RARA FIRE SUPPORT

The current bush fires throughout Australia, in particular the current and it would appear the continuing devastation in Queensland and New South Wales in particular is a national tragedy.

We the RARA National Association are here to support in whatever way we can within our limited resources.  Many of our individual members are involved with those fighting the fires and in support to welfare organisations while others and their families may be in the fire path.

The important issue at this stage is for our members, the Battalion and State Associations to reach out to their RARA family to see if there is anyone that has been caught in this, to see if they are OK and most importantly, they are personally safe.

The Regiment has a strong bond and reputation in never leaving anybody behind and perhaps in this case a euphemism, it is what and who we are so I would ask all to not only check with our membership but any corps or service or members of the general public.

For those living in or near the fire areas keep yourself informed of the current situation by any means, radio, TV or website:

Some of the horrific scenes we have seen on the TV and Facebook posts from those in the line of fire are frightening and our thoughts are with those that have suffered.   We are best when we have a common enemy, and when we do we perform magnificently. The common enemy in this case is the fires. Let’s all pitch in to see what we can do to help those in need.

We thank all the Emergency Service personnel and volunteers at the front line in fighting  the fires and behind them all those welfare organisations and communities providing support services to those in need. 

Duty First

Michael von Berg, RARA National President

      

Remembrance Day 2019

On 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. With their armies retreating and close to collapse, German leaders signed an Armistice, bringing to an end the First World War. From the summer of 1918, the five divisions of the Australian Corps had been at the forefront of the allied advance to victory. Beginning with their stunning success at the battle of Hamel in July, they helped to turn the tide of the war at Amiens in August, followed by the capture of Mont St Quentin and Pèronne, and the breaching of German defences at the Hindenburg Line in September. By early October the exhausted Australians were withdrawn from battle. They had achieved a fighting reputation out of proportion to their numbers, but victory had come at a heavy cost. They suffered almost 48,000 casualties during 1918, including more than 12,000 dead.

In the four years of the war more than 330,000 Australians had served overseas, and more than 60,000 of them had died. The social effects of these losses cast a long shadow over the postwar decades.

Each year on this day Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11 am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

An unidentified cinematographer capturing the last shots to be fired before the armistice on 11 November 1918.

Places of Pride, the National Register of War Memorials, is an Australian War Memorial initiative to record the location and photos of every war memorial across the country. Find out more

Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant

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The Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant serves to recognise and acknowledge the unique nature of military service and the contribution of veterans and their families. The Covenant is supported by the Veteran Card, Lapel Pin and Oath. These provide the opportunity for Australians to identify veterans when they are not in uniform or wearing their medals, and offer respect to them and their family.

Employers, businesses, local community groups and the broader Australian public are able to commit their support for the Covenant. The Covenant provides the framework that enables veterans and their families to better connect with their community.

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Veteran Card
Use your Veteran Card to gain access to treatment for service-related conditions or injuries that DVA has approved, and access to DVA-funded mental health treatment, if required.

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Lapel Pin
The Lapel Pin allows the wider community to acknowledge your service regardless of whether you served in the Navy, Army or Air Force.

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Oath
The Oath is a declaration on behalf of the Australian people recognising the valuable contribution that current and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their families make and have made for our country.

How veterans can apply
Veterans and Reservists can apply for the Covenant, including the Veteran Card, Lapel Pin and Oath, online using MyService. Depending on your type of service, you may be eligible for all, or some, of the Covenant items.

How to support veterans
Employers, businesses, local community groups and the broader Australian public are able to commit their support for the Covenant to recognise and acknowledge the contribution of veterans and their families. 

The Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program was initiated in 2016 to raise awareness of the value and unique experience of veterans. Find out more about how the program assists veterans and employers on the Veterans’ Employment web site

Community Groups
Find out more about community groups and Ex-Service Organisations and their work to support veterans and their families.

READ MORE

Poem – It’s Our Turn to Step Forward

Commentary. We can learn much from our nation’s history which records both success and failure. From it we can understand how with much blood, sweat and tears we became the lucky country. It also reveals a harsh environment and isolation which tested even the strongest of hearts, and slowly but surely developed strong bonds of mateship, resilience and not forgetting sharp humour and language different from a staid Mother England. All of this and much more including a unquenchable thirst for freedom, independence and a fair go for all was the very base of what was to become a most fortunate way of life worth fighting for. 

The price of freedom is often masked by cold statistics, and yet can be readily converted to reality by honour rolls as seen on our war memorials, scattered throughout the width and breadth of our continent. They list the names of the fallen associated with the terrible grief and never- ending sorrow of family.

After WW1, a clear message well understood by all was the cry of eternal vigilance, to remind Australians of the need to be prepared to defend our way of life. It would seem from some of our recent intended long range procurements for defence that the battle cry of yesterday is suffering from laryngitis and amnesia. Or is it simply burying our heads in the sand? 

