Opinion – Greens bark at wrong old dog

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

Read Ross Eastgate’s  article 

Remembering the Malayan Emergency – 70th Anniversary


For Ipoh Remembrance Week details contact Ken McNeill, Liaison Officer NMBVAATASINC

Phone (03) 6383 4677

E; [email protected]


Australia Day Event – Kilcoy Picnic Races


The RAR Association proudly supports The Kilcoy Race Club’s events through Rod Slater and his RARA Kilcoy Diggers Group of workers and encourages all to  attend the Race meetings. Highly recommended for a fun day at the Races

Recommended Book Reading – The List

For all the book lovers of  topical national security and military thrillers, The List is my recommendation as a MUST READ.

It was a Christmas present from my family. I found it enthralling and couldn’t put it down until I had read it to the end – all in one day.

The book is written by Michael Brissenden (you will know him as a political journalist and foreign correspondent for the ABC since 1987 and currently a reporter for ABC TV Four Corners program)

The story takes you from the brutal battlegrounds of Afghanistan to the western Sydney suburbs and the halls of power in Canberra/ It is a page turning thriller where justice, revenge and the War on Terror collide.


Ted Chitham

A Christmas Message – Thriving or Surviving? Qld Padre Peter Devenish-Meares

As 2017 ends: Thriving or surviving? Or a bit of both!!!   Please be assured of my prayerful support as I honour all you do. I also invite you to do a few minutes of reflection and, in this light,  I respectfully offer some practical tips on thriving not just surviving. Why not pick just one or two to think and act on.

Why do this?  Well, we all experience times when we are at the top of our game (even thriving) and perhaps don’t stop to think on it, let alone be thankful or track what worked well to get us there.  At other times, we seem to be just surviving perhaps due to heavier work volumes, rushed deadlines, marked change or unexpected occurrences etc.

In all these contexts, we can make (or not make) choices that support us to be as equipped, prepared and ‘fit’ (in body, mind and spirit) as we can be.  When life is shifting rapidly (e.g. a relocation, job change, new tasks etc.) and life seems more like the fast running tide going 80 knots per hour rather than a serene, peaceful lake, what do we do?


11 Tips Comment
Be active Daily, often, a must do!!… an active life can support our spirituality too
Pray How often do we stop to reflect, meditate and pray?
Teams matter We can do more together than by ourselves.  How often do we acknowledge our teams?
Take care of your body Change can equal stress.  After all the work volumes, deadlines and change, do you give yourself permission to rest, eat well and relax?
Be adventuresome How often do you see change as an adventure noting that all real adventure entails some challenge, difficulty and discomfort- that’s ok
Do one enjoyable thing each day No time?  What about 15 minutes out of 1440 minutes in a 24 hr period.  It’s only one (1%) percent of your day!!!

Live one day at a time

“…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…” (Matt 6:24)   How well do you live with ambiguity? Do you have a role model or mentor who can help? If not, ask someone if they will be a guide (most people like to be asked)

Inform yourself

What works for you in times of busy-ness? change? What doesn’t work? If one did a ‘gap analysis’:

(a)     who has the information you need today?

(b)     what new ideas, skills or choices do I need in my toolkit to support me, my team etc?

Ask for support In times of change, stress or ambiguity – who do you need to keep informed; who is most helpful?  Do you find it hard to ask for help?
Take time for solitude Seemingly not everyone’s cup of tea but time alone can allow us time to settle our thoughts and emotions

Celebrate or ritualise change

How often do you stop to celebrate a step taken? An outcome achieved?  Have you ever stopped to ritualise a change or ending? It could be as simple as closing the door with a prayer of thankfulness!

Gustin, M. (1997). Welcoming change: 10 Tips for thriving not just surviving. Ligouri MO: Ligouri Press (adapted).

I wish you every Christmas joy, peace and prayerful support for now and for 2018 and beyond as you step into whatever tomorrow holds.


Padre Peter


“The Australian government has been accused of deserting the soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect our country.

These brave men and women are left to battle a system in crisis that’s nothing short of a national disgrace.”

See last night’s ACA TV program here

If you or somebody you know needs help, contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website.
  • Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS)  24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.


Major Ivan Bernard BATES RAAC (Ret’d) a comrade warrior to  Australia and supporter of the Royal Australian Regiment died peacefully on Bribie Island on Friday 15/12/17, aged 87 years.

He was commissioned into the Royal Australian Armoured Corps (RAAC) serving in both Regimental and non-regimental postings throughout his 33 years career. He was 2IC of the 1st Armoured Regiment in Puckapunyal and a very proud member of his military family.

Ivan saw active service both during the Malayan Emergency on secondment to a British Army Cavalry unit based in Ipoh from 1957 to 1958 (which supported 2 RAR’s operations), and later in Vietnam in 1971 with HQ 1ATF.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral on Friday 22nd December at the Little Flower Church, 41st Avenue, Bribie Island at 1 pm and/or his Graveside Service at Pinnaroo Cemetery, 294 Graham Road, Bridgeman Downs Brisbane at 3 pm.

Military persons are requested to wear their medals and for Armoured Corps members their black berets.

Condolences may be sent to the Bates Family: his wife Esme and children Melita, Paul, Michael and Helen, at 16 Pelican Street, Bellara, Queensland 4507.

