Dear ESORT members,
 
As I outlined in our teleconference last Friday, I will continue to update you at our weekly Friday COVID-19 teleconferences. You should also now have back in your diaries, our fortnightly teleconferences where we can discuss broader issues impacting on the veteran community.
 
Maintaining continuity of services to the veteran community is a priority, together with ensuring the health and wellbeing of our staff and we want to make it as easy as possible for veterans to find the latest COVID-19 news, health advice and economic support available. 
 
A special edition of e-news will shortly be distributed to the veteran community with articles and links to important information regarding COVID-19 and available support and services. The DVA website www.dva.gov.au is also being updated regularly as new information comes to hand.
 
Government shopfronts are classified as essential services and, for the time being, DVA’s VAN offices remain open to members of the veteran community. However, we strongly suggest that members of the veteran community should consider their need to visit a VAN office in person. If the query can be managed over the phone, email or internet please call DVA on 1800 555 254 or lodge a query via the website. This is also relevant to your advocates who are encouraged to continue services to veterans and families.  Just a reminder that appropriate social distancing arrangements need to be in place and using telephone or on-line may be best at this time.
 
Our staff are following strict social distancing and personal hygiene practices to protect your health, and theirs.  To protect staff and the community, we ask that you do not enter a VAN office if:
 

  •          You have returned from overseas within the last two weeks,
  •          You have had close contact with someone suffering from the COVID-19 coronavirus, or
  •          You are feeling unwell.
 
Going forward, meetings with National Consultation Forum will be conducted in a virtual environment.  A number of you mentioned a range of platforms utilised by your organisations for your meetings and Charles McHardie will come back to you with further information on how we can remain connected in this way.
We are experiencing a growth in counselling requirements with Open Arms.   We are measuring the increases so we can regularly message the ESO community.  Counselling services across Australia are working together to ensure that where surges are experienced, resources are shared to provide support where necessary.   
 
Given the challenges we are all facing at this time, I asked you at the meeting last Friday to provide me with any ideas you may have that the Government may wish to consider on how your ex service organisations could be helped more, should I be asked that question in the future.  Any thoughts you may have can be emailed to the ESORT Secretariat mail box.
 
We also undertook to provide you an update on plans to commemorate Anzac Day 2020.  You may have seen the announcement that the AWM has now closed to the public in response to the latest health advice. (insert hyperlink) https://www.awm.gov.au/media/press-releases/memorialclosure.
 
I can assure you the Anzac Day National Service at the Australian War Memorial, without public attendance, will proceed and I will update you further on planning as soon as possible this week.
 
This is a rapidly evolving situation.  I would appreciate it if you could please remind your members to keep themselves informed through the DVA website and I will continue to provide you with information at our weekly Friday teleconferences.
 
Take care,
Liz
 
  Liz Cosson AM CSC
Secretary
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
T: 02 6289 6735 Ext: 616735
E: Liz.Cosson@dva.gov.au | E: Secretary@dva.gov.au
 
For what they have done, this we will do.

 






Allan Whelan
Assistant Secretary, 6 RAR Assn
0427 632 402
6 RAR REUNION 2020
5 – 7 June 2020, Brisbane QLD. 3 days to catch up with old friends.
All eras of the Battalion INVITED.

5 June – Meet and Greet
6 June – Gala Dinner
7 June – Memorial Service, 6 RAR Association AGM, Spit Roast Lunch.


http://6rarassociation.com/reunion2020.htmlat:More information
 

Contact: Allan Whelan, PH: 0427632402. Email: wheels6rarassn@gmail.com



Vietnam Veterans’ Bravery Recognised on Eve of 50th Anniversary – Coral-Balmoral Battle

It’s taken almost half a century but Australian forces who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War are finally to be recognised for their bravery.
Soldiers who resisted attack at the Battle of Coral-Balmoral,  which claimed 26 Australian lives, learnt on Thursday they were to be honoured with a Unit Citation for Bravery. The recommendation comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of the battle on the weekend of May 12-13.
The Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal posted the decision on its website on Thursday morning, stating that members had arrived at the recommendations unanimously.
It said: ‘Throughout the submissions the theme of teamwork and collective gallantry is readily apparent and consistently referenced.
The message to the Tribunal from all of the veterans of the battles was that, regardless of corps and parent unit, they had fought as a coordinated group and that everybody who was there deserve recognition.’


