International Women’s Day – Honouring the Service and Sacrifice of Women

TODAY the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester marked International Women’s Day by attending a morning tea with the War Widows Guild and their supporting organisations paying tribute to the contribution of women to the armed services throughout a Century of Service.

“I encourage all Australians to recognise and respect the role women have played serving our nation in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations since the Boer War in South Africa from 1899-1902,” Mr Chester said.

“This is also an opportunity to acknowledge the important work undertaken by women on the home front during the First World War.

“Women dealt with the uncertainty and distance from war by immersing themselves in a range of patriotic funds and volunteer work.

“Huge fund-raising concerts were organised where they sang and raised thousands of pounds in donations for the war effort. They also produced packs and gifts for soldiers, including knitted garments and food items, which brought some comfort to the horror soldiers faced.

“When soldiers returned, many women’s lives were changed forever. There were thousands of widows, children without fathers, families who had lost sons, brothers and cousins.

“As carers they experienced the war first hand, dealing with illnesses, physical and psychological scarring and permanent disfigurement.

“These women epitomise the spirit of Anzacs and their service and sacrifice has contributed to the many freedoms we enjoy today.

“In the Second World War the role of women in the workplace and the services expanded.

“No longer confined to nursing, medical and voluntary roles, they were able to join a women’s arm of each of the services.

“In the years since, roles available to servicewomen have broadened further providing opportunity for greater integration in the armed services on operational deployments both within Australia and around the world.”

“Women now represent about 17 per cent of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) undertaking roles which were unheard of even 20 years ago.

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“Today we recognise and reflect with pride and gratitude the role women play in defending our country, past and present.”

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Heroes of the Homefront – Honouring Modern-Day War Widows

GWEN Cherne has never worn an army uniform or been involved in active service. But she has devoted decades of her life to the Australian Defence Forces because she loved a man who did.
Her husband, Peter Cafe, served in Cambodia, Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq. The suffering he saw left him so traumatised that he took his own life a year ago, leaving Ms Cherne a modern-day war widow.

Over more than a century, countless women like her have soothed their defence force husbands when they were distressed, fought for help when they struggled, and carried their families through grief and loss.

Chene Family
War widow Gwen Cherne with her children Lachlan and Emily Café

They have cared for children alone; picked up their lives to move from base to base; forced a smile when their partners left and wept on their return. But their sacrifice has never been officially recognised. Until now.

On International Women’s Day this Thursday, a coalition of groups led by the War Widows Guild will launch Women United By Defence Service, a campaign to raise awareness of women’s contribution in all its different forms.

Sergeant Peter Cafe took his own life a year ago after serving our country

They will highlight the sacrifice of the 218 women who died in war, the thousands that have served, the mothers, partners and daughters that have lost loved ones, and the women quietly soldiering on the home front.
The campaign will culminate in a dinner and ceremony in Canberra in September. Participating groups include the RSL, Legacy, and the Women Veterans’ Network.
Ms Cherne says she spent years in counselling to cope with the impacts of her husband’s PTSD — the depression, the anger, the paranoia. “It impacts on our children’s mental health and ours,” she says.
She knows many women in a similar position. “For some it’s financial or physical abuse, for some it’s having to walk around the house on eggshells, which is scary and hard and frustrating,” she said.

“PTSD leaves women widows years before their husbands die.”

Brendan Nelson, director of the Australian War Memorial, said women carried the burden of their partner’s long absences, psychological suffering and sometimes death, with little acknowledgment. “The courage comes in different forms,” he said. “I’ve witnessed that courage, and it has my utmost admiration.”

JORDAN BAKER, The Sunday Telegraph
March 3, 2018

Opinion – Greens bark at wrong old dog

Greens senators Richard Di Natale and Sarah Hanson-Young this week decided they would greet incoming Senator Jim Molan with a kick rather than a sniff, and both will live to regret that decision.

Read Ross Eastgate’s  article 

Sen. Jim Molan – A yellow attack from the Greens in cowards’ castle

The Australian Editorial – 8th February 2018

Yesterday,  Mr Bandt derided Senator Molan as a “complete coward”. That it is not a misprint — the Greens MP  ….. dubbed the military leader who risked all on the battlefields of Iraq and in the liberation of East Timor a “complete coward”. 

It got even worse. Mr Bandt accused the former major general of being a war criminal. “I tell you what, if there was a proper inquiry into the war in Iraq,” the Greens MP said, “I think you’d find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise.”

That this attack was laughable, vitriolic, unbecoming and irksome must be obvious to any functioning adult. Yet Mr Bandt’s hateful intercession was no accident and he was no loner. Other Greens, including leader Richard Di Natale and senators Sarah Hanson-Young and Nick McKim, also viciously attacked Senator Molan who, within hours of walking into parliament, became a new lightning rod for far left vitriol.

