Virtual Reality Brings Australian Remembrance Trail to Life

VIRTUAL reality technology and stunning 360-degree drone footage are bringing the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front to Australians across the world, through an Anzac 360 app featuring interactive videos.
download 16The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Darren Chester, today launched the new app at the Sir John Monash Centre in France.
“While Gallipoli will be forever etched in our nation’s history, it was right here on the Western Front that we suffered our greatest losses during the First World War,” Mr Chester said.
“This new app and videos, developed in partnership with News Corp Australia and produced by Grainger Films, will allow all Australians, including our next generation of school children, to experience these sites from their classroom or at home in their living room.
“Most importantly, it allows those who cannot visit these sites in person the opportunity to feel like a visitor, but at the same time inspiring others to travel over here to France, or across the border in Belgium.”
“The partnership with News Corp Australia will allow us to take viewers on a journey by exploring Australia’s story on the Western Front through a present day lens and technology.”
Eight key sites and battles are explained, highlighting the challenges our troops faced some 100 years ago, from the well positioned enemy to the tactical decisions that had to be made, or moments of bravery that resulted in a Victoria Cross.
The clips merge 360-degree aerial and ground footage from the present day with period imagery, graphics and more.
“This year we have seen our nation commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battles in Le Hamel and Villers-Bretonneux, and also mark the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre, which covers just some of the topics and sites featured in these videos,” Mr Chester said.
“I encourage all Australians to download the app and view the videos, learn more about the Australian Remembrance Trail and in doing so, never forgetting our troops and what they did right here on the Western Front,” Mr Chester said.
The app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play- search Anzac 360.

10th November 2018

GOOD NEWS – RCB Review Group to meet with Minister Darren Chester

Persistence, Perseverance and Patience.

The Minister has agreed to meet with the RCB RG in Canberra on the 26th and the 27th November 2018. The first meeting is with the Minister’s Defence Advisor and Defence Department staff  and the second meeting with the Minister.

The RG in all its submission since 2006 has sought such a personal meeting without success: the government preferring to communicate in writing.

We thank the Minister and look forward to the meetings.

Federal Labor’s Commitment to Defence Personnel and Veterans

A Shorten Labor Government is committed to ensuring ADF personnel, veterans and their families are supported both during and after their service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello

Over the past two years as Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel I have announced a number of policies which Federal Labor will implement if elected.

At a recent roundtable in Brisbane, a member of the ex-serving community asked for a summary document which detailed all of our achievements to date.To this end, I have developed the below document and encourage you to share this amongst your networks.

While this is a list of the policies we have announced to date, this is not an exhaustive list of the work we have done or the only policies we will take to the next election. It will be updated as new policies are announced.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you require any assistance.

Yours sincerely

Amanda Rishworth MP
Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel

Federal Labor’s Commitment to Defence Personnel and Veterans

A Shorten Labor Government is committed to ensuring ADF personnel, veterans and their families are supported both during and after their service.

Labor has taken a number of steps while in Opposition to support veterans and ex-service personnel including establishing a Senate Inquiry into the use of anti-malarials in the ADF and backing in calls of the ex-serving community to include the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation in the Banking Royal Commission.

In addition, we have developed and announced a number of policies which we would implement if elected.

While this is a list of the policies we have announced to date, this is not an exhaustive list of the work we have done or the only policies we will take to the next election. It will be updated as new policies are announced.

Committed to signing Australia’s first Military Covenant

A Shorten Labor Government will establish a Military Covenant which will stand as a testament to our ongoing commitment to those who are or have served our country.

This solemn promise will be signed by the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Defence Force which acknowledges the unique nature of military service. Importantly, it will be accompanied by legislation which requires Government to report regularly on how they are best meeting their responsibilities to ADF personnel and the ex-serving community. Further information can be found here.

Committed $121 million to a comprehensive Veterans’ Employment Program

A Shorten Labor Government has committed $121 million over four years to address veterans’ unemployment.

Labor’s comprehensive veterans’ employment policy has four main elements which are designed to assist veterans into meaningful employment post their time in the ADF.
Helping businesses to train veterans
By providing grants of up to $5,000 per veteran for job specific training and conducting a national education campaign on benefits of hiring a veteran
A new veterans’ employment service
The service will provide comprehensive, wrap around support for up to five years
Expanded access to additional education and civilian training
By altering the eligibility requirements and funding amounts available through the Career Training Assistance Scheme funding

Translating the experience of veterans
Will work with States and Territories, Universities and industry bodies for greater automatic recognition of skills

Our comprehensive employment will best prepare those leaving the ADF to move into meaningful employment and enable businesses to take advantage of the many skills of an ex-ADF member. Further information can be found here.

