RARA Qld E News – 5/2019 December 2019

President’s Message

President Photo

We have had a busy period since the last ENews, some good and some sad.
Remembrance Day at The Walk and Contemplation Building for the last eleven years has been one of the highlights on our calendar. We host the Year 6 Class from McDowall State School (136 pupils) for a Remembrance Day Service. I say it is a highlight because since I have been involved with The Walk over the last seven years I have been involved with Ted in hosting the teachers and students.

Part of their curriculum is the study of Australian History which includes our involvement in all wars. Their enthusiasm and knowledge is amazing and they appreciate the chance to be able to visit The Walk and understand the meaning of Service and Sacrifice.

Conversely, only a few people turned up for the 1100 hour service. Other units within the Barracks are now conducting their own service. As a consequence, one of my targets for 2020 is to encourage greater attendance at both the Remembrance Day and the ANZAC Dawn Service at the Walk.

We are well advanced with transitioning from RARA Old to The Royal Australian Regiment National Memorial Walk Association by 1st January 2020. My Management Team of Greg Decker, Phil Challands, Peter Brennan, Trevor Pond and Ted Chitham will implement the transition until the end of the 2019-2020 financial years. At that time the RAR Corporation Board will decide from the applications received, appoint the Manager of the NMW entity.

On a personal note this year I have written a Concept Paper on the History of Infantry in Australia from our first deployment in Sudan to the present time. It covers our Colonial Forces, our Militia and the formation of The Royal Australian Regiment.  The paper is aimed at teaching the soldier/junior officer our proud history and achievements and lays a platform for all NCO/Offr to gain information to pass on to the soldier.  Our Head of Infantry has approved its distribution.

The sad news is that we lost a soldier and a proud member of the Regimental. Many of our comrades have passed on but this bloke had a special place in my heart – Alan Norcott aka Corncob. My appreciation of him is recorded later in this News.

At this Christmas/New Year holiday season I wish you and your families the compliments of the season. And remember to ask your mates RUOK

The National Memorial Walk

Remembrance Day Service – McDowall State School

Appreciation from David Pedwell, Deputy Principal McDowall State School.

“The staff and student of McDowall State School thank the Royal Australian Regiment Association for hosting their visit to the National Memorial Walk. This is a valuable experience for the students. They learn a lot as you can see from some of their reflections that I have included in the attached letter of thanks.”

McDowall State School – National Memorial Walk – Remembrance Day 2019

Thank you for spending your own time showing us the
amazing people who die protecting our beautiful
country that we are lucky to be living in now. Looking
through the gardens makes me feel grateful of what
those men and women have done. In the future on
Remembrance Day I would take a walk through our
country, be silent, and then say we will remember
you. Bailee

The Walk of Remembrance was a great excursion but a serious one as well. I really enjoyed hearing about what happens at the army barracks and looking at all the memorials of fallen soldiers. I think planting a tree for every man and woman that died in a war is a very respectful and nice action for the families of those soldiers. 6C3 is very thankful for having such a pleasant opportunity to learn about the wars and mottoes of the army barracks. Braedon

The walk of remembrance was a very touching excursion, showing us the amount of lives lost in certain battles. My favourite area we went to, it would have to be just the overall commemoration of the soldiers that meet their demise away from home. I learnt that the soldiers died not in vane as they sacrificed being with their loved ones to protect what was important to them. Having known they protected their country and the future generations meant our country could thrive and live on in peace. Thank you for your service. River W

Thank you for letting the whole of Year 6 come to this special commemoration. I felt sad looking through the gardens of soldiers who have passed helping our country. My favourite part was walking up and down and seeing some of the soldier’s favourite things lying against their post. I hope Remembrance Day is a special day forever. Thank you for making it possible for us to come to your wonderful place. Sincerely Indiana

Thank you so much RSL for organising for McDowall to go to the memorial. I learnt so much at the barracks. Without you, this would not be possible. When I walk through the gardens, I felt really sad for all the people that fought for our country. Thank you so much again for making this possible. Max

It is my pleasure to thank you welcoming us to the Enoggera barracks to learn and commemorate Remembrance Day. Seeing the names still being commemorated to this day, really touched my heart. Preston

