Spirit of Anzac: Remembering the birth of a national mythology

Despite its age, Australia as a nation has always acquitted itself on the field of battle with honour, bravery and an undying sense of camaraderie – as we prepare to commemorate Anzac Day 2020, under a cloud of uncertainty, the virtues exemplified by the Diggers on the shores of Gallipoli remain a nation’s guiding light.

Every nation has its trial by fire. For England, the Battle of Hastings in 1066; for the US, the Battle of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War. Both serve as seminal moments in the forging of a national psyche and national identity. 

For Australia, a nation at the time that was just 14 years old, the tragic, flawed and ultimately doomed Gallipoli campaign, the brainchild of future British Prime Minister and wartime hero Winston Churchill served as the nation’s trial by fire, galvanising the nation behind the war effort and establishing a mythos that permeates the national identity to this day.

Prior to Federation, each of the six self-governing colonies had individual armies consisting of full-time soldiers, militia and volunteer units. In March 1901, the Commonwealth government assumed control of defence matters, merging the colonial forces to form the Commonwealth Military Forces (CMF).

The lead up to war and birth of a nation’s warriors

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DFWA Media Statement – Disabled Veterans Wrongly Taxed for Decades

Veterans receiving invalidity benefits from their military superannuation schemes were wrongly taxed for years according to a decision handed down in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal by Justice Logan in precedent setting test cases on Wednesday 25 March 2020.

Veterans who are medically discharged from the ADF may receive a disability benefit from their military superannuation equivalent to the benefits paid to other similarly disabled Australians from the insurance component of their superannuation.

But the ATO taxed the veterans differently, and the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), which reported the benefits to the ATO, were unable or unwilling to answer the veterans’ question: “What law are you applying to my Invalidity Benefit?”

The ATO and CSC could not answer because there was no applicable law. This ruling recognises that these were “disability superannuation benefits” and should be taxed on the same basis as for other disabled Australians. Hundreds of veterans, many discharged with mental health issues, have endured this discrimination and mistreatment for years.

DFWA calls on the government to do the right thing.
• Respect the judgement. Don’t cause further distress by appealing.
• Refund what is owed to all veterans promptly, including those who trusted you and did not lodge individual objections. These were test cases.
• No spin about loopholes. No retrospective changes to the law.

In the words of the Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019 that legislated the Veterans’ Covenant, be “sensitive to any physical or mental injury or disease they may have suffered and respect their military service.”

DFWA pays tribute to those veterans and their families who have endured the stress and the personal costs of being Test Cases for your mates.

DFWA also extends thanks to the legal team, Dan Paratore and Phil Hack, both ADF veterans, who went above and beyond. WFD.

Contacts
National President: Kel Ryan (0418) 759 120 www.dfwa.org.au
Queensland President: John Lowis (02) 5104 3106

DFWA – Voice of the Defence Community

1. Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) scheme and the Military Superannuation Benefits Scheme (MSBS)
2. Wayne Douglas vs Commissioner of Taxation. Brisbane AAT 2016/6964 and 6965; Peter Burns vs Commissioner of Taxation 2017/1647-1549 and 2017/1663

RCB Recognition – Ray Fulcher’s Appeal to DHAAT – Today’s Hearing

Ray’s appeal to the Tribunal was heard today 26th March 2020 by telephone. Following the hearing Ray reported on the RCB facebook site” Hi all. Ken (Ken Marsh RAAF) and I are very happy with how the hearing went this morning. Both because of the questions and comments from the Tribunal and their demeanour towards us. Although we can’t reveal the detail of the hearing we can say that some of the Tribunal’s comments were directly opposed to what has been the Defence position on a number of issues. There were two reps from Defence, one from honours and awards and the other from nature of service. Neither had much to say beyond they thought it was all peacetime service. The Tribunal advised that it is normally a few weeks before their final report comes out but, given the current circumstances, it may be a bit longer. RCBRG will keep everyone informed.

Here is his Ray Fulcher’s opening statement.