A yellow attack from the Greens in cowards

The Royal Australian Regiment Association pledges its support to Sen. Molan (Major General A.J. Molan AO, DSC  (Retd)) and condemns Bandt‘s denigration of  him and by association the ADF

Duty First

Poem – Train to Win not Fall

Train to Win not Fall

Always is the pain and horror of war

No different from all generations before 

Nor changed is the bible of self-preservation for all

Still the battle cry screamed at recruits “train to win; not fall’ 


Our military is now under fire from politically correct fools

For them, war’s a game where they ignore proven rules 

Such amateurs cannot read past lessons, even in bright light

Besides, far better with heads in the sand to appease, not fight


A curse on Canberra’s recruit quotas to please a few

No matter who, selecting on merit is what you must do

Common sense demands soldiers who are the best

The smartest soldier from any quota may not pass the final test


Special badges and pandering to some is now a space age trend 

However, if you seek unity, it’s a dangerous message to send

In war it’s all about the team facing danger together

Obeying Gods with chevrons despite fear, hunger, thirst, or weather


Unity and mateship are the keys. 

Mid gore, blood, and mud, there’s no time for diversity

On the Field of Mars, soldiers will be required to risk all

Always going forward if “all for one and one for all” is the call


Combat is the ultimate test for discipline and caring for each other

Where the best of the best become true sisters and brothers

Forget quotas and rules for “them and us” at the starting gate

War is “horses for courses” where all must carry the same weight

George Mansford ©October 2017


2 RAR will be called 2 RAR (Amphib)

Following a recent CONTACT  article that suggested 2 RAR would ‘cease to exist as an infantry battalion’, new details have emerged.

In an article in ARMY newspaper today, the commanding officer of 2RAR referred repeatedly to his unit as 2 RAR (Amphib) and suggested the unit would be reduced to a headquarters and three sub-units.

While the politically correct describe the new structure as ‘leaner and more agile’, others have told CONTACT it will be about half the size of a regular infantry battalion.

The restructure will see 2 RAR focus on specialist amphibious skills, with what we think is an ‘ambitious’ aspiration to ‘still retain the ability to act as a conventional infantry battalion when required’ – while somehow, the reduced unit establishment would also ‘allow soldiers with amphibious experience to be shared across Army’.

One hint at how this might be achieved, however comes in the suggestion that “the transition is a great opportunity to harness the total force to integrate reservists and ex-serving ARA personnel”.

ARMY newspaper also introduced a “Plan Keogh” today, without explanation. CONTACT has never heard of Plan Keogh – and a search of both the Defence web site and Google failed to shed any enlightenment.

CO 2 RAR Lieutenant Colonel Doug Pashley told ARMY news it was an exciting time for 2 RAR, building on the amphibious trial and being given the opportunity to establish a world-class amphibious unit optimised for pre-landing force operations.

“Working as part of a joint team, 2 RAR (Amphib) will be the eyes and ears of Australia’s amphibious force, specialising in the use of small boats and the conduct of reconnaissance, surveillance and sniping in a littoral environment,” he said.

“They will be aiming to provide the landing force with a detailed understanding of the environment they are about to step into.

“2 RAR (Amphib) will be responsible for securing beach and helicopter landing sites in support of an amphibious landing, and will be key to enabling the landing force to come ashore and complete its mission.”

2 RAR will formally transition to Amphib on 15 October and the restructure will be marked by a parade on November 23 – the 69th anniversary of the Royal Australian Regiment.

Lieutenant Colonel Doug Pashley said they wanted to use the parade to recognise the change to 2 RAR but also to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that all ranks and all corps have made to develop Army’s amphibious capability.

ANZAC Portal Brings Australia’s War History to Life

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Mr Dan Tehan today encouraged Australians to visit The Anzac Portal website after a recent renovation. The Anzac Portal website aims to promote awareness of Australia’s wartime history. Dan Tehan
Mr Tehan said the portal now contained information and educational resources spanning campaigns from the First World War to contemporary military and peacekeeping operations.
To coincide with Vietnam Veterans’ Day on Friday, 30 interviews with Vietnam veterans and family members will be published on the Anzac Portal.
“ The Anzac Portal is part of the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in defence of our nation,” Mr Tehan said.
“The website is a free, dedicated resource that all Australians can use to gain a better understanding of our wartime history through an extensive range of educational resources.



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SBS INSIGHT – Are our soldiers equipped for the transition to everyday life?

SBS Insight
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – 20:30

Are our soldiers equipped for the transition to everyday life?

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This week, Insight speaks with veterans to see how prepared they were for civilian life and what can be done to make it easier.


Forces Gear Up to Combat Regional Terror Threats

It’s the largest amphibious assault for Australian troops since WWII but the generals are hoping Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 delivers another first in proving capability to deploy an emergency “9/11” style force to respond to insurgencies or other regional emergencies.