02 October 2009

Minister of Veterans' Affairs makes statement on Rex Crane fraud allegations

Today Australian Veterans' Affairs Minister Alan Griffin (ALP-Bruce, VIC) made a statement concerning this morning's Sydney Morning Herald article on Rex Crane and allegations that he was not a Prisoner of War or even served in the military. The SMH article can be found here. Later in the morning the SMH ran a second article online which can be found here.

"Personally, I think for anyone to impersonate a prisoner of war is disgusting. It is a betrayal of all values our veterans stand for," said Griffin.

On Thursday the VA referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police for investigation as Crane has been receiving the highest level of service pension since 1988 for claiming he was a POW captured by the Japanese in 1942 at the age of 15 and imprisoned in Singapore's Outram Road jail, the SMH reported today. SMH also reported that Crane lived in Adelaide throughout World War II and never spent a day in a military uniform.

Crane was serving as the federal president of the Prisoners of War Association of Australia. He has also collected over $380,000 (AUD) from the Government in a pension over the years and was permitted to have a VA Gold Card for all medical expenses according to the SMH.

Griffin's statement can be found here.

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