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Watchdog Investigates Mayor’s Alleged Military Service

Although Australia does not have a specific law prohibiting “stolen valour,” there are criminal penalties for misrepresentation.

The mayor of Townsville—the largest settlement in north Queensland and Northern Australia—is facing trouble over allegations he made about his military service during the election campaign.

Troy Thompson defeated Jenny Hill—the mayor for 12 years—during the recent council election.

Throughout the campaign, Mr. Thompson stated that he had served about five years with the Royal Australian Corps of Signals and the Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment.

However, when questioned by The Townsville Bulletin, the local newspaper, he claimed he could not recall his service number.

Subsequently, the Department of Local Government requested the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) to investigate his military record. After receiving the necessary information, including his service number, the Office thoroughly assessed the matter.

“On May 24, the OIA referred the issue to the Crime and Corruption Commission [CCC] as the conduct of candidates falls under the purview of other agencies. The OIA will not provide further comments on this matter at this time,” a spokesperson for the Office stated.

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The newspaper revealed that Mr. Thompson had completed a two-week recruit course in June 1991 before undertaking a reservist cooking course from July to December that same year. No further courses or activities were recorded from 1991 until his discharge in October 1993.

In response, Mr. Thompson claimed on social media that he obtained his military service number after being questioned about his defence background since Anzac Day.

“At the Anzac parade, there were rumors that I didn’t serve, that I lacked a service number,” he stated in a Facebook video last week.

He clarified that he wore his father’s medals and not his own.

“I didn’t serve long enough in the reserves to earn a medal. It’s as simple as that. I just wanted to showcase my father’s medals and how proud I am of him.

“Respectfully, you have my service number. That concludes the discussion. No more negative media. Let’s move forward.”

In the video, he mentioned receiving support from “the Army, the heads of Army,” and expressed gratitude to “all the veterans and all the service [people]” who backed him.

Investigation Found ‘Nothing Alarming’: Mayor Thompson

Speaking to the press, he indicated that he was unfazed by the CCC’s involvement.

“I’m not worried. The assessor clearly stated that they did not find anything alarming in their assessment,” he commented.

“Some of these issues arose before the election and fall outside their jurisdiction, so they had to pass it on for further review until a conclusion is reached.”

He declined to disclose specifics about his military service, citing a three-hour exclusive interview with a commercial program.

“I choose not to share the information… which is well within my rights,” he stated.

Australia lacks a law specifically addressing issues of “stolen valour,” where false claims of military service or awards are made. While Section 80A of the Defence Act 1903 prohibits falsely representing oneself as a returned soldier, sailor, or airman, it pertains only to claims of having “served abroad during any war.”

Townsville, with a population of approximately 180,000, is informally known as the capital of north Queensland. The city houses a considerable number of government, community, and major business offices for the northern part of the state.

As of now, there have been no conclusions reached by the OIA or the CCC regarding Mr. Thompson.

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