Will develop a Family Engagement and Support Strategy

A Shorten Labor Government will give families a seat at the table and a voice when it comes to the services available to them.

As recommended by the National Mental Health Commission, Labor will develop a national family engagement and support strategy which will provide a national blueprint to include engagement of DVA with military families. It will also ensure the best practice support for families of serving personnel and ex-ADF members is consistently available across the country.

Importantly, it will address the lack of engagement with families and acknowledgement of the critical role they play. Further information can be found here.

Will establish the Western Front Fellowship

A Shorten Labor Government will establish the Western Front Fellowship located at the Sir John Monash Centre in Villers-Bretonneux.

The fellowship Program will offer eligible post-secondary students a four-month placement at the new Sir John Monash Centre, representing some of Australia’s most-important history to visitors.

Fellows in the program will work full-time, and will be supported financially through a stipend wage, receive rent assistance and be partially reimbursed for their flights.

They will have the opportunity to develop and refine their expertise in Australian military history, responsible for taking tours, giving presentations, and answering questions about Australia’s military history around the Western Front. Further information can be found here.

Established the Senate Inquiry into the use of anti-malarials in the ADF

In response to the continued concerns of members of the ex-serving community, Labor established a Senate Inquiry into the use of anti-malarials in the ADF, which is currently taking evidence and due to report back at the end of November.

Labor called for the inquiry as we believed it was important to work through this issue in an open and transparent manner and provide a thorough and comprehensive report about the use of Quinoline anti-malarial drugs in the ADF. Further information can be found here.

Called for the inclusion of Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation in the Banking Royal Commission

Labor has backed in the calls of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations and the National Returned and Services League of Australia for the Royal Commission into the misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry to include the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.

As it stands, the CSC has been excluded from the Terms of Reference preventing current ADF members, veterans and public servants from having confidence in their superannuation fund.

Labor continues to call on the Federal Government to include CSC in the Terms of Reference. Further information can be found here.

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RCB E-News Update – 3/2018

Since the last Update the Review Team has been actively involved in further evidence discoveries and representations to the Government’s House of Representatives Petitions Committee, complaint and appeal to the Defence Ombudsman, letters to all Parliamentarians and meetings with Sen Jim Molan, Sen Fraser Anning and other Senators including a chance encounter with Minister Darren Chester.

Defence has bunkered down to behind a wall of silence ignoring our demands for an independent-of- Government public inquiry.
Yet there are cracks appearing from two sources: firstly, Minister Chester has agreed to a meeting with the Team and secondly, the Katter Australian Party leader Bob Katter’s public announcement supports RCB recognition as warlike.

READ MORE

RCB UPDATE 3 20181030

PM’s Media Release – Recognising and Respecting our Veterans

Veterans and their families are at the centre of a fresh package of initiatives from our Government to recognise their vital role and service to Australia.
We understand the home front is just as important as the front line.
Our Government will develop an Australian Veterans’ Covenant that will be enacted in legislation so the nation can recognise the unique nature of military service and support veterans and their families.
Like the United Kingdom Armed Forces Covenant, the Australian Veterans’ Covenant is for the Australian community to recognise the service and sacrifice of the men and women who commit to defend the nation, and pledge their commitment to support veterans and their families.
As part of this Veterans’ Covenant, a new Australian Veterans’ Card and an Australian Veterans’ Lapel Pin will make it easier for all Australians to recognise and respect the unique contribution that veterans have made to Australia and for our veterans to reconnect with others who have served.
As we have seen throughout the Invictus Games and in the lead up to the Centenary of Armistice, Australians want to acknowledge and show respect for our veterans who have given so much in their service.
Businesses, government and community organisations can also play their part in recognising and respecting those who have served. The card and the pin can help these organisations identify veterans when they aren’t wearing their uniform or medals, so they can offer discounts and extra support.
The new Card and Lapel Pin will for the first time enable everyone across the nation to recognise and acknowledge the unique nature of military service and support the more than 300,000 veterans in Australia and their families.