“I have provided the Tribunal with a comprehensive and compelling case for the upgrade of RCB service between 1970 and 1989 to warlike.

I have supported my case with over 350 primary and secondary documents, including over 130 SECRET and TOP SECRET documents.

I have set out the law as it pertains to RCB service, following Federal Court precedent and the principles set down by Justices Clarke and Mohr.

Both Justices examined the notion of incurred danger, or being exposed to the risk of harm, as a condition of ‘qualifying service’ that has been the basis of legislation and policy since 1914.

Both Justices supported the historical and legal approach to this notion in finding that the relevant danger need not be imminent nor even realised before meeting the legislative and policy threshold.

It has been this understanding of the incurred danger test that Defence have got so abysmally wrong over the past 14 years.

But this is not the only area in which Defence have erred in relation to RCB service.

The evidence on the warlike nature of RCB service has been available in the archives for decades for anyone with access, rudimentary research skills, an unbiased mind, and basic understanding of repatriation law to see.

Instead, for over a decade, those in Defence responsible for reviewing past service have tied themselves in ever more feeble and ridiculous knots to deny RCB veterans the simple recognition of their service according to law.

Every excuse Defence have manufactured in those years as a reason to deny RCB service has been embarrassed by the readily available evidence. I say embarrassed because on presentation of evidence refuting Defence’s excuses it has unfailingly refused to discuss the matter further.

I will give three frustrating examples.

  1. Defence has claimed that the presence of service families at Butterworth proved that RCB service was peacetime because “Had it been warlike, Australia would not have put families or other innocent civilians in such danger…”.[1] Defence were provided with Australian newspaper articles[2], Defence Committee minutes[3], and the 2 RAR  ‘points system’[4], all showing that ADF families were present during the First Emergency and why. Defence’s response? Silence.
  2. Defence has claimed that life at the base and in the surrounding areas went on as normal during the period, with free movement and no curfews or other restrictions.[5] It was provided with evidenced from the Straits Times and JIO intelligence reports that described curfews, house to house searches and social disjunction similar to the First Emergency and requiring similar responses.[6] Defence’s response? Silence.
  3. Defence claim that there was no state of war or emergency in Malaysia following the end of the Indonesian Confrontation. The Malaysians seem to think otherwise and Defence were provided with a link to the Malaysian Government Archives which describe the extent and severity of the armed conflict.[7] Defence were provided with reference to books written by Malaysia’s armed forces and with academic papers describing the war and emergency.[8] Defence received Ordinance No. 1 of 1969 which was the Emergency Declaration used throughout the period.[9] Numerous Australian intelligence reports detailing Malaysian armed forces operations against the communists, including fighter and bomber sorties from Butterworth, were given to Defence. In May 2019 Defence finally admitted that there was an emergency declared in 1969 but claimed that “there was no use of emergency powers in relation to communist terrorists or insurgents”. Defence were provided with the regulations promulgated under Ordinance 1 of 1969 that established special courts for communists and required those 18-55 to form “home guards” to defend their villages against communists.[10] Defence’s response? Silence.

We now have the spectacle of the VCDF confirming on the one hand that there was a threat “from hostile forces to Australian forces” at Butterworth but that Australian forces “did not incur danger from hostile forces” on the other.[11]

The problem with this however is that “threat” and “danger” are synonyms, they are interchangeable, having one and the same meaning. It is the same as saying that there was a danger to Australian forces from hostile forces but there was no danger to Australian forces from hostile forces.

The Defence position is a nonsense. Having acknowledged the threat to ADF personnel from hostile forces the only lawful avenue open is to apply the incurred danger test and confirm the warlike status of the deployment.

The incurred danger test is an objective legal test that can be applied to determine the nature of service for ADF personnel in a fair and consistent manner.

It has stood the test for over 100 years. But Defence has transformed it into a subjective assessment. That assessment relies, not on objective law and established fact, but on the current opinion of assessors as to whether the danger incurred was “significant” or “sufficient” enough to satisfy the assessors’ idea of what is worthy of warlike recognition. This approach is unjust, unfair and unlawful. It is the objective test, not subjective opinion, that must be applied.