Thank you to the people who gave us a trip to the barracks and thank you for the service you gave at the start. Benjamin When I was walking through the garden, what I felt was a deep, sad feeling that would never be forgotten. Brynley I think planting a tree for every soldier that died in battles is a very respectful and nice action for the families of those soldiers. Tanish

Dads’ Army

Dads’ Army continues to keep the Walk in good shape while Margaret Devereux continues to provide her gourmet cakes and biscuits and the lads go about their tasks without supervision. Ken Cupples is so well programmed that he still appears to assist us

Getting ready for the transition is well underway in the documentation field with the assets register and projects schedules being updated. There will be no change to the operations of Dads’ Army with necessary approved support from the designated RAR resident Battalion. Our sincere thanks for their support.

During the “official” Christmas break there will be some stalwarts who will continue to closely maintain watch over the Walk, essentially to keep it watered.

The Walk is a showpiece included on the itinerary of visiting military dignitaries and in 7 Brigade’s Orientation Program for senior school students considering a military career. We provide an Escort from one of our team (Dave McDonald, Ted Chitham, Glenn Willman and Alan Price) for these “show and tell” visits.  The visit has been extended by the students working on NMW maintenance tasks.

Weekly Event. Every Monday 6.00 – 9.00 am Dad’s Army at the NMW. All welcome

30 Dec 19 – Kilcoy Racing

04 Jan 20 – Kilcoy Races

17-19 Jan 20 – 8/9 RAR Association Camp Out

20 Jan 20 – NMW Commences

28 Jan 20 Kilcoy Races – Australia Day

03 Feb 20 – Flag Pole Service NMW

07 Feb 20 – Rifleman’s Lunch Mooloolaba

10 Feb 20 – NMW Orientation Day

27 Feb 20 – Long Hai Day visit to NMW and 8/9 RAR

28 Feb 20 – Long Hai Day Service at Tweed Heads

02 Mar 20 – Flag Pole Service NMW

06 Mar 20 – Rifleman’s Lunch Mooloolaba

THE PASSING PARADE OF WARRIORS – THEIR DUTY DONE

Our Country is in mourning, for
A SOLDIER DIED TODAY

August- November 2019

Alan Norcott – 6 RAR, 8 RAR & 8/9 RAR

Peter Madden – 6 RAR

Robert “Bob” Powell – 3 RAR

Bill McDonald – 2 RAR, 4 RAR & 9 RAR

Brian “Father” Bourke – 6 RAR

Lyndon Bolton – 9 RAR

James Saxton – 4 RAR

Harry Brayley – 2/19 INF, 1 RAR

Geoff Thomas – 6 RAR & 7 RAR

Phillip Gould – 2/4 RAR, 9 RAR, SASR & 1CDO REGT

Wally Buckland – 6 RAR

Tim Fischer AC – 1 RAR

Clifford Bruce Cornish –   RAR

Jim Townley – RAA

A Warrior’s Farewell

Go now and travel beyond the void
Seek the green column and when you meet
See once more those smiling faces
Hear again laughter and sounds of marching feet

No more the visions of the bloody past
Gone are the nightmares and lingering pain 
Soon you will be home at long, long last 
United with fallen comrades once again 

And when the final roll is called
Another page of history complete 
You will rest with brave spirits such as they
In a camp where you will find restful sleep

Go swiftly now and seek your past 
Your duty done for all to tell 
With pride of who and what you were 
And now we bid you a fond farewell

George Mansford – December 2007

RARA Qld – End of an ERA

As we close this chapter of the RARA’s history we look back to recognise and appreciate the contribution of those men and women who made the RARA Qld the leader and custodian in the formation of the RARA National Memorial Walk, the National Secretariat of the combined RAR National Associations (State/Territory and Battalion Associations) and ultimately today’s RAR Corporation

In 1968 the GOC Northern Command Maj Gen F G Hassett called a meeting of all serving and past serving RAR members living in South East Qld to be held at the United Services Institute building in Victoria Barracks Brisbane. The purpose of this meeting was to establish the amount of interest there was in forming a “Royal Australian Regiment “Association.

He spoke of the associations formed by Infantry units after WW1 & WW2 and stressed that the time was right for the RAR to do the same, and to be able to march behind our own banner on occasions such as ANZAC Day. Those present agreed.