The Prime Minister will be writing to businesses and communities to urge them to recognise the service of our veterans.
In addition to the record $11.2 billion annual support our government delivers for veterans and their families, we will invest $11.1 million in these measures to deliver a national approach to recognise veterans and will further consult defence and veterans communities in coming weeks.
We will also deliver $6.7 million to develop the SoldierOn Fussell House accommodation facility to be co-located at the Concord Repatriation Hospital in Sydney that the NSW Berejiklian Government is investing more than $340 million to rebuild. This includes the National Centre for Veterans Health – an Australian first, state of the art centre for specialised health care for veterans.
Named for Lieutenant Michael Fussell who was serving with the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan when he was killed in action by an Improvised Explosive Device detonation, the facility will house up to 40 veterans and their families at a time and will especially benefit those from regional and rural areas when veterans are getting treatment.
Our Government will also invest $7.6 million for the Kookaburra Kids Defence Program to boost their targeted support to children of ex-serving defence force members who are experiencing mental health issues due to their service.
The Kookaburra Kids Defence Program was first supported by our government with a $2.1 million injection in a pilot program in NSW, the ACT, Queensland and the NT for 569 children, and this extra investment will see the program expand into Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia for 1,750 children.
As a country we can always do more to recognise and back in our veterans. Our government is committed to setting Australia up to support the veterans of today and tomorrow.

THE HON SCOTT MORRISON MP, PRIME MINISTER
THE HON DARREN CHESTER MP, MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS; MINISTER FOR DEFENCE PERSONNEL; MINISTER ASSISTING THE PRIME MINISTER FOR THE CENTENARY OF ANZAC
JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT
Saturday, 27 October 2018

The Fighting Season – Premieres Sunday, October 28 at 8.30pm

Fighting Season, is a new six-part event TV drama about Australian soldiers that will premiere Sunday, October 28 at 8.30pm on Fox Showcase or you can stream it on Foxtel Now.

Set in 2010, a platoon of soldiers returns from Afghanistan after a controversial mission where their commander was killed.

Fighting Season is the story of these men, the unfolding mystery of what really happened, and importantly the impact keeping this secret has on them and their families. It delves into the real impact of trying to re-integrate into civilian and family life, and how our soldiers and their families continue to be affected both mentally and physically when they return home from war.

You don’t stop fighting just because you’re home.

 

These stories are important, a significant part of our modern history that until now have not been explored in the drama space on our TV screens.  It is equally important to the producers that the military community, both serving and ex, have the opportunity to see their lives represented on our drama screens.

 

 

Episodes 1 & 2 will also be screened at the Veteran’s Film Festival on November 3, with a Q&A with some of the cast and crew to take place after the screening.

 

 

 

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id-rLivZuQs

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fightingseasononfoxtel/

 

The Australian – Closure now closer for families of Australians lost in Korean War

A long-awaited agreement with the US to identify Australian war dead from the Korean conflict has finally been signed, boosting Canberra’s case to join the Americans in recovering the remains of missing soldiers and airmen.

Families of the 43 Australian servicemen still listed as missing in action in North Korea applauded the memorandum of understanding, which came as South Korean President Moon Jae-in ­arrived in Pyongyang for crucial talks with Kim Jong-un.

The MOU between the Australian Defence Department and the Pentagon was first mooted in 2011 to establish a framework to share DNA and other identifying information in case a repository of remains held by the US military in Hawaii contained those of Australians killed in the 1950-53 war.

Progress stalled 11 months ago after a draft of the agreement was settled, frustrating relatives of the Australian MIAs as the final text bounced back and forth between Canberra and Washington.

Ian Saunders, the point man for the families whose father is among the missing, said the agreement could provide a basis for Australian investigators to gain access to suspected burial sites should the North Koreans honour their word and let Americans in.

“There have been breakthroughs before but this is the ultimate to date in terms of getting identification of the remains,” said Mr Saunders, 70. His father, Private John Saunders, was reported missing, presumed killed, in January 1953 in a fierce clash between Australian troops and Chinese regulars on the North Korean side of what’s now the demilitarised zone that divides the peninsula.

Mr Saunders, who turned five the day after his dad went missing, said: “The MOU is a big step forward for us. It’s the green light to pursue things more actively.”

Korean Veterans Association of Australia president Tom Parkinson, who was in the line to the left of John Saunders’s battalion at the time he went missing, insisted the families of the MIAs deserved to bring them home. “It’s long overdue that there is some sort of … finality,” he said. “And none of us are getting any younger.”

The Australian government approached the US to piggyback on its deal with the North Koreans after Donald Trump tied the return of remains to his offer to ease crippling economic sanctions on the rogue state if Kim gave up his nuclear arsenal. Confirming the MOU, a Defence spokesman said last night it formalised long-standing arrangements between the US and Australia to share information on war dead.

Mr Moon’s three-day trip to the North Korean capital is the first by a South Korean leader in a decade but his third meeting with Kim this year, raising hopes they can revive a peace process that looks to have stalled after the hype of the June breakthrough with Mr Trump faded.

The Australian MIA families were advised by the Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties Unit this week that the MOU had been signed by the US Defence POW/MIA Accounting Agency, cementing a close relationship over Korean War dead.