We live in very dangerous times and now more than ever, we need to have national unity and sense of purpose. Both are waning and now there is even a greater threat within, in that our values are being cheapened. Political vison is virtually non-existent and thanks to our apathy, political correctness is beginning to dominate what we can say or do.  Even Christianity, the very foundation of our nation is on the hit list.

It’s Our Turn to Step Forward

A mate, Gary Adams from soldiering days, sent me the above WW2 photo of (B Company, 2/21st Battalion, part of Gull Force) which included his father and notes indicating those who did not come home. The battalion was poorly equipped and surrendered after a battle against overwhelming odds. Many of our troops were executed on the battlefield.

The photo is a sharp reminder of the consequences for a nation ill prepared for war. If we fail to carry the torch, there will be a far different way of life for future generations, and past sacrifices by those before us will have been in vain.

            The Fallen Heroes Still on Parade

A faded photo from long ago quickly steals your breath away,
Soldiers in war with smiling faces, despite the dangers each and every day. Rows of yesterday’s youth who swapped civilian cloth for khaki,
Volunteers ready to give all for future seeds which included you and me 

From all walks of life, be it in city or bush, they were as one,
Under a beloved flag, a sworn oath to serve, until duty done.
What dreams of these warriors standing or kneeling side by side,
Sweet hopes to become reality when duty for war no longer required

Alas, against impossible odds, was a battle that could not be won ,
Many in the in the frame were murdered by the sword, bayonet or gun.
The survivors became tortured slaves of bone and skin,
Year after year, mid brutality, disease and hunger, the ranks grew thin.

Their strength for survival was a powerful bond of hope, faith and unity.
A constant dream of returning to a beloved land, once more to be free
They bore pain, grief, fevers and empty plates for a nation’s safe tomorrow A vow of vows for a treasured way of life for all generations to follow

The Space Age has arrived, complex, busy and forever changing, day by day.
With it came chained tongues with new rules of what you can or cannot say Heavy pockets burdened with permits of what you can or must not do.
Evil chants of “them and us” and growing flaws in our society, more than a few. 

Today, cobwebs gather on history marked with duty, honor, blood and pain,
The faces of heroes stare down from their wooden frame
I swear they are no longer smiling, and a puzzled look can be seen
As our leaders without maps stumble, into tomorrow where no one’s been

If we are not to betray those who gave their all, we must go forward together  
Resolute, standing tall, with purpose and shoulders braced for stormy weather
To honour all those before us with deeds, and sing of our nation without refrain
The spirits of our past will cheer, and the faces on the wall will smile again
.

                                          

George Mansford © November 2019

Covenant and lapel-pin legislation passed by parliament

Legislation to enact the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant was passed by parliament on 22 October 2019 and has been forwarded through appropriate channels for Royal Assent.

Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019 will establish the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, which provides a formal way for all Australians to show their appreciation to our current and former Australian Defence Force personnel, and to the families who have supported them.

Upon Royal Assent in coming weeks, the Bill will become a separate Act to provide symbolic recognition for all veterans.

It does not change current entitlements.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the covenant, veteran card and veteran lapel pin would allow the community — including employers, businesses, community groups, veteran or sporting organisations and the general public — the opportunity to recognise the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our nation.

“The legislation also includes a statement requiring the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to adopt a beneficial approach when interpreting legislation and apply a fair, just and consistent approach to veterans’ claims,” Mr Chester said.

“Arrangements are also being finalised for businesses across Australia to recognise the unique nature of military service by providing benefits through the veteran card, and I encourage any business that would like to learn more about how it can participate to contact the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

“We are committed to putting veterans and their families first and this legislation is part of our ongoing efforts to transform the culture of DVA.”

The Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant is part of a wider recognition package, and enables the oath and lapel pin to be provided to veterans and eligible reservists.

The package also includes the veteran card — a redesign of the existing DVA health cards, which is open to new applicants and will be provided to existing card holders over the coming months.

Mr Chester said those who had already applied for the lapel pin and oath would begin receiving their covenant packs soon and he urged those who have not applied for the covenant to do so online using MyService.

More information on the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, including how individuals can apply and how businesses and community organisations can register their support, can be found on the DVA website.

Travel – Rome , the Colosseum and Gladiator Training

If you have been to Rome then the odds are that you have visited the Colosseum and been fascinated by its size, history and usage especially the gladiatorial contests.

No doubt you have seen the movie Gladiator and been inspired by it.

So when you visit Rome and the Colosseum take the next step and attend the Gladiator Training School and Museum.

Poem “Don’t Sell Australia Out”

When the shearing sheds are silent, and the stock camps fallen quiet,   When the gidgee coals no longer glow across the outback night,
And the bush is forced to hang a sign, ‘gone broke and won’t be back’,
And spirits fear to find a way beyond the beaten track.