Maj Gen Hassett appointed a steering committee (Maj David Kayler-Thompson, Maj Bill Chitts and WO1 “Tiny” Dugan) to ascertain the feasibility of forming such an organization.

The steering committee reported that it was feasible and desirable.

An implementation committee was appointed whose initial members were Maj Kayler-Thompson President, Maj Bill Chitts, WO1 “Tiny” Dugan & WO1 Sammy Beam   Fees were set at $5.00 per annum for ordinary members or a “Life Membership”for $15.00.

The roles of the Association developed over the years are:

  • to provide camaraderie with social activities for the members and their families;
  • to commemorate RAR unit battle honours and preserve the memories of those who died on overseas service;
  • to provide an advisory and delivery pensions and welfare support service; and
  • to protect our members/families service entitlements by representation where necessary to the Government and relevant authorities.

Highlights of RARAQ history include:

  1. The construction of The RAR National Memorial Walk in 1996 and from that the volunteer maintenance group known as Dads’ Army.
  2. The establishment and operation of a Federal Secretariat in 2007 for the combined RAR State/Territory and RAR Battalion Associations, specifically to advocate as the RAR united voice of our RAR Family to the Government for their well-being and protection of their service entitlements.
  3. In 2009, the establishment from the RARA National body to the Royal Australian Regiment Corporation with the same roles.
  4. The establishment of ADSO in 2010 with other major ESOs to advocate with one voice to Government for the Defence Community’s well-being and protection of their service entitlements.
  5. In 2017 the unveiling of the RAR Memorial in Ferguson Park Samford Rd Enoggera. BCC approved the Park to be jointly named The Royal Australian Regiment Place

The success of RARAQ  is the result of the dedication of many people (men, women and their families), too many to name in this brief article, who selflessly volunteered themselves to fill many of the roles on management committees, maintenance groups such as Dads’ Army, special projects and our representatives on Government Committees.  But here are some named:

Presidents: David Drabsch, David Kayler-Thompson,“Tiny” Dugan, Scruffy McGovern, Ray Towie, Neil Eiby, Alf Handley, Ted Chitham, Kel Ryan, Alf Vockler, Neil Weekes and Dave McDonald

Secretaries: Sammy Beam, Ron Organ, Ken Dunn, Neil Bremner, Allan Whelan, Rick Hollingdrake and Greg Decker.

Treasurers: Sammy Beam, Kiwi Gibbons, John Stevens, Ron Goodall, Phil Challands and Trevor Pond

NMW: Mick Servos, Murray Blake and his Committee (Laurie Hall and John Carauna), Kiwi and Margaret Gibbons, Paul Gallagher, Peter Brennan and Theresa Muggeridge

Other Notables: Darcy Dugan, Rod Slater, Ken Cupples, Padre Gary Stone, Ron and Jerry Woodrow, Barry Stalder, Arthur Willemse just to name a few

Women: Margaret Gibbons, Barbara Handley, Patricia Eiby, Gail Dugan, Margaret Devereux, Selma Cupples to name a few.

The Regiment: The RAR Council (all Battalion COs and RSMs) and particularly the  resident Battalions in Gallipoli Barracks 6 RAR and 8/9 RAR

We thank all those named and un-named who have contributed to the success of our RARAQ Association and for their dedication to service and sacrifice for The Regiment, Australia and our people and to Keeping the Regimental Spirit Alive. You are true exemplars of the Regiment’s motto DUTY FIRST

We ask for your contribution to continue with our new entity dedicated to the promotion and maintenance of The Royal Australian Regiment’s National Memorial Walk.

This brief article will be expanded on and become registered with the RAR Bibliography to be part of the Regiment’s recorded history.

A tribute to the volunteers of The Royal Australian Regiment Association – Still Soldiering On in Mufti

“Soldiering is a life experience and for most never to be forgotten. From the very moment that the oath is sworn, you are for the time being, just another unfortunate creature whose mother sold you to the military for a silver coin. 

What the recruiting sergeant conveniently did not mention is that a total and rigid obedience to military regulations was obligatory.

          Incredibly as each uncoordinated group experienced the wrath of instructors at varying level of rank, slowly and surely the rabble became a team with instinctive obedience to all commands

          Military history records the deeds of units in both peace and war yet often fails to recognize those who made it so and the powerful spirit of unit pride and mateship which old soldiers carry to the grave and perhaps beyond.  Such spirit and loyalty to unit did not just happen, but began with the very first shrill bark of command by a non- commissioned officer.

