Australia

New push to promote Aussie war hero Monash

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Independent MP Cathy McGowan has presented law to parliament calling for the posthumous promotion of WWI hero Sir John Monash to the army's highest rank.

A new push is under way to posthumously promote World War One military commander General Sir John Monash to the Army's highest rank of field marshal.

Independent MP Cathy McGowan has presented a private bill to federal parliament on Monday in the hope politicians will clear the way to promote the man widely regarded as Australia's greatest-ever military commander.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull blocked a previous campaign for the posthumous promotion in April after military leaders lobbied against the change.

Ms McGowan says the promotion would would be deserved recognition for a "man of great courage", who not only served his country but also set up Victoria's electricity service.

The step would give Australians an opportunity to learn about sacrifice, skill, leadership, victory, returning home from war and resilience, she says.

"I believe it would give the people of Australia a wonderful role model to aspire to," she told parliament on Monday.

"If there's ever a time where we as a nation need role models, it's today."

Ms McGowan has been working with former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer to have Sir John promoted.

The former Nationals leader has long campaigned for Sir John's promotion given his leadership at the battle of Hamel in France, which put Allied forces on the path to victory in 1918.

"The key point is Monash received zero Australian government awards after 11 November, 1918 but for one minor rank promotion," Mr Fischer told AAP on Monday.

"It's time this is corrected, even if it is against the wishes of sections of the Army."

Former prime minister Robert Menzies in 1950 supported the elevation of the-then general Sir Thomas Blamey to field marshal for his role in commanding all Australian forces during WWII.

So far, Sir Thomas is the only Australian to hold the rank of field marshal.

"Menzies promoted Sir Thomas Blamey to field marshal from his sick bed against the wishes of the Army at the time as a salute from the people and the parliament," Mr Fischer said.

"If we can do it for Blamey we must do it for Sir John Monash."

Sir John presided over a succession of victories during the battle of Hamel in late 1918 as Australian, Canadian and British forces spearheaded successful attacks on the German army.

He was knighted in the field and many other accolades followed for the former civil engineer.

Melbourne's Monash University is named in his honour, as is a local government area in Melbourne, a town in South Australia, a suburb in Canberra and a new interpretive centre at Villers-Bretonneux in France.

His face also graces the $100 note, while a new statue of Sir John is being placed in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial.

Liberal MP Jane Prentice seconded the bill in the lower house on Monday, saying it would recognise a career "emblazoned with achievement".

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