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‘War is a messy business’: Brendan Nelson backs under fire war hero

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Australian War Memorial Director Brendan Nelson is warning against criticising Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith, but admits “mistakes” have been made at war.

Serious allegations have been levelled at the former SAS corporal including bullying fellow soldiers and the abuse of Afghan civilians.

Mr Roberts-Smith strongly denies the accusations and is threatening legal action.

Former defence minister and Liberal party leader, Dr Nelson, tells Alan Jones he has “no doubt” that “mistakes have been made” at war, but we shouldn’t rush to judgement.

“Ben Roberts-Smith is, by any standard, one of the greatest Australians in terms of heroism the country’s produced.

“His reputation is being produced by elements of the media that, in my opinion, diminish the respect that we have for them and the job that they should be doing.”

Dr Nelson says there are people alive today because of the Victoria Cross recipient.

“I stand with him. I stand with the men and the SAS. I stand with their families, their widows and their children.

“I don’t doubt that what you and I might think, in the cold, hard light of day, that bad things have happened.

“But as far as I’m concerned, unless there have been the most egregious breaches of laws of armed conflict, we should leave it all alone.

“War is a messy business.”

Click PLAY below to listen to the full interview with Dr Brendan Nelson 

Dr Nelson also spoke ahead of the launch of a new book about Australia’s most sacred ceremony, The Last Post.

The Last Post: A Ceremony of Love, Loss and Remembrance at the Australian War Memorial by Emma Campbell explores the origins and significance of the military tribute.

The War Memorial director tells Alan it started in Holland in the 1600s and initially signified beer taps were being shut off in towns.

Click PLAY below to hear more about the fascinating book