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Mr Parkinson, 85, still has raw memories of the night Mr Saunders’ father went missing at the foot of Maryang San, the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting involving Australians. He was a young machinegunner in 1RAR, dug in alongside John Saunders’s battalion, 3RAR, when the 25-year-old private was killed on January 25, 1953. He was one of six who died when a 31-man patrol led by Lieutenant Geoff Smith ran into a concentration of Chinese troops. The officer was among the presumed dead; another seven Australians were taken prisoner.

Mr Parkinson lost friends at Maryang San, a bitter battle for a hill about 2km inside the North Korean DMZ. In July 1952, Lieutenant Laurie Ryan of 3RAR was reported killed alongside two his men, but Mr Parkinson heard conflicting accounts of what had actually happened.

Mr Saunders said he was con­fident his father’s grave would be found if investigators were ­allowed into North Korea.

Jamie Walker, Associate Editor
19 September 2018


RCB Service Recognition – Senator Anning’s Questions to Marise Payne

In the Senate Question Time yesterday, 18th September, Senator  Fraser Anning  (Katter’ s Australian Party) asked  Sen. Marise Payne three questions on RCB Service recognition as warlike during the Malaysian Counter Insurgency War.

We thank Senator Anning for his support. He has read the evidence and is championing our claim for an independent inquiry

You can watch the event here:

A challenge to  the accuracy of Senator Payne’s answers is being prepared by the RCB Review Group. Until we present that challenge we ask our supporters to keep calm.

Senate’s Support of a Australian Military Covenant Welcomed

The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), together with not only its partners in the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) but also with the support of the Returned and Services League of Australia, have long advocated the need to formally recognise the unique nature of military service through a legislated Australian Military Covenant.

A motion for adopting such a Covenant was moved in the Senate and passed on Wednesday 12 September 2018. In commenting on the welcome development, the Association’s National President, Kel Ryan, wished to congratulate Katter’s Australia Party Senator Fraser Anning for his initiative in proposing the motion, stating that: “bi partisan effort should now be applied to make sure that legislative processes for the proposed Australian Military Covenant could finalized in time for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice marking cessation of hostilities in the Great War”.

Kel wished to also acknowledge both the Government’s and the Labor Opposition’s support for a Military Covenant, each progressing towards enshrining the mutual obligations between the Nation and its servicemen and servicewomen and placing on public record the Nation’s enduring obligations to those who currently serve and those who once served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

He proffered that: “the Covenant would promote greater awareness and understanding of the demands placed on ADF members and dovetail in perfectly with the Prime Minister’s employment initiative because ADF members are a national resource that can bring enormous value to the Australian workforce and, if properly harnessed, will significantly enhance the skill sets in Australian commercial enterprises for the benefit of the nation and its economic competitiveness”.

Contacts

Anning Continues to Fight for Veterans Covenant

During Question Time today, outspoken KAP Senator for Queensland Fraser Sen AnningAnning kept the pressure on the Government ensuring they legislated an Australian Military Covenant. Speaking afterwards, Senator Anning expressed his frustration at the apparently vague and evasive responses by the Minister.
“After my motion yesterday which called for the legislation of an Australian Military Covenant was passed by the Senate, I continued my push today by questioning Minister Payne on the Governments apparent lethargy.”
“I asked what the Government’s position was on the establishment of the Covenant; however despite the Minister making all the right noises, there was no specific commitment and only a vague reference to the end of 2018.”
“To say the least I am sceptical of her actual commitment, as the Government has had since 2015 to implement anything meaningful and so far they haven’t.”
“If we look at the situation honestly there has been ample time to consult with veterans groups and develop a Covenant which honours our social contract and moral obligation to look after our veterans.”
“It is only now after my strong and continued push along with Labors election promise that the Government is willing to do something.”
“Let’s be clear, there is no further requirement for more “consultation” or the establishment of yet another “working group.” The wording of a draft Australian Military Covenant has been provided already by the veteran’s community.”
“My supplementary question put to the Minister also asked if she was prepared to recognise a reversal of the onus of proof in veteran’s disability claims.”
“The response was not very hopeful.”
“It is very clear that the onus should be reversed and at the very least be the same level of willingness to compensate veterans as Centrelink provides to those seeking welfare,” Senator Anning said.
“As I have said before, our great nation has been built on the backs and sacrifice of our military. Now is the time to stop equivocating, dithering and playing political games. It is now the time for the government to act.”
”What the veteran community deserves is a specific commitment stating when the Government will enshrine the Australian Military Covenant in legislation. Until then, they are just honeyed words and insincere placation,” Senator Anning concluded.
14 September 2018

Katters Australian Party

RARA Comment 

We acknowledge and appreciate Senator Anning’s and  the KAP’s advocacy on veterans’ issues in the Senate.