Read the DHAAT Report and its five recommendations:
www.defence-honours-tribunal.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Coral-Balmoral-Report-Final.pdf
Read the Sydney Morning Herald’s article :www.smh.com.au/national/vietnam-veterans-bravery-recognised-on-eve-of-50th-anniversary-20180502-p4zcym.html



                                           
NEVER ALONE - NEVER FORGOTTEN
 
SO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT NEED HELP
 
Do you or a member of your family need to speak to someone who understands problems experienced by serving personnel?
Serving members, veterans and their families are eligible for confidential help from the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) Call 1800 011-046 or visit: www.vvcs.gov.au
 
Don’t forget your Battalion/Area Medical Officer and Padre.
 
Have you left the Army and miss being with your mates and others like yourself?

 Join the RAR Family through your Battalion Association:

 www.rarnational.org.au/associations/ 

 
 Are you considering lodging a claim with DVA or are having problems with an existing claim or payment?
 
Contact your local RSL Sub-Branch.
 
DVA provides a range of support services to eligible veterans in addition to pensions and compensation.   Your local RSL Sub-Branch can advise you on what may be available. But if you want to check out what is available yourself, go to www.dva.gov.au
 
Have you been wounded or injured and are having problems? 
 
For help with rehabilitation and general support services contact any of these support agencies
YOUNG DIGGERS at www.youngdiggers.com.au  

SOLDIER ON at 04 7858 9132 or visit www.soldieron.org.au

MATES4MATES  at 1300 462837or visit www.mates4mates.org 
Are you or a member of your family experiencing anxiety or depression?
 
Contact BEYOND BLUE at 1300 22 4636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au.
 

Are you in crisis now?

 
Contact 000 – EMERGENCY (112 on a mobile phone) or LIFELINE at 131114 or visit www.lifeline.org.au 

 “ KEEPING THE SPIRIT ALIVE”

 www.rarnational.org.au

 


 

ADSO – A REMINDER OF WHO WE ARE  

ADSO is an Alliance of major Defence Service Organisations whose members include current and past serving ADF persons.  
It was formed to protect and represent the Defence Family’s (past and current serving ADFmembers and their immediate families) interests by active engagement with the Parliament.  
The Defence Family’s community of interest size is about 3 million people. Its objective is to protect the Defence Family’s interests and right the wrongs imposed on it  by successive Australian governments.  
It is issues based and for the Fair Go Campaign has focused on four   major issues:

  • military superannuation indexation,  

  • DVA disability pensions,

  • the military compensation system (objective achieved with the previous Labor government’s review and its overwhelming acceptance of the findings) and

  • ADF members and veterans’ health issues with a number of initiatives taken by the previous Labor government and ongoing work in this area.  

ADSO is non-partisan and does not represent any political party. It does not support or oppose any political party. It does, however support or oppose policies that may help or hinder serving or former ADF members and their families.  

ADSO engages directly with the Government and political parties to achieve its mission :     

"To obtain parliamentary approval for ADSO objectives." By necessity it operates within the political arena on an issues basis.  



ISSUES – OUR LOG OF CLAIMS. ADSO’s Fair Go Campaign’s objective is to protect the interests of the Defence Family and restore their legal entitlements that have been denied or removed by successive Governments.  

Our major issues list is:  

 1.   Restoration of Fair indexation to DFRB/DFRDB under aged 55 and all MSBS members because of the inequity from excluding them from the Government’s legislation (Fair Indexation Bill 2014) that restores its purchasing power to DFRB/DFRDB superannuates from 1 July 2014.   