When harvesters stand derelict upon the wind-swept plains,
And brave hearts pin their hopes no more on chance of loving rains,
When a hundred outback settlements are ghost towns overnight,
When we’ve lost the drive and heart we had to once more see us right.

When ‘Pioneer’ means a stereo and ‘Digger’ some backhoe,
And the ‘Outback’ is behind the house, there’s nowhere else to go.
And ‘Anzac’ is a biscuit brand and probably foreign owned,
And education really means brainwashed and neatly cloned.

When you have to bake a loaf of bread to make a decent crust,
And our heritage once enshrined in gold is crumbling to dust,
And old folk pay their camping fees on land for which they fought,
And fishing is a great escape, this is until you’re caught.

When you see our kids with Yankee caps and resentment in their eyes,
And the soaring crime and hopeless hearts is no longer a surprise,
When the name of RM Williams is a yuppie clothing brand,
And not a product of our heritage that grew off the land.

When offering a hand makes people think you’ll amputate,
And two dogs meeting in the street is what you call a, ‘Mate’,
When ‘Political Correctness’ has replaced all common sense,
When you’re forced to see it their way, there’s no sitting on the fence.

Yes, one day you might find yourself an outcast in this land.
Perhaps your heart will tell you then, ‘I should have made a stand’.
Just go and ask the farmers that should remove all doubt,
Then join the swelling ranks who say, ‘Don’t sell Australia out!

Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant – Now Legislated

Advice from Liz Cosson.

“Good Afternoon,

I would like to thank you for your ongoing commitment and support to ensuring veterans and their families receive the recognition and respect they deserve for their service and sacrifice to our country.

I am pleased to let you know that the Government’s Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019 has passed Federal Parliament today.

This legislation formally establishes the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant which includes an oath, lapel pin and Veteran Card which are available for veterans and eligible reservists.

With the passing of this legislation we will now start to send out the lapel pins and oath to those who have already registered via mail in the coming weeks.

The new Veteran Card, which is a redesign of the existing DVA health cards, continues to provide access to treatments and benefits and will soon provide access to thousands of offers from businesses across Australia as a part of a new benefits program.

We are expecting to launch the benefits program very soon and will be sending information packs in the mail to Ex-Service Organisations and RSL Sub-branches which includes promotional material and a set of frequently asked questions to help you support veterans to ensure they get the most out of the program.

Veterans and reservists can continue to register for the Covenant online through MyService, by calling DVA on 1800 555 254, or by visiting your local Veterans Access Network office.

For more information about the Covenant, please visit here
Regards Liz,”

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Liz Cosson AM CSC
Secretary
Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Vale – Lt Col Bill McDonald BA

Bill passed away yesterday in hospital.

There will be a private family funeral in due course BUT there will also be a celebration of Bill’s life on Wednesday 20th November at 2.00 p. m. at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, 1 New Beach Rd, Darling Point, Sydney.

All of Bill’s friends and ”Comrades at Arms” are invited to the latter service.

Bill was a 1959 Royal Military College graduate into Infantry. His service included postings to 2 RAR, 4 RAR and 9 RAR (Vietnam), the Infantry Centre, 1st and 2nd Battalions Pacific Island Regiment, and Commanding Officer RMC Corps of Staff Cadets

Rest in Peace

Homeward Bound – For our mate

I saw the shooting star burning so bright
Falling, falling, fading and soon from sight
So distant and yet so near
In its wake, a soldier’s journey so very clear
Duty, sharing, caring, courage and sometimes fear

In its wake, a soldier’s journey so very clear
Duty, sharing, caring, courage and sometimes fear
No longer a mortal in life’s short race
A contented spirit bound for home somewhere in distant space
This fiery trail I saw tonight marks a warrior’s farewell
Leaving behind another legacy of proud deeds to tell

George Mansford©April 2012

Appointment to Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission

Current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Comcare, Sue Weston PSM, has today been appointed as a part-time member of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC) for a five-year term.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said Ms Weston had an impressive record of public sector experience and strong leadership.

“I congratulate Ms Weston on her appointment. I am confident she will make a significant contribution to the work of the Commission,” Mr Chester said.

“Ms Weston was appointed as the CEO of Comcare in April this year. The roles and responsibilities of the CEO of Comcare complement those of the Commission, which administers benefits under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) and Part XI of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA).”

Ms Weston’s previous roles include Deputy Secretary and Head of Industry and Small Business Policy at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and Head of the Office of Small Business at the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources. She also holds professional qualifications in Science, Accounting, and Arbitration and Mediation.

Mr Chester said Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, nominated Ms Weston for the Commission.

“I look forward to working with Ms Weston and the other members of the Commission to provide rehabilitation, compensation and other benefits to current and former members of the Australian Defence Force and their dependants.”

More information about the MRCC and its functions can be found online.