AFGHANISTAN – AVENUE OF HONOUR

The Afghanistan Avenue of Honour at Yungaburra Qld is a living memorial dedicated to the memory of all who served in the fight against terror in Afghanistan and to those brave and selfless Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of freedom and liberty.

The Honour Roll

ADF continues Bush Fire support

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been working with Emergency Management Australia to assist with firefighting efforts in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia since November 8.

Rural Fire Service employee, Mr Allen Madden prepares to be winched down in the Lithgow area by Petty Officer Aircrewman Jason Wickman from an 808 Squadron MRH90 Taipan Military Support Helicopter over the Grose Valley bushfire in the Blue Mountains National Park.

Defence established liaison officers in the State Disaster Coordination Centres (SDCC) in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

READ THE FULL EXTENT OF SUPPORT

Members of 5th Engineer Regiment assist the New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service with hazard reduction and resupply near Richmond, NSW.

Australian Cold War Warriors – The Secret Aussie History of the Second Malaysian Confrontation (Counter Insurgency War)

The author, aged 19, Christmas 1977, RCB Malaysia

This is the personal account of Private Sean Arthur’s experience as a Rifleman at RCB in 5 Platoon, Bravo Company 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) in 1977.

It’s kind of strange to think that an important and significant part of your own personal military history is based upon a lie.

It’s not my personal lie, it’s way bigger than anything I could come up with myself. This lie encompasses 50 years and involves every single government that Australia has had in that time. Even more astounding is the fact that the lie was openly discussed in government and military circles at the very beginning and that the real information is pretty much available for anyone to read today. The lie is part of Australia’s strategic and political history and the only ones directly affected by it today are the nine thousand Australian servicemen who participated in the Second Malayan Emergency against communist insurgents from 1972 to 1989.

Ours was not an actual shooting war, but our involvement was essential to keeping the insurgency down to a manageable level. If we had not been there protecting essential military aircraft, personal and other military assets the chances were almost certain that the Butterworth Airbase in Northern Malaysia would have been an irresistible target for the insurgents. If the airbase had been attacked, even once, and lives or materiel destroyed it would have had an incalculable effect to the security of Australia. It would also have given new life to the defunct geopolitical “domino theory” of the 1960s. The domino theory was the deep-rooted concept that every country in Southeast Asia would topple towards communism unless the West involved themselves more significantly in that hemisphere militarily.

READ MORE

Group programs for the veteran community

Open Arms group treatment programs focus on addressing mental health problems commonly experienced within the veteran community. These programs include:

  • Doing Anger Differently
  • Recovery from Trauma
  • Understanding Anxiety
  • Managing Pain
  • Sleeping Better
  • Beating the Blues.

Our educational workshops focus on suicide prevention or on skill-building to promote resilience. The suicide prevention workshops are for people wanting to learn how to recognise that someone is struggling and how to help them to get support. These workshops include

  • Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
  • Suicide Alertness for Everybody (safeTALK)
  • Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
  • ASIST Tune-Up.

The resilience and skill-building workshops are particularly useful for veterans and families during transition periods in their lives and include ‘Stepping Out’, parenting, stress management and mindfulness workshops, as well as half-day information sessions on chronic pain, anger, managing anxiety and recovering from trauma.

The Open Arms group program and workshop calendar is planned six months in advance and the most recent version can be found at www.openarms.gov.au/get-support. If there is enough interest in a specific area additional workshops can be organised.

If you want to talk to a counsellor, or find out more about our services, Open Arms’s free and confidential telephone line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 011 046.

Opinion – Veterans have poorer mental health than Australians overall. We could be serving them better

Veterans are at higher risk of mental illness than the rest of the Australian population. Many of them are seeking help, but the way care is provided to this group must consider their unique needs. Opinion by Nicole Sadler, University of Melbourne

A career in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), or the armed forces in any country, can be rewarding, but also demanding. Challenges include the rigorous training, frequent moves, and maintaining social connections.

Beyond this, military personnel may be exposed to trauma during combat, peace-keeping missions, border protection, disaster and humanitarian relief, and training accidents.

They may be confronted not only with threats to their own lives or safety, but also with the suffering or death of others, which can have a significant emotional and psychological impact.

So it’s not surprising we see higher rates of mental illness among veterans compared to the overall Australian population.

The rates of suicide are also concerning, particularly among younger veterans. Between 2001 and 2016, 373 Australian veterans took their lives. Male veterans under 30 had a suicide rate more than twice the national average for men the same age. These figures have led to considerable community concern, including calls for a royal commission into veteran suicide.

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Opinion: ABC races to a conclusion

Exuding the moral and legal authority of the High Court, the ABC Investigations Unit has relentlessly pursued Australian special forces it has accused of war crimes in Afghanistan. It appears to have adopted a methodology known in the military as “situating the appreciation” – determining a desired outcome, then working backwards to justify that outcome.

READ MORE

Photo Essay: Australia’s Special Air Service Regiment

With the news of Project GREYFIN’s first stage approval, Defence Connect has decided to showcase the talents and capabilities of one of Australia’s Special Forces units, the Special Air Service Regiment.

Read more

RCB UPDATE 3/2019 – AND THE BEAT GOES ON

This is an Update on activities reported in Update 2/2019

Legal Conference

Arising from the telephone conference meeting with our barrister it was decided that as there will likely be a new Minister after the election we need to put our case to that person afresh before taking the legal path. This is because the courts would not take kindly to suing somebody who has previously had nothing to do with the decisions against us. To that end our legal team is preparing a brief for the incoming Minister.