To quote DHAAT in the case of Ubon, it is “The factual circumstances that existed in their totality and not just as appears on official documents” that must be considered.

That is why I ask the Tribunal to look at the totality of the evidence, recognise the objective danger described repeatedly in the evidence and apply the incurred danger test.

I then ask you to use your power to recommend to the Minister an upgrade of RCB service to warlike so that this injustice may finally be rectified.


[1] Miller, A., Assistant Advisor, Letter to Mr Robert Cross, Welfare Officer 8/9 RAR Association on behalf of Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, 5 September 2001.

[2] The Age, 14 October 1955. FIRST WIVES to join their soldier husbands in Malaya

[3] Notes from Defence Preparations Committee, A816 52/301/328, National Archives of Australia. “a valuable effect on morale, not only of the married members, but of the force as a whole”

[4] 2 RAR, Routine Orders, 18 November 1955, AWM95 – AACD, AWM.

[5] For instance see: Department of Defence, 2011 Nature of Service Branch Review of ADF Service at Butterworth 1970-1989, 14 October 2011; Griggs, R.J., Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Letter to RCB veterans, April 2018

[6] JIO, JIO Briefing for Assistant Services Adviser, 8 November 1971. Malaysians were asked if they “…were experiencing the same problems with squatters that existed during the First Emergency.” The Malaysians responded that “…the problem did exist and that every endeavour was being made to relocate the squatters.”

[7] “This second armed rebellion forced a second state of Emergency in Malaysia from 1968 to 1978”. … “The guerrilla warfare triggered by CPM [Communist Party of Malaya] dragged on for 21 years.”

[8] Malaysian Army’s battle against communist insurgency in Peninsula Malaysia, 1968-1989.

[9] Ordinance No. 1 of 1969, Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance.

[10] Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975 and Essential (Community Self Reliance) Regulations 1975

[11] VCDF letter to Ken Marsh. “no identified threat above low level from hostile forces to Australian forces”

“cannot be classified as equivalent to the extant warlike service classification as members did not incur danger from hostile forces”.

RELATED ARTICLE – RCB Recognition – Ray Fulcher’s personal Appeal to DHAAT

Opinion – ADF called on to step up in coronavirus war

“Australia plays a leading role in vaccine development, which can include both animal and human testing”.

“ADF personnel on deployment can, and often are exposed to dangerous, exotic diseases”.

“Yet again the government has called on the ADF to take a lead with the corona virus outbreak, appointing Lieutenant General John Frewen to head the ADF’s response to the outbreak which, one should argue is not an ADF role”.

READ MORE from Ross Eastgate

Understanding and Preventing Veteran Suicide

ALL governments are committed to ensuring we are doing all we can to prevent suicide among our serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel following the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the agreement by state and territory leaders to support the establishment of a permanent and independent National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention to inquire into all suspected veteran and ADF suicides is a significant step forward in tackling this serious and complex national issue.

“The mental health and wellbeing of our current and former ADF members is an issue of national and enduring importance, and only by working together can we make meaningful change,” Mr Chester said.    

“Leaders at the COAG meeting have asked the Council of Attorneys-General to finalise arrangements, in consultation with chief coroners, to ensure we are doing all we can to understand and prevent suicide in the serving and ex-serving population.

“I thank the members of COAG for giving this issue the attention it deserves and committing to delivering for our ADF members, veterans and their families.”

The National Commissioner will have the enduring powers and resources, formalised by terms of reference, to investigate suicides and related issues as they arise in the future, and also to review past cases, supported by the ability to conduct public hearings, receive submissions, and include families in the process should they wish.  Importantly, these are ongoing powers not restricted to a one-off inquiry as would be the case with a royal commission.

For any current or former ADF member who may be struggling with their mental health, help is available. Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides support and counselling to current ADF members, veterans and their families and can be contacted 24/7 on 1800 011 046.