          In time, with hard and demanding training, strangers became friends and then comrades. Individual views and uncoordinated action were transformed into a team with clear purpose and action.

          No one can determine exactly when the precious brother and sister hood arrived to embrace both unit and regiment. However, there is no evidence whatsoever it came to be with a wave of a General’s baton or a space age politician making promises.
 

          What we do know is that the military family gathered strength with each demanding challenge and recognition of achievements in peace or war. We do know the demands of high standards were met, and with it came even more confidence, battle discipline, individual and collective pride. With all of these assets was the most valuable legacy of the ANZAC spirit.

          It is not surprising that as each column converts to mufti, there are many volunteers who continue to shepherd the thinning ranks with sharing and caring and reminding society of who and what they still are.
 

          Thus my compliments to all volunteers of all military associations and in particular those I have seen at first hand being The Royal Australian Regiment Association (RARA), The Australian Training Team Vietnam Association (AATTV) and 51st Battalion , Far North Queensland Regiment Association”

Old Soldiers Never Die

Time has aged those who once wore the proud badge of the Roo

The gaps in the ranks of old warriors are more than a few

Gone the spritely step and strong pulse beat

No more the singing round campfires on readymade seats

Yet still the memories of roll calls for so many brothers

Still young soldiers at heart, so ready to help each other

Beat the drums and sound the bugle call

All for one and one for all

Soldiers grow old yet always a powerful regimental spirit is there
 Thanks to volunteers who are seen to be everywhere

They’ve traded rifle for names and addresses of mates in strife

No need of compass to find the home of a widow, once an army wife

Work parties maintain walls with proud names of fallen to be seen

Reunions, charity, funerals and telling school kids what ANZAC means

Beat the drums and sound the bugle call

All for one and one for all

In turn, each generation of the Regiment marches on and on

Until at last it blurs and fades on distant horizons and is gone

In each passing column, volunteers step forward to seize the flame

Dressed in mufti, armed with pen and phone, are on duty again

Old and new sentries have changed and the relief is complete

With mateship, sharing, caring, and despite weary shuffling feet

Beat the drums and sound the bugle call

All for one and one for all

George Mansford © December 2019

Check your Mates

Please check your mates as a standard procedure. There are some who find it difficult to cope due to a number of factors, mainly they are alone so reach out to a mate and ask RUOK:  one phone call can make a huge difference.

The Operation Compass program has proven to be very effective, Check it out and see their videos here

Note that the RARA supports Trojans TrekVeterans Care,Overwatch Australia and Survive to Thrive

DVA – Men’s Health Peer Education (MHPE) Magazine — Vol. 18 No. 2 2019 — Mental Health Edition

Overview: Inside this issue: PT with the Governor-General of Australia, Gardens, great for the soul and body

Insomnia – There’s a reason why you can’t switch your brain off at night

Do you ever wake at night and find yourself worrying about life and trying to problem-solve issues, unable to get back to sleep? We now know what’s happening in your brain to cause it.

RAAF’s secret drone selection criteria

It has been revealed [to me in a vision] that the Royal Australian Air Force’s selection criteria for its new armed drones included…

Read More

Former Army officer appointed AWM Director

Former Army officer and diplomat Matthew Anderson will replace Brendan Nelson as Director of the Australian War Memorial.

Read more

READ RSL NEWS ONLINE

Edition 4 of Queensland RSL News can now be read online:

  • 20 years of peace in Timor
  • Meet our refreshed Executive

Explore the Barracks – gates thrown open for family fun day

READ MORE

FINDING VETERANS A PLACE TO CALL HOME

Safe, permanent housing is one of our most basic needs but sadly, some veterans are lacking just that.

Whether couch surfing, living in your car or living rough, we can help you find a place to call home.

Since launching in late 2017, our Homelessness program has helped 130 veterans find secure, stable accommodation.

