DVA Media Release – Investment Pays on Claims Processing Times

The 2018 Client Satisfaction Survey of more than 3000 randomly selected DVA clients, including veterans, war widows/ers, carers and dependants, found an overall satisfaction rating of 81 per cent for DVA services.

• Overall satisfaction of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) services remains above 80 per cent and satisfaction among clients aged 45-and-under is improving.
• Improvements at DVA mean around 85 per cent of rehabilitation and compensation claims are processed in one system and in reduced timeframes.
• The goal to improve the quality of service to veterans and their families by reducing claim processing times is being achieved.
download 16Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the survey results illustrate DVA’s Transformation program continues to show positive results for veterans and their families, but that there is still much more to do.
“Satisfaction for DVA clients aged 45 years-and-under is up from 49 per cent in 2016 to 56 per cent in 2018, and dissatisfaction of this group has more than halved from 31 per cent to 15 per cent for the same period,” Mr Chester said
“It also showed for clients aged 45–64 years, satisfaction has improved from 69 per cent to 72 per cent from 2016 to 2018.
“Change takes time and there may be small disruptions to services for clients, however, tracking the ongoing satisfaction of DVA’s clients through the survey is one important way to gauge the outcomes and benefits of system improvements.”
The Transformation program has an ongoing commitment and investment from Government, including more than $166 million in 2017–18 and more than $111.9 million in 2018–19.
READ THE FULL RELEASE

Opinion – France on the Frontline

Disturbing images from Paris this week show French riot police firing on anarchic protesters, the so-called “yellow vests” protesting against their government’s economic policies.
Such confronting scenes would not be replicated here – or could they?

Australians tend to be more civil in their political disputation but there now exists a level of political dissatisfaction which has been becoming more aggressive in its expression.
Given the ability for social media to inflame resentment, perhaps it is not too far fetched to suggest some people are already attempting to mobilise global support for the “yellow vests”.

Opinion – A Virus called Political Correctness

How ironic is it that on each Remembrance Day, we pause to honour those who made the supreme sacrifice to defend our most precious way of life, and yet continue to yawn and scratch as an increasing number of misguided fools are busily hell bent on destroying such a beautiful legacy.
How blind are we that we can reflect with pride on the unity of our nation as it once was, and yet today before our very eyes, fail to see it fracturing at a rapid rate.

How ignorant are we not to understand that our nation has been forged on the fundamentals of Christian beliefs that provided a true compass for our social discipline and intent. Where is the evil in a man (person?) who offered the gift “to love one another?”

How cowardly are we to tolerate increasing defiance of our laws which were established to ensure protection of all law abiding citizens?  How pathetic we are not to demand harsher penalties.

Above all, how irresponsible are many of us to readily accept the good things of living in a western society yet fail to confront the insidious threats to it.

One such enemy is a dreaded virus defined as political correctness which is cleverly designed to slowly but surely brainwash our young generations and those yet to arrive on Planet Earth.

Thus I do hope that this outburst and my scribble below is a timely reminder to those not yet infected.

Sadly, it is too late for most of our political representatives at State and National level.  They are already in the morgue and all we have to do is bury them.

 

George Mansford

 

                      One Upon a Time

Poor old Gingerbread Man, loved by many and killed this very day

Thanks to Revisionists, a brand new Gingerbread Person is on its way

Stolen and distorted are nursery rhymes loved ever since creation

Sly thieves claim such words are cruel with personal degradation

How sad that fairy tales are not what they used to be

Thanks to political correctness infecting our society

Taken away is the innocence of childhood which is surely wrong   

No more to read of Giants and Dwarfs and sing the Black Sheep song

A sin to dream of fairy tales, secret wishes, and Christmas soon  

So silly to believe there’s a man smiling from the magic moon

It’s old fashioned to happily sing the ABC and finally get it right

Increasing scorn for small prayers before going to sleep at night

And as well, no more “Ladies and Gentlemen“ or “He and She”

When youngsters seek work, there will be quotas, despite ability

Santa’s on the hit list and birth certificates minus gender are planned

Identity cards will not reveal if you are woman or man 

Instead of unity, division grows and common sense is not to be

Soon a land of cheerless robots and no happy infants running free

 

The questions which must be answered by our elected masters

Who are these authors of change and what authority now and after?