16 March 2020

RELATED ARTICLES

PRESS CONFERENCE – ANNOUNCEMENT OF NATIONAL COMMISSIONER FOR DEFENCE AND VETERAN SUICIDES

50th Anniversary of Operation Hammersley

DVA held a National Commemorative Service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Operation Hammersley.18 February 2020

Commemorative event
Photo: Veterans of Operation Hammersley are thanked for their service during the National Commemorative Service for the 50th anniversary of Operation Hammersley. Department of Defence.

On 18 February 2020, DVA held a National Commemorative Service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Operation Hammersley, conducted in Phuoc Tuy Province, Vietnam. The service took place at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra.

More than 350 attendees paused to acknowledge and remember the service and sacrifice of all those who took part during the Operation. The next of the kin of those killed were among those who laid wreaths.

Operation Hammersley began in February 1970 when C Company, 8th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (8RAR), along with a troop of armoured personnel carriers from 3 Cavalry Regiment, tanks from 1 Armoured Regiment, sappers from the Royal Australian Engineers, a mortar section from 8RAR’s Support Company, along with air support, were deployed to secure a quarry site at the foot of the Long Hai Hills.

The Long Hai Hills were a stronghold for the Viet Cong and had been the target of previous operations and air-strikes. The Australians had early success during Operation Hammersley and the scope was increased until most of 8RAR became involved. While the Australians had the support of armoured vehicles, the enemy knew the lay of the land and were able to use the caves running beneath the Long Hai Hills to their advantage.

When it seemed like the Australian troops were in a position to drive the enemy out of the area, they were ordered to withdraw to make way for a B-52 air strike. The strike was accurate, but few of the enemy were killed as they expected the raid.

The Operation saw 12 Australians killed and 59 wounded, with a further two killed in the days following. Most of these casualties were caused by landmines.

Dr Robert Hall, an 8RAR veteran of Operation Hammersley, delivered the Call to Remembrance. He said:

Today is a day to reflect on the qualities of endurance and courage that characterised the Australians’ service in Vietnam, often in the most trying, difficult and dangerous of circumstances.  It is a day to reflect on what the war in Vietnam, and what operations like Hammersley, cost Australia – what it cost those who served, and what it cost their families. 

If you would like to watch the Operation Hammersley National Commemorative Service, visit the ‘Live videos’ on the DVA Facebook page. More information about Operation Hammersley is available on DVA’s Anzac Portal or on the Australian War Memorial website.  

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – CELEBRATING THOSE WHO SERVED

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – CELEBRATING THOSE WHO SERVED

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Chester download 95

 ON International Women’s Day we celebrate the achievements of   women across society and give special thanks to those who have   supported and served our country in military conflicts and   peacekeeping operations.
 Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel   Darren Chester said women have always played an important part in Australia’s rich military history and today we acknowledge and   remember their service and sacrifice.

women in war 2020 cover


“The role of women in the Australian military in peace time and during war has evolved significantly over the last century and today there is no role in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) that women can’t take on,” Mr Chester said.
“In the First World War women worked as nurses in the Australian Army Nursing Service, and others played a crucial role fundraising and producing packages to be sent to deployed soldiers.
“The role of women changed significantly during the Second World War with the formation of the women’s auxiliary services, with 50,000 women serving by 1944 and many more supporting the war effort in a civilian capacity through organisations such as the Australian Women’s Land Army.
“Following the Second World War women gradually became part of Australia’s mainstream defence forces as gender barriers in society were dismantled. However, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that the female equivalents of Australia’s Defence services were fully integrated.”
“Today almost 20 per cent of ADF personnel are women, with almost 11,000 serving in the permanent forces. This includes more than 3,000 women in the Navy, more than 4,000 in the Army, and more than 3,000 in the Air Force. A further 4,500 women serve as part of the ADF Reserve.
“Women are vital to our country’s military efforts, which we should all recognise each and every day, but importantly on International Women’s Day.”
The role Australian women have played during Australia’s military history is a focus of the 2020 Anzac Day Mail-Out. Further information about the role of women in Australia’s military history can be found on the Anzac Portal.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

The Australian – Malaya vets campaign on ‘war service’

The 9,000 men of Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) are fighting to have their deployment and its risks recognised as warlike service.