LEARN MORE

NATIONAL ADVOCACY NEWS

The RAR Corporation (RAR Association National), advocates to Government to protect the service entitlements and well-being of the Defence Family (current and past serving military persons and their families). It does this directly in its own right as well as through the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO). By being represented on the PM’s Advisory Council on Mental Health PMAC (Mike von Berg), DVA’s ESO Round Table (ESORT) (Mike von Berg), the Younger Veterans Forum (YVF) (Phil Thompson) and the Operations Working Party (OWP)(Clem Russell) we have direct input into DVA.

Visit the ADSO website here

SIMPLER ACCESS TO MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR VETERANS

https://rarnational.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/DVA-62.jpg

VETERANS who currently have to pay for their medical treatment upfront and wait to be reimbursed will only need to present their Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) health card to pay for their treatment under changes to the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) passed through Parliament yesterday.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said around 4000 MRCA veterans and their families would benefit from the change, which is part of DVA’s transformation program to make processes faster and easier for veterans and their families to gain access to the support they need.

OMBUDSMAN’S INQUIRY INTO DFRDB COMMUTATION DECISION – APOLOGY BUT NO COMPENSATION

The Ombudsman’s office (11th December) released a Media Statement on the outcome of his inquiry into DFRDB Commutation. A copy of that Statement and the Ombudsman’s Report is here.

Ministerial Statement

The Government acknowledges the release of the Commonwealth   Ombudsman’s independent investigation into the Defence Force   Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) scheme. The Government   listened to the concerns of the ex-service community in initiating an independent review of the DFRDB scheme, which focused on the accuracy of information provided about commutation by the Department of Defence (Defence), the Australian Defence Force (ADF) or the scheme administrators, such as the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC).

While the investigation found that some information provided by Defence in the 1980s and 1990s regarding commutation was incorrect, the Ombudsman concluded that the decision to commute was, and still is, the more financially beneficial option.

READ THE APOLOGY

ADFRA’s DFRDB UPDATE – September 2019

The Australian Defence Force Retirees Association (ADFRA) acts on behalf of Defence Force retirees and their military superannuation grievances. DFRDB […]

RCB Recognition – Update 5/2019: From Deception to Exposure – 2020 Action

This month we saw the 30th Anniversary of the end of The Malaysian Counter Insurgency War (1968-1989) and early next year the 50th anniversary of the initial deployment of a combat infantry rifle company to protect the RAAF assets at Air Base Butterworth against the communist insurgent threat.

It’s almost 14 years since the RCB Review Group formally exercised it’s  fundamental right to the truth and contested the Government’s decision that RCB service was unwarlike  similar to peacetime garrison duty in Australia . It that time despite the overwhelming evidence discovered under FOI which revealed a deception and that the RCB RG has been denied a fair and just process that has been well documented and begs the question of a breach of the PM’s Ministerial standards.

READ MORE

Kilcoy Diggers

Thus far, it’s been another successful and satisfying year, providing support to Kilcoy Race Club. The Xmas Cup meeting on Saturday 30 November was a great success with the new ($1M) facilities completed that will be envied by all other Tier 2 SEQ race tracks.

At this latest meeting we again saw three grass track trotting/pacing races, the only place in Queensland where this occurs.


As well as the major race days on a weekend, Kilcoy Diggers also provides limited support to mid-week meetings when entry is free.

These events are also a great social picnic day opportunity to experience. So in the New Year get your social group together and come enjoy the experience

Here is the KilDigs dressed for their support activities

Back R L to R : Arthur Willemse, Phil Wolfenden, Glen Willmann, Terry Dex, Rod Slater, Lou Kucks, Barry Shipway,  Uncle Noel  Des Prien
Front Row L to R: Michael Van Brough, Ross Wyatt, Kim Morgan, Julie Slater, Ron Wyatt

YULETIDE FESTIVAL OF RACING AND PACING

From Con Searle, President                                                         
“Kilcoy racing officials have introduced exciting new concepts for the Yuletide Festival of Racing and Pacing. Following the unveiling of a brand new cafeteria and attractive improvements to the betting ring and surrounds late last month, the Kilcoy Race Club will stage its first standalone harness meeting on Monday December 30.

Also, Athletics officials have embraced the inaugural running of the $5000 Kilcoy Gift, a professional sprint over 120 metres to be staged on Australia Day. There will be four heats early in the day with the final to be run late afternoon. Bookies will bet on all events.
“We hope this event will become the Stawell Gift of Queensland,” “This first running will be a highlight of what we hope will be a family

day. It’s a Sunday and it will be free entry for kids who no doubt will be interested in the mini-trot races which are run between the gallop races.”