What reason to condone such madness within our nation?

Who of our elected leaders will stand up to fight such alterations?

Will we pretend it’s not happening, stay mute and keep out of sight?

Hide in the growing darkness and not to fight for what is right?

Oops, the thought police are knocking on my door so I must be away

George Mansford © October 2018

Battle rages for Diggers – RCB veterans have not surrendered nor will they…

ON the night of December 7-8 1941, Japanese forces began invading Malaya, hours before the attack on US territory Pearl Harbour,
Australia’s first casualties on December 8 were the crews of two 1Sqn RAAF Hudson bombers from six aircraft dispatched to bomb Japan’s invasion fleet.
When Japanese aircraft attacked Butterworth, some RAAF Buffaloes were in the air and tried to intercept, but they were an inadequate match for the speedy Japanese fighters.
The ADF has maintained a long relationship with Butterworth, through the first Malayan Emergency 1950-1960, Confrontation, Vietnam and the second Malaysian Emergency (Counter Insurgency War 1969-1989) to the present day.
From 1958 to 1988 the airfield was an Australian military asset, known formally as RAAF Butterworth.
From 1970 an Australian Army infantry company has been deployed to Butterworth, though successive Australian governments have employed various subterfuges to camouflage their real role.
Although the deployment was officially described as training with Malaysian forces, its actual, formally denied role was to be a ready reaction force to defend, if required, the RAAF assets including Mirage fighters based there.
There is no doubt until 1989 there was a real threat to Australian personnel and assets based at Butterworth, nor that RCB was established and armed to react to that threat should it eventuate.
Yet successive Australian governments have consistently refused to recognise RCB service as warlike, and concede appropriate veteran benefits to those who served in that period.
The RCB veterans lobby group, have gathered a massive database of previously classified material which indubitably supports their claims for recognition.
They will not rest until they clear the fog of bureaucratic and political obfuscation which continues to deny their evidence.

READ  ROSS EASTGATE’S FULL ARTICLE

Note a correction to the article: Robert Cross is the RCB’s veterans lobby group (RCB Review Group) leader of which Ted Chitham (past CO 8/9 RAR 1974-1976) is a member.

“RCB veterans have not surrendered nor will they…” Ross Eastgate

Opinion – Rewriting Australian Army History – The Revisionists Strike Again

THE Australian Army commemorates March 1, 1901, as its official foundation date.
Since 1986 the Australian Army has published a glossy publication,
Brief History of the Australian Army, which is now in its fifth edition. The latest edition, which now devotes its first chapter to “European Settlement and the Aboriginal Resistance 1788-1920”.
Pardon, run that by again?
Engaging in so called frontier wars against Aboriginal resistance, as the current brief history edition claims, were never part of our army’s history.
Yet again the politically correct Canberra-based social warriors are rewriting history to suit their own agendas.
The Australian Army’s proud record since 1901 should be freed of such slurs.

 

READ MORE

Look back at VP Day, cost of war

LOST in all the media fog over past days was the 73rd anniversary of Victory in the Pacific in World War II.
Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945 after US aircraft dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshima, then Nagasaki.
Until these devastating attacks Japan had shown no inclination to end hostilities, despite Allied preparations to invade the Japanese mainland.
Historians can only speculate what that may have cost in lives and materiel, or whether it would even have succeeded as had the Allied invasion of Europe 14 months earlier.
Victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945 when Germany surrendered.
However, despite Japan’s capitulation, formal surrender ceremonies would not happen until September 2, when US General Douglas McArthur formally received Japanese representatives aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Opinion – Sinking $50b into antiquity

