Fact sheet

Fact Check: Are there powerful precedents which break with protocol for posthumously promoting John Monash to field marshal?

Publisher
Australian Labor Party Military history
Description
The week before the 2018 ANZAC Day commemoration, newspapers reported that the Turnbull Government had decided against posthumously promoting the Australian World War I commander General Sir John Monash to the rank of field marshal. Supporters of the campaign to promote Monash argued that granting him the highest military rank would right a historic wrong. But current and former military leaders argued against it, saying it would run contrary to Australian military tradition. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten supported the campaign to promote Monash, arguing that while a posthumous promotion would break with normal protocol, there were powerful precedents for such a decision. RMIT ABC Fact Check investigated whether there are indeed powerful precedents for posthumous promotion to field marshal that break with protocol and found that Mr Shorten's claim doesn't check out. In support of his argument, Mr Shorten cited three examples of men whose promotions, he claimed, had broken with protocol: Sir Thomas Blamey, Prince Philip, and General George Washington. Fact Check consulted two Australian military historians and a British expert in the history of field marshals, all of whom said there was no precedent for posthumous promotion to field marshal in Australia or Britain. The Australian experts also said the precedents cited by Mr Shorten did not represent a break with protocol.
Verdict: Doesn't check out
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