Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the Brereton Report into Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan was not a reflection on the Australian Defence Force as a whole.
In Nowra on Thursday morning to inspect the proposed new site of a $5 million Veterans' Wellbeing Centre, the Minister conceded the report would be "tough news".
The inquiry examined 338 witnesses and 55 separate incidents or issues, mainly alleged unlawful killings of people who were non-combatants or were no longer combatants, but also cruel treatment of such people.
It is alleged that 25 Australian defence personnel unlawfully killed 39 Afghanis.
"This will be tough news for a lot of people who have either served in uniform or continue to serve in uniform," the Minister said.
"Some of the allegations will not sit comfortably on their broad shoulders, they've done nothing wrong.
"We need to make sure we treat our serving men and woman and our veterans with a great deal of respect.
"People who have allegedly done the wrong thing need to be held to account.
"That's an important part of the process.
The overwhelming majority of men and women who have served in uniform throughout our history and continue to serve today have done the right thing every day of their lives.Veterans' Affairs Minister Darren Chester
"Australians have a very proud reputation of service, maintaining very high standards and we need to make sure we live up to those standards and that's what the inquiry has been all about.
"Making sure our reputation is intact into the future and the processes that have been put in place now, in terms of the special investigator and and the panel of eminent Australians to look at the cultural issues are important processes.
"But the overwhelming majority of men and women who have served in uniform throughout our history and continue to serve today have done the right thing every day of their lives."
He said the responsibility of the government was to make sure when allegations are made they are taken seriously.
"And the people who are the subject of the allegations are given the presumption of innocence which every Australian is entitled too," he said.
"Again - the overwhelming majority of men and women who have served in uniform throughout our history and continue to serve today have done the right thing every day of their lives.
"What we need to make sure is, where people have done the wrong thing, they are held to account.
"It's a process now - the next stage is people can be referred to the special investigator or can be part of a military discipline system."
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