Ross Eastgate – 2 August 2018

AUSTRALIA’S first submarines were British designed and built E Class boats.in 1911 and delivered in 2014. Australia’s future submarine fleet, decades away from introduction into service will rely on the same propulsion technology as the RAN’s original boats. Because, apparently, boffins somewhere deep in Canberra’s bowels are concerned the RAN won’t be capable of dealing with multiple new technologies simultaneously.
In 15 years when these boats eventually enter service, leadacid batteries are likely to be as technologically relevant as dial telephones…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Poem – What Happened to the Soap Box in the Park

What happened to the soapbox in the Park?      

(A time when anyone could speak their views)

I am not sure I’m a full quid

After watching what the Vic police did

To keep opposing groups apart

Let’s look out at how it happened for a start

 

Law abiding citizens hired a venue to air their personal views

Which I thought was their legal right, the same as me and you

However, a tribe chanting “racists” arrived on the scene

Bullying and threatening just like Hitler, Mao and Stalin had been

The mob knew their murky history and knew what to do and say

The brown shirts of yesterday have arrived in OZ to have their way

They hindered the flow of movement and traffic came to a halt

Meanwhile law abiding citizens at the meeting were at no fault 

Enforcement of our laws is becoming more lopsided by the day 

More so when the innocent were charged a fee and must pay

Surely it’s a clear message to louts that they can have their own way 

While for lawful citizens, free speech is now what you’re told to say 

It’s time, fellow Aussies, to get our heads out the sand

There is a clear threat we are losing what was once a lucky land 

If you’re standing on soap box in the park to preach what you believe 

Soon will be Thought Police with arm bands, ordering you to leave

There is one suggestion I will leave you with this very night

Remind every politician that all Australians have rights

To stop appeasing a noisy few and reach out to make us as one

Give us back our way of life, or pack your bags and run

George Mansford July 2018

 

Opinion – Honouring our bravest heroes

There was once a provision for the award to be rescinded for infamous conduct.
Eight VCs were thus forfeited between 1861 and 1908.
In 1920 King George V insisted no recipient should forfeit his medal no matter how grievous his subsequent actions.
There are just four living Australian VC recipients, one from Vietnam and three from Afghanistan. Each understands the responsibility of being a recipient and the scrutiny which their post-award experience brings.
Of the four awards for Afghanistan two were made for aggressive leadership in extremely hostile circumstances, one for rescuing an Afghan soldier and one for drawing fire at extreme personal risk.
It has been revealed one recipient, Ben Roberts-Smith, who holds multiple gallantry decorations, has been mentioned in inquiries being conducted into allegations of irregular behaviour by Australian troops. That is ironic given troops are sent into combat to kill their enemy and capture ground usually at great personal risk.
Armchair warriors may pontificate on the morality of war but the reality is quite different.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Opinion – Who Defends our Defenders?

Last week Defence admitted former Lt Colonel Karel Dubsky was an innocent victim of the Jedi Council witch hunt that terminated his career and left him a shattered man. That makes it hard to miss the irony that another of nation’s defenders was led to the scaffold last week in the shape of Australia’s most decorated contemporary soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG.

 

In an extraordinarily tasteless article, Fairfax Media alleged Mr Roberts-Smith was being investigated for unspecified “breaches of the laws of armed conflict” in Afghanistan. It was claimed this was part of Major-General Paul Brereton’s wide-ranging trawl through 15 years of service by Australia’s special forces soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By Fairfax’s own admission, this inquiry is supposed to be conducted behind closed doors. There are very good reasons for this, not the least of which is that many of the operations in question were and remain classified. Another is that the evidence of such crimes is notoriously unreliable, especially when if comes from possible enemies.

The greatest difficulty, though, is the nature of war itself. Combat pits men against each other in circumstances where the exigencies of battle, and the need for self-preservation, often take precedence over the rules of war. This has always been so.