Rest in Peace Noble Warrior






Brothers in arms fall out over ‘cooked-up’ Vietnam war service


Michael von Berg is tackling his latest challenge with the same steely resolve he showed as a combat soldier in Vietnam.
As a second lieutenant, Mr von Berg was awarded a Military Cross for his leadership in driving back an attack after his platoon was ambushed in a ravine. With one of his men mortally wounded, and the rest pinned down, Mr von Berg calmly brought down covering fire – before leading his men back into the breach. The fight was won without the loss of another Australian soldier. The citation for his MC says Mr von Berg “showed complete disregard for his own safety even when it became apparent that the enemy were concentrating their fire on leaders”.

Mr von Berg is again under fire… in the courts. And, just like that day in October
1966, when he was a young officer with the 5th Battalion of the Royal
Australian Regiment, he’s hitting back hard. And he’s doing it for his comrades
at arms.

Mr von Berg, 74, is being sued for defamation by ex-8RAR cook Tony Flaherty.
Mr Flaherty,73, Mayor of Adelaide Plains Council, claims Mr von Berg reported
him to the Australia & New Zealand Military lmposters website.
ln his statement of claim lodged in the SA District Court, Mr Flaherty is seeking
$250,000 in damages.

ln dispute is Mr Flaherty’s statement, in biographical material for last year’s RSL
SA board election, that he had led an infantry platoon in Vietnam. ln his candidate profile, Mr Flaherty wrote that he had served in a “platoon
commander role 8 Platoon, C Company”.

Mr von Berg and other Vietnam veterans say that claim is false – Mr Flaherty was the company’s cook, not a platoon commander. “His claims of being a platoon commander… this really irks me because I know what I and every other platoon commandeer in the RAR had to endure,” Mr von Berg told The Australian.
“For Flaherty to have the temerity to portray himself as an acting platoon
commander is an insult to me and every other platoon commander.”
He wrote a letter of complaint to the RSL SA on behalf of aggrieved members
of 8 RAR in his capacity as president of the SA branch of the RAR Association.
The former infantry, SAS and commando officer was motivated to speak out
after Mr Flaherty’s side of the story was aired on the ABC’s PM last month.

Vietnam veterans from across Australia have stepped forward to back Mr von
Berg’s defence.
At least eight have signed statutory declarations disputing Mr Flaherty’s
His company commander in Vietnam, Major David Rankine MC, wrote that in
his time in charge of C Company, “Tony Flaherty never commanded anything
other than a stove in the kitchen”.
Chad Sherrin MM, an 8 RAR section commander who retired as a major, stated:
“At no time did Anthony Flaherty command any element of 8 Platoon.”

Mr Flaherty told the ABC last month: “They said I went over to Vietnam as a
catering sergeant and … never went out in the bush, that I never was in combat
… basically that everything was a lie.
“To get emails from veterans who said things like ‘I hate you, you’re an honour
thief I wouldn’t spit on you and I hope you die’ …
“l want them to know what they have done has been so hurtful that they have
to pay.”

Joint Media Release – The Long Tan Cross

Media Release from the PM and DVA Minister Dan Tehan – 6th December 2017

“An important piece of Australia’s military history will find a new home after the Vietnamese Government gifted the original Long Tan Cross to Australia.

Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick received the Long Tan Cross from the Dong Nai Province People’s Committee at a small ceremony at the Dong Nai Museum in Biên Hòa last month. An Australian Defence Force member then travelled with the cross on its journey to Australia.

AWM Group Wed 6 Dec 2017

L to R – Tehan, Dinham, Sabben, Roberts, Turnbull and Nelson.

The Australian Government thanks the Government of Vietnam for its generous gift.

The Long Tan Cross was erected by Australian soldiers as a memorial to their fellow diggers who fought and died at the Battle of Long Tan on 18 August 1966, Australia’s most costly single engagement in the Vietnam War. It was removed from the Long Tan battle site some time after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. It was reportedly used as a memorial for a Vietnamese Catholic priest until the 1980s when it was restored and eventually placed on display by the Dong Nai Province Museum in Biên Hòa in the late 1990s.

Approximately 60,000 Australian men and women served in the Vietnam War between 1962 and 1975, including 521 who lost their lives and more than 3,000 who were wounded.

For many Australians, the Long Tan Cross has come to symbolise our involvement in the Vietnam War. It is a powerful memorial to the service and suffering of Australian soldiers.

Thanks to the generosity of the Vietnamese Government, the Cross will now remain in Australia for perpetuity where it will be honoured, as we honour the men and women who served in the Vietnam War. The Long Tan Cross will go on display at its new permanent home at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra from 6 December.”

For full details of the Long Tan Cross see Dave Sabben’s Pictorial History of the Long Tan Cross 

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.


IF and when accidental senator Jim Molan is sworn in by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, Australia’s currently dysfunctional parliament will likely experience a renaissance.
Molan should never have been an accidental senator save for NSW Liberal Party factional bastardry which relegated the decorated former soldier to the difficult third place on the ballot.
The NSW Liberals should have taken more notice of another soldier-politician the Duke of Wellington, who said “the hardest thing of all for a soldier is to retreat”.
In the unrepresentative circus that Australia’s Senate has become, Molan will be a blast of uncompromising fresh air.
Molan’s strong opinions are derived from vast experience and expressed equally forcefully.
He will be a robust commentator on a range of issues and bring a forensic questioning to Senate estimates, even to members of his own government.
Molan’s military and academic pedigree is exceptional.