2.   Restoration of DVA Disability Pension indexation to parity as legislated by the Coalition Government in 2007 and removed by the Labor Government in 2009. Veterans’ Disability Pension is compensation for injury and foregone ability to earn wages/salary.  It is not a welfare payment.  

3.    Abolition of MSBS maximum benefit limits.  

4.  Increased support for Veterans’ health care.  

This does not represent all ADSO policy objectives but is a reflection on our concentration of effort and concurrent activity.   
We remain disappointed that the Coalition has avoided any firm commitment to restore the DVA disability pension indexation to that which they, the Howard Government in 2007 legislated but was withdrawn under the Labor Government’s term in 2009.   

Why won’t the Coalition Government restore what was their 2007 correct decision?   
There are 109,000 disabled veterans who are damaged physically and/or mentally from their military service. Of those 109,000, 29,000 have TPI/Special rate status that limits the hours they can work and hence capacity to maintain their standard of living: their loss since  the 2009 removal of indexation parity is $3,300 p.a. and increasing each year  See a summary of the issue and the pre-election positions of the ALP and LNP here.

 

ON – GOING DIALOGUE WITH THE POLITICAL PARTIES   

Our strategy to build good relationships with mutual respect and understanding with all political parties and Parliamentarians is in place with good working relationships with relevant Government Ministers, their Opposition counterparts, including the Greens and minor party individuals.  We appreciate their commitment to on-going informal dialogue on matters effecting veterans.   
While the Government has not pledged an early ‘fix’ of our priority issues, their pledge is to keep them under review, and to discuss them at regular informal meetings with us.   

Recognition of this relationship can be seen in the Fair Indexation Bill’s reading in both the House and the Senate where specific mention was made of ADSO leaders;  David Jamison, Alf Jaugietis, Bob  Ihlein and supporters Peter Criss and Peter Thornton, who had helped those MPs/Senators to understand the veterans’ issues.  

2014 DEFENCE FORCE REMUNERATIION TRIBUNAL (DFRT) TRIBUNAL CONSIDERATIONS &  WORKPLACE REMUNERATION ARRANGEMENT (WRA)  
In 2014 DFWA representing ADSO will consider a number of matters that will affect remuneration payable to ADF members. These include Special Forces and Special Operations Allowance, Field Allowance and most importantly later in the year, the umbrella for the ADF for the three years  
following the expiration of the current WRA in November 2014.   
As an independent intervener in the DFRT process, DFWA will lobby hard on behalf of ADF members  and will seek advice from them on their views as the case progresses.   

 

WILL YOU HELP DEFEND THE DEFENDERS?  


With over 250,000 people directly affected and who will benefit from the campaign’s success, we expect that they and their families would want to help us to help them.  
If you’re a Defence Family member and none of the injustices directly affects you or your family, then please get involved to help care for the Family. If you’re not a Defence Family member then please help those who are willingly to give their lives in service for our nation’s defence.    
Here’s what you can do:  
   If you are have already joined us as a SUBSCRIBER to receive our Updates, then increase your involvement by VOLUNTEERING to join your local electorate Action Team: check out the commitment and bring your friends and relatives to join.  
   If you have not yet joined us, then VOLUNTEER for your local electorate  Action  Group or SUBSCRIBE to receive our Updates.and/or,  
    DONATE to fund the Campaign. We need money to pay for our promotions, professional advice and administrative costs. Choose the amount and frequency of your donation and/or,  
   Become an ADVISOR. Help guide us with your experience and expertise in a particular Campaign activity, such as marketing/ public relations, media, investigative journalism, superannuation, legal, health, information services and technology, accounting, financial planning, sales etc.
To action the above go to: www.standto.org   

Get your whole family involved, especially your spouse/partner. Remember that for military superannuants your widow receives a portion, five/eights of your superannuation payment, for