Claims of Australian soldiers killing surrendering Germans in the First World War were so prevalent that even Bean refused to dismiss them, and cited the “primitive bloodthirstiness” of battle for soldiers performing unseemly deeds.

In “Storming the Falklands”, former paratrooper Tony Banks related the distressing scenes at the Wireless Ridge, where British troops made a night attack with fixed bayonets and were told to take no prisoners. A terrified young Argentine soldier surrendered, pleading for his life, and begging not to be killed. A brief argument occurred among Banks and his comrades as to who was going to kill the man before a tarpaulin was thrown over his head; he was shot and then bayoneted.

If these things happen in war between uniformed combatants, how much more difficult is it to strictly comply with the rules of war when the enemy deliberately does not? Insurgents do not wear uniforms; they stash their weapons to blend into the population and pull them out when it suits them to attack. They use non-combatants as human shields. It is easy in these circumstances for innocent civilians to die.

Add to that the frustration of seeing colleagues killed, dismembered and wounded, and seeing rescue helicopters shot at, or enduring renegade Afghan “allies” murdering Australian soldiers in their compounds. The moral certainty of Punt Road pundits is a luxury often unavailable to the Australian soldiers in combat zones.

None of these things was a deterrent, however, to the almost salacious way in which this most recent story was reported, including the claim Ben Roberts-Smith “declined to answer a series of detailed questions sent to him by Fairfax Media.”

Given this is a confidential investigation he should not have to. In fact, details of the investigation should never have been published until they were completed.

What is most disturbing is the frequency with which investigations of allegations against soldiers make their way into the media, when details of military operations do not. Even when investigators illegally seize soldier’s psychological records – which are supposed to be confidential – this rarely makes it into the press. It suggests the source of the leaks is not soldiers themselves, but powerful and deeply entrenched interests within Defence.

All of this leads many to suspect that political interests are triumphing over military imperatives. When two cadets at the Australian Defence Force Academy in 2013 streamed images of one of them having sex with a female cadet, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner was sensationally invited to conduct a wide-ranging investigation into the role of women in the ADF.

Although Broderick herself had no military service and no expertise in military operations, she took it upon herself to make sweeping recommendations about the participation of women in frontline units. Normally, decisions about the structure and composition of military units are determined solely by the nature of the enemy and what is necessary to capture or kill them. Disturbingly, her recommendations were accepted in spite of her total absence of military qualification.

Fears and suspicions of political agendas are now running rife throughout Australia’s service personnel. They fear the insidious attacks on their dignity by those who have always found reason to confuse service of one’s country with militarism. They fear all they stand for being sullied by cheap shots from moralising television hosts.

Most of all, many fear there is nothing to protect them against civil litigation by supposed Iraqi and Afghan “victims” bringing claims through Australian courts. In the United Kingdom, hundreds of soldiers have suffered years of torment before the courts and the Iraq Historic Abuse Team (IHAT) inquiry, with no end to their nightmares yet in sight.

The same could happen here. Our service men and women are all too aware that the Brereton Inquiry could be but the start of an avalanche of inquiries and investigations stretching years into the future.

Hanging Australian service personnel out to dry now happens with distressing frequency. It certainly happened in service at home to Karel Dubsky. It has also happened on numerous occasions to Australian soldiers operating in Afghanistan. Consider the soldiers who spent years facing charges regarding the death of civilians in a night attack in Afghanistan, only to have the charges eventually withdrawn. There are other similar cases to which I am privy, each of which has brought untold distress to decent men and women doing their best in a morally vacant world.

Allegations of war crimes by Australian servicemen and women need to be seen through the prism of a war where front lines do not exist, and where it is almost impossible to judge the outcomes of their actions against the moral standards prevailing in leafy suburbs back home. At the very least, the media should abandon the sensationalism and scandal in which a small portion now revel.

Against this backdrop, it is only fair to ask, who defends our defenders?

Bill O’Chee is a former senator and a former officer in the Australian Army.