMC.

Monash Leader 20 December 2016

 Barrier Truth November 2016 go to top of page

Barrier Truth November 2016
Barrier Truth November 2016
Barrier Truth November 2016

 Media Statement go to top of page

Media Statement - 5 / 6 Nov 2018 - Circulated on limited basis by Tim Fischer

Senior Federal Cabinet Minister, Josh Frydenberg has declared his full support for the Jerilderie Proposition and the posthumous promotion of Sir John Monash one step in rank to Field Marshal.

This comes as the campaign for the posthumous promotion of Monash is set to move up a gear with the launch of the Saluting Monash Council at the Melbourne Shrine on Sunday (6 Nov 2016).

Former Deputy PM Tim Fischer is to become National Chair of the Saluting Monash Council and speaking on the eve of the launch exclusively to the Weekend Australian, Mr Fischer said this is all about a long overdue symbolic salute not just to John Monash of Jerilderie and Melbourne but also as a salute and recognition to all members of the AIF.

The Hon Josh Frydenberg's declaration to be tabled at the Melbourne Shrine on Sunday 6 November is clearcut and reflects his long standing commitment:

With the centenary of the WW 1 Armistice soon upon us, it will prompt a review of the events at that time and build momentum for the posthumous promotion of Sir John Monash one step in rank to Field Marshal, in accord with the Jerilderie Proposition.

Such an act by the PM and Parliament, bipartisan it would need to be, will not change history but complete it, preserving a proper place for this outstanding General and citizen of Australia.

The granting of Field Marshal promotion to Sir John Monash would also constitute a salute to all members of the AIF, to all men and women who bravely served in WW 1. I fully support the launch of the Saluting Monash Council and note the growing momentum at grass roots level for this great cause. - Hon Josh Frydenberg 4 / 11 / 2016 (End of Declaration )

Mr Fischer said that the Saluting Monash Council will be a single purpose organisation to drive along the fast growing campaign for long overdue recognition, further it will disband within six months of the promotion being made. Any extra monies collected along the way will be handed to the Monash Scholarship Foundation which has now sent over 100 outstanding Australians overseas for Tertiary studies.

Mr Fischer added that there was gross discrimination against Monash over the years, notably by former PM W M Hughes and this must be corrected in the most obvious way and for which there is ample precedent, one step in rank promotion. This is best done by adopting the Jerilderie proposition, the single objective of the new organisation :

Following on the outstanding contribution of Sir John Monash to State and Nation before, during and after World War One and reflecting the fact that Sir John Monash received no Australian Awards or Honours post 11 November 1918, the Prime Minister approve by Government Gazette publication, the posthumous promotion of one step in rank of General Sir John Monash to the rank of Australian Field Marshal, with effect 11 November 1930, one year after Sir John Monash was eventually promoted to the rank of General.

ENDS ((Tim Fischer - 0427 271456))

NB There have to date been only 3 Australian Field Marshals: 1925 Birdwood, 1950 Blamey, 1954 Prince Philip!

 The Jerilderie Proposition go to top of page

The Jerilderie Shire Council unanimous resolution, carried October 2015:

Jerilderie Proposition: Following on the outstanding contribution of Sir John Monash to State and Nation before, during and after World War One and reflecting the fact that Sir John Monash received no Australian Awards or Honours post 11 November 1918, the Prime Minister approve by Government Gazette publication, the posthumous promotion of one step in rank of General Sir John Monash to the rank of Australian Field Marshal, with effect 11 November 1930, one year after Sir John Monash was eventually promoted to the rank of General.

CLICK HERE to download the Jerilderie Shire Council Media Release.

 Videos go to top of page

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