EXCLUSIVE – PAUL MALEY 28th February 2020

 ‘We were put into harm’s way’: Ray Fulcher served in the Second Malayan Emergency

‘We were put into harm’s way’: Ray Fulcher served in the Second Malayan Emergency

The year is 1972 and Gough Whitlam is fulfilling an election pledge to bring home Australian troops from Vietnam, formally ending years of armed conflict with communist insurgents across Southeast Asia.

In northern Malaysia at the Butterworth Air Base, a small contingent of Australian servicemen still carry live rounds and patrol for communist guerillas they occasionally spy peering from jungles nearby.

“There was a Rifle Company Butterworth patrol that encountered a group of communist terrorists,’’ Ray Fulcher, chairman of the RCB review group, tells The Australian. “They went to ground but there was no shots fired.’’

Nearly 50 years on and the men of Rifle Company Butterworth are fighting to have their deployment and its risks recognised as a warlike service.

It has been a long, friendless fight. Official reviews have declined to upgrade their service, a move that would entitle them to a richer array of veterans’ benefits, including a much-prized Gold Card entitling them to a range of public and private healthcare services. It would also clear the way for RCB veterans to get the Australian Active Service Medal, the badge of honour bestowed upon all Australian personnel who served in “warlike’’ theatres.

Now they are passing the hat around to fund a Federal Court challenge they hope will see their status formally changed. To Mr Fulcher, as well as to other members of the RCB veterans’ community, it is a question of fairness.

“We were put into harm’s way to counter a threat in Malaysia and support them in their operations against communist terrorists,’’ Mr Fulcher said.

“They cannot renege now on their responsibilities, which is what they’re trying to do.’’

In nearly 20 years of service, RCB members never fired a shot in anger or had one fired at them. They suffered no combat casualties. The RAAF base they were sent to guard was never attacked. The base itself was a hangover from World War II.

So it is not hard to see why the Australian Defence Force has consistently refused to recognise deployment to Butterworth as warlike.

Yet the official designation of peacetime service doesn’t quite fit either. Soldiers on training deployments — notionally the reason the RCB was sent to Malaya — don’t pack live rounds. Nor was any training done.

“The government’s big thing is that we were training with the Malaysians,’’ Mr Fulcher said. “There were one or two who did, but that was later.

“There was no way we could train with the Malaysians — they were busy with their war.’’ That “war’’ was the decades-long conflict waged between the officially recognised government of Malaysia and the Malaysian Communist Party.

It was a simmering insurgency identical in type, if not in scale, to conflicts fought in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Fifteen Australians died fighting in the First Malayan Emergency and 24 more were killed on active service.

By 1968, the communists had regrouped and launched a fresh offensive. The base at Butterworth, which had been transferred by the British to Australia in 1957, became a strategic outpost, a means by which Australia could project force into an increasingly unstable region.

Butterworth was the only airbase outside Australia where the RAAF maintained a permanent offensive presence.

Even now, Australian troops still rotate regularly through it. During the takeover by Islamic State of Marawi in the southern Philippines, the RAAF used Butterworth to send P-3 Orion spy planes to surveil the group.

In 2018, the government announced it would upgrade Butterworth to accommodate the new fleet of F-35 fighter planes.

During the 1960s, it served as a deterrent and a backstop to the Malaysian government. For this reason, Mr Fulcher thinks the 9000-odd servicemen who rotated through Butterworth from 1970-89 deserve recognition: “If the government sends people into harm’s way, that’s warlike service. If you send them somewhere where there’s a possibility they’ll be shot at, you owe them.’’

Mr Fulcher was there in 1979 when it was a fully fledged operating base, and a staging post for air combat missions flown by Malaysians against the communists.