The Yuletide Kilcoy racing gets under way on Friday 20TH December with free entry for a seven event TAB meeting followed by the all trots meeting ten days later.

The New Year gallop meeting of eight events will be held on Saturday January 4. National and international television coverage of this meeting will no doubt attract favourable comments on the lush state of the turf track. “We are blessed to be allocated 140,000 litres of treated water daily and even through the drought of recent months the Kilcoy track has been bright green,”
“I’m really excited by the package of racing and entertainment we have programmed over the Festive season and on to Australia Day. The Somerset Regional Council have been wonderfully supportive of all the events staged at the Kilcoy racecourse including the annual Show and polocrosse matches.”

Note that Con is a great supporter and benefactor of the RAR National Memorial Walk

Honorary Life Member – Ken Cupples

For his outstanding service over a long period of time to the RARAQ and particularly the National Memorial Walk, Ken has been granted this honour. Congratulations from all to our senior active 92 years young Ken Cupples


Westfield’s North Lakes Qld Local Heroes 2019 – Glenn Willmann

Westfield announce its 120 Westfield Local Heroes for 2019. In March, their communities across Australia and New Zealand told them […]

READ MORE

Christmas Blessings and a Happy New Year

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. Happy New Year.”

STAY IN TOUCH

To stay current with RARA events and actions that may affect you and your family we suggest you frequently visit our RARA National website and RARA facebook site and our own new NMW web and facebook sites

The Enews is issued quarterly. Give us your suggestions for content and improvements and send articles for publication to Ted Chitham  [email protected]  

Duty First

24 December 2019

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

Ombudsman’s Inquiry into DFRDB Commutation

The Ombudsman’s office today (11th December) released a Media Statement on the outcome of his inquiry into DFRDB Commutation. A copy of that Statement and the Ombudsman’s Report is here.

Ministerial Statement – Independent Inquiry Report into DFRDB Scheme

 The Government acknowledges the release of the Commonwealth   Ombudsman’s independent investigation into the Defence Force   Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) scheme.The Government   listened to the concerns of the ex-service community in initiating an independent review of the DFRDB scheme, which focused on the accuracy of information provided about commutation by the Department of Defence (Defence), the Australian Defence Force (ADF) or the scheme administrators, such as the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC).

While the investigation found that some information provided by Defence in the 1980s and 1990s regarding commutation was incorrect, the Ombudsman concluded that the decision to commute was, and still is, the more financially beneficial option.

In reaching this conclusion, the Ombudsman requested separate independent actuarial reports from the Australian Government Actuary and KPMG, considered a range of investment scenarios, which determined that it is highly unlikely any ADF members who commuted through the DFRDB scheme would have incurred a financial loss. For these reasons, the Ombudsman has determined that a specific compensation scheme is not appropriate.

The investigation also found that efforts had been made since 2004 by Defence and CSC to correct the information provided, and this report now reinforces the steps taken to provide clearer information on the decision of commutation.

While the report acknowledges that it is unlikely any members who commuted would be financially worse off, we recognise that the provision of misinformation has caused confusion and distress over many years with some ADF members believing their retirement pay would increase once they reached their notional life expectancy.

If anyone believes they did incur a financial loss they can apply for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration. Eligibility criteria and information on how to apply is available on Defence’s website.

The Government has no plans to make changes to the DFRDB scheme. Further information, including the report, is available on the Commonwealth Ombudsman website.

RELATED ARTICLES

Defence chief sorry for retirement scheme

download 2019 12 12T135942.127

 Australia’s Chief of Defence Angus Campbell has apologised to veterans ripped off by dodgy advice about a retirement benefit scheme.
 General Campbell acknowledged many veterans were misled by Defence.
” We apologise for providing incorrect advice to some (scheme)   members and for the confusion and emotional impact that it may   have caused,” he said in a letter published on Wednesday.
His apology follows an ombudsman’s report into a compulsory Australian Defence Force retirement scheme that began in 1973 and closed to new members in 1991.
ADF members were required to choose between taking a defined pension for life or a lump sum upon retirement, with a lower pension for life.
Most members did – and still do – choose the second option.
Many members were told if they took this option, their pension would subsequently increase to the higher rate once they reached a defined life expectancy age.
“This was false, and created an expectation of a more generous long term outcome than the law provided,” Commonwealth Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe said.
Despite the misleading advice, the ombudsman found it was unlikely any members who took the lump sum and lower pension were financially worse off.
Even so, Veteran’s Affairs Minister Darren Chester has also apologised.
“We recognise that the provision of misinformation has caused confusion and distress over many years,” he said.
“If anyone believes they did incur a financial loss they can apply for compensation.”
The government has no plans to change the scheme.