National Media Exposure

In the meantime we are continuing our preparations with a national media organisation to expose our claim to the Australian people. No action will commence until we have a decision on the legal advice

Defence Force Retirement & Death Benefit – Commutation issue – A Summary

We continue to monitor it because it is a good example of the power of national media to influence the Government and we can learn valuable lessons from this inquiry.  The timing for the independent inquiry is to be decided after the commencement of the 46th Parliament. The so called independent body is to be the Commonwealth Ombudsman: this decision has been criticised as not being independent of Government.

That Moment of Truth – The Meetings – Update 1/2019

In that Update we reported:

“A week after our return to Brisbane we sent an RCB Brief of the matter to the Minister and Ted Chitham wrote him a personal letter appealing to his decency in decision making and the need to act. We are still waiting for a response for continuation of the unfinished meeting or a decision.”

Today (15th May 2019) the RCBRG received a letter from the Vice Chief of the Defence Force Vice Admiral David Johnston AO, RAN in which he thanked us for our correspondence: Letter of 5th December 2018 to Minister Chester, Letter of 21st February 2019 to Minister Chester, Emails of 26th February 2019 to Minister Payne and Sen Fawcett, and Letter of 22nd March 2019 to Minister Chester; and counters our claims with reasons that are challengeable. Again he repeats this sentence: “In the absence of compelling new evidence the Department of Defence does not intend to examine this matter further.”

Faced with this continuing avoidance to meet with us (refer to the 26thNovember 2018 meeting fiasco) no wonder that we persist with our claim to obtain justice through other channels

Thanks all for your support, suggestions, comments and donations: they are greatly appreciated. I can assure you all of the outstanding dedication of the RCBRG that remains resolute in its determination to pursue our claim.

Prior Planning, Persistence, Patience and Perseverance Prevents Poor Performance

Robert Cross
RCB Service 1973, 1974/75, 1982
RCB Group Leader
Date: 17/05/2019

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DFWA Media Statement – Recognition that ADF Members Deserve Support during and after their Service

The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA) welcomes the Labor Opposition’s commitment announced today in a joint Media Alert of wide-ranging support to both the nation’s current serving ADF members and to those who once served, importantly, including their families.

DFWA welcomes the Opposition’s commitments on several fronts.

The first being the retention of a specific Department of Veterans Affairs. This alone gives credibility to the notion of a ‘veteran centric’ department focused on the issues of veteran and their families.

Second is the commitment to adequately resource the Association to enhance its ability to properly represent serving ADF members in a professional manner particularly at Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal hearings. Such recognition of its role in representing serving personnel has been long sought from successive governments without success.

Kel Ryan download 2019 05 09T190332.604

Finally in commenting on Labor’s ‘Employment Package’ and its ‘National Families Engagement and Support Strategy’, the National President of DFWA, Kel Ryan, stated that he was particularly pleased that ‘Oasis Townsville’, a long-held aspiration of the Townsville veterans community to have a single hub to which all veterans and their families could go, would be appropriately funded.

The ‘Oasis’ is a model concept that could in whole, or in part, be readily replicated in other parts of Australia. The concept is reflective of the collaboration that is possible between Ex-Service Organisations to not only help each other to achieve outcomes for a common cause but to have a shared focus on supporting serving and ex-serving members of the ADF by making the lives of these men, women and their families better, healthier, happier and more rewarding.

9th May 2019

Contacts
Executive Director:
Alf Jaugietis (0438) 282 284 www.dfwa.org.au
National President:
Kel Ryan (0418) 759 120

DFWA – Voice of the Defence Community

Media Release – Labor’s Plan for our ADF Personnel and Veterans

Labor has launched its comprehensive plan for ADF Personnel  and Veterans today, which solidifies our commitment to our current and ex-service personnel and their families.

 In the past three years, Labor has announced a number of policies which will overwhelmingly support both current serving personnel, as well as veterans and their families.

Today, we launch Labor’s Plan for our ADF Personnel and Veterans which includes 22 policies that will directly support current and ex-serving members and their families.

It also acknowledges our military legacy and once again expresses our gratitude for all current service and ex-service personnel for the sacrifices they make.

Labor has long said if there is more we can be doing to support our veterans, we should be doing it.

Labor will support our veterans through our comprehensive $121 million Veterans’ Employment Package – assisting those from military to civilian life.

We will also support our ADF personnel and their families through our National Family Engagement and Support Strategy and we are committed to ensuring DVA remains as a standalone department.

As the largest garrison town in Australia, Labor is announcing this plan in Townsville, acknowledging the pride of place this town has with the ADF and our veteran personnel.

There are nearly 6,000 DVA clients in Townsville who access support and services. That is why Labor has announced $5 million of funding towards Townsville Oasis – a veterans hub dedicated to providing the best care possible.

There is no doubt that our ADF is a unlike other workplaces, with ADF members not able to directly negotiate their wages and conditions with their employer.

Labor will ensure that ADF members’ views are represented at both the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal and to the government by providing the Defence Force Welfare Association with $100,000 per annum to ensure our ADF members have an advocate.

Labor is committed to giving our veterans the best possible support with policies which provide tangible outcomes.

One of the most important and urgent ways we can give weight and meaning to Lest We Forget is to ensure our veterans and their families receive the support and respect they deserve.

Labor is proud to deliver this significant investment to better support our current serving members, veterans and their families.

A list of Labor’s veterans policies can be found here.

9 May 2019