RCBRG Comment

We thank Paul Maley for his article. In preparing the article we supplied relevant data months ago and he spoke with three of our Group separately in telephone conversations two days before its publication. We highlighted the two dominant issues that we were contesting:
Firstly, that the decision that RCB service was peacetime service similar to garrison duty in Australia and that the criteria for warlike service was met namely: a specific military objective; a specific area of operations; an enemy threat existed; there was an expectation of casualties; live ammunition was carried and that there were lethal rules of engagement.

Secondly, that the Government’s due process in handling our grievance was not applied in a fair manner. 14 years of effort by the RCB Group to exercise its right to the truth and its right to challenge the decision have been met with a Government process that is blatantly unfair.

The article fails to consider the strategic context of security threats from communist expansion (The Domino Theory) in SEA and our strategic Alliance under the Five Power Defence Arrangement with the vital role that the RAAF, deployed at Air Base Butterworth (ABB), had in providing a deterrent to further Communist aggression in South East Asia beyond the 1960s he writes of “During the 1960s, it served as a deterrent and a backstop to the Malaysian government.” Our Alliance continued through the Malaysian Emergency War 1968 -1989 and still exists today.

It does not report that the genesis of the RCB deployment was the outbreak of Malaysia’s Insurgency War in 1968 against a resurgent communist terrorists and the Australian Government’s decision Defence Committee Minute (Secret) 2/73 to protect the RAAF Assets at ABB against the threat. In that Minute it records: “This (deployment) could be presented publicly as being for training purposes”. Herewith is the deception of the true RCB’s warlike service that meets the criteria.

The article does not report our request for an independent of government judicial enquiry.

However a positive from Paul Marley’s article is that it does expose the matter to the Australian people. Our challenge is to build on that entry with our own troops and supporters in direct action campaign in the field.

It is a pity that Paul did not check his “facts” with us before publishing.

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.

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Open Arms community and peer program expands nationally

SUPPORT for veterans and their families who may be struggling with mental health conditions or at risk of suicide, will be enhanced through the Community and Peer Program which is currently being rolled out across Australia.

VA121 open arms peer advisor group

The program, run by Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (Open Arms), connects veterans and family members who may be struggling with their mental health, with peers who bring a lived experience of mental health issues and, importantly, of recovery.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester joined existing and newly recruited members of the Open Arms Community and Peer Program in Canberra as part of their week-long induction training.

“The pilot program held in Townsville, had positive results with Open Arms peers breaking down barriers to care, improving relationships with key community groups, and reducing the stigma for veterans around mental health and seeking help,” Mr Chester said.

“Since the First World War, veterans and their families have understood the importance and value of mateship that is instilled during service, placing them in a unique position to support one another. This program harnesses that mateship and ensures veterans can talk to other veterans, and families to other military families, to assist each other with the support of mental health clinicians.

“This is another important part of the support system—improving the holistic mental health and wellbeing outcomes for veterans and their families. The national roll-out is a significant step forward in improving the lives of veterans and their families.”

Twenty-nine peers, in addition to the six peers from the Townsville pilot, are being trained as Mental Health Peer Workers and will be employed at 14 Open Arms locations nationally. Also in attendance for the induction training were representatives from key veteran-run organisations with a passion for supporting veterans’ mental health, including Swiss8, Red Six and Survive to Thrive Nation.

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“You train them to go to war, we train them to come home” – Founder/CEO Dane Christison

Adrian Sutter from Swiss8 said, “The biggest take-out for me from the workshop is they get it. Open Arms seem to understand the current veteran space. They get what is needed to break the barriers with veterans at the moment, and get people coming forward firstly and then getting them the help that they need, if they need it, or just provide someone to talk to. That they understand the space is the biggest thing I’m taking away.”

The Community and Peer Program will provide Open Arms with a skilled workforce of veterans from across all three Australian Defence Force services and family representatives, to augment clinical capability across Australia by mid-2020.

Open Arms (formerly VVCS) is Australia’s leading provider of high quality mental health, counselling and support services for Australian veterans and their families, as well as some reservists and peacekeepers. To find out more about the services offered, call 1800 011 046 or visit Open Arms.

1 December 2019

Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au