December 11, 2019 

Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant

banner cov1930px

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.

Veterans Cards vc


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.

pin.png

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.

oath


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

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.

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,”

download 2019 05 01T085359.455

Liz Cosson AM CSC
Secretary
Department of Veterans’ Affairs

The Australian Editorial – When scrutiny becomes enemy of the state

Media’s Right to Know Campaign. When the Government hides the truth from you what are they covering up?

The front pages of every major newspaper were censored this morning as part of Australia’s Right to Know campaign which is calling for greater protections for journalists and access to information.

The coalition of more than a dozen of the nation’s media companies and organisations is campaigning for change to six critical areas of law that has allowed a ‘veil of secrecy’. 

The media coalition has asked the government for the right to contest warrants, exemptions from poorly crafted laws that make journalistic practice an offense, protection for public sector whistle-blowers, fewer secret documents and reform in the Freedom of Information regime. The two fundamental rights are the : RIGHT to KNOW and RIGHT to CONTEST

Here are extracts from the Australian Newspaper Editorial of 22nd October 2019

If you think journalists are the people who control information, you’re in for a big surprise. Never before has the state collected more data on citizens, employed more message merchants to shape the news agenda or constructed a mighty firewall to stop information about its activities reaching the public.

In a democracy, our job is not to be a mere vehicle for the executive or bureaucracy, to use our platforms to carry official statements to a micromanaged populace. That’s what life is like in China and, as controversial as it may sound to some, that’s not the liberal, open, free country Australians want to live in.

We are in the disclosure business. Not because we are gossips, dobbers or scolds but because the task of scrutiny is necessary to make sure the state itself is not above the law.

That line — the law — is changing, often due to difficult and dangerous circumstances. But also because in a territorial game the scrutinised, as a class, always want to do their work on their own terms. Their lives are much easier if they never have to explain why taxpayer money gets wasted, they want to spy on citizens or people are locked up without cause. Ignorance has never been a solid basis for citizenship or a method to get the best out of elected governments. And their bureaucracies  Politicians and officials, whether by accident or design, have constructed a “trust us” apparatus.

But the enemy is not journalism per se. The enemy they’ve constructed is any scrutiny at all — not only do they want to keep our eyes off their actions and inactions, they ultimately don’t want you to know what they are doing.

As a news organisation we do not think we can do as we please: there are constraints of defamation, sub judice and privacy. Yet secrecy is increasingly being declared in matters that do not pose security risks but, rather, the acute embarrassment of the stuff-up or bad idea.

We want to change laws that give the custodians of state power — ministers, the heads of defence forces, security agencies and departments — the ability to do as they please and evade scrutiny. The public wants to know what’s being done in its name and expects us to step up.

Trust in institutions, including media, is falling; part of that is due to poor performance, press infighting and competition, and “gaslighting” by those who want us to stop asking questions. Our work is out in the open, around-the-clock, subject to 360-degree review by critics and competitors. Readers expect us to get to the truth

But what about the state? You can’t sack it. But you can make power better and accountable. That is the essence of our democracy. The news media plays its role when it single-mindedly pursues the truth. We want laws that promote transparency and limit the state’s tools of secrecy and control.

We trust an informed people, not governments, as the ultimate guardians of our freedoms.

READ THE FULL EDITORIAL

Warrior Poet – To Dare or Not to Dare

History tells us of cheering crowds on the day we became as one
A proud flag signalling that the pulse beat of a new nation had begun Coloured bunting in joyful city streets where blokes tossed hats so high
In the outback, drovers, shearers, farmers and swagmen drank pubs dry 

Then time for all, young and old, to roll up sleeves and seek tomorrow
A secure happy nation for all generations which would follow
As time went by; despite nature’s tantrums and depression and war 
Always the smiles and unity, never faltering to ask why or what for

At footy you could boo at the opposition; it was part of the Aussie way
As was the applause for winners and losers at the end of the day
Speech included “politicians are up that creek in a barbed wire boat”
Or someone who disagreed could yell “shove a sock down ya throat”

A generation dared to build the Harbor Bridge for all to see
The Snowy River scheme made the world gape at what could be
Blood, sweat and tears linked East and West with a railway line
Bridges, dams, new towns, Holden cars, wool, oil, and world class wine 

The Opera House became another new landmark because we did dare
Such vision with grit and purpose swept our nation, no matter where
Today, our once lucky country has empty pockets and heavy national debt Vision and purpose packed their bags, and in growing darkness, have left

Greens so often lay minefields on our route leading into tomorrow
Meekness is common, so compromises abound and no true path to follow Political promises are made, no matter the lies, always with fingers crossed Soon or late there is betrayal, and more dreams for our nation are lost

Canberra bragged of food to ease world famine and misery often seen
Sadly, empty words and poor excuses have replaced what could have been Often we’ve spoken of fire, drought and flooding rains our nation must master
Yet no new dams for three decades plus, and no more it seems forever after
We talk of unity but carry three flags and still speak of them and us
Our country is at the crossroads; we must find our way or miss the bus

George Mansford ©September 2019

Comment – Surviving Recent Friendly Fire

Friendly Fire
What has been very disappointing and demoralizing in recent times are the emails, social media posts and the broader media attacks upon DVA, the ESORT and the ADSO.

Especially are the attacks on individuals and ESO leaders for not being supportive of the broad veteran communities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When these attacks get personal, lesser mortals might choose to walk away from it all but considering how far we have all come for the better we have no option “than to stay the course”.

Nothing is perfect in life and DVA is no different, but the improvements initiated over the last four years, through the Veteran Centric Reform program, are encouraging, but there is still a long way to go.

DVA, with the ESORT and others, are engaged and are working through the Productivity Commission Report and the Cornell Advocacy Report.

There is no doubt that the ESO community is being listened to in so many different areas, including families. There is a more holistic and workable approach in the case management of veterans and their families.

Unique Opportunity
The veteran community has a once in a lifetime opportunity to reset the agenda for veteran care into the future.

Presently there is increasing pressure on the DVA and the Government to consider and then implement much of what the Productivity Commission has recommended. This takes time. Yes, it is frustrating and slow grinding work. The pressure on the individuals who toil within DVA for the betterment of veteran care is relentless. This coupled with the constant pot shots from those outside the tent is having a demoralizing effect on all who work within the organisation. This is unfair! They should be allowed the opportunity to focus on the task of veteran care and not be forced to continually duck ill-considered friendly fire and, some, not so friendly.

Client Satisfaction
Interestingly, a client satisfaction survey conducted by an outside organisation has found that there is an 81% overall client satisfaction rating of DVA. When this is broken down demographically by age, the satisfaction rating of those 65 years and over is 89%; 45 years to 64 years, 72%; and under 45 years only 58%.

The last group is obviously the younger veteran. This poor 58% is precipitated by the complexities, duplicities and confusion across the three Acts.

DVA, with overt pressure from ESO leadership, is presently reviewing these three pieces of legislation to harmonise them as either one or two Acts. This will alleviate the issues, the time and the decision-making controversy that causes such angst for the younger veteran community.

ESORT and ADSO
The ESORT and the ADSO is supportive of DVA during this difficult period of implementing some of the recommendations of the PC and all we ask of the ex-service community is to give us all a fair go.

There are no cars, blazers or cigars for the work the members of the ESORT or ADSO do in these roles. It is all on a pro bono basis to try to make a difference in the best interests of veterans and their families.

Some criticisms of us may be justified at times due to poor communications, most are totally unfair and unacceptable. This when individuals are personal in their attacks and not backed by fact or constructive involvement in the area of veterans’ issues and veteran care.

10 September 2019

Kel Ryan 
National Spokesman 
Alliance of Defence Service Organisation 
Mobile: (0418) 759 120 

Michael von Berg
National President
RAR Corporation
Mobile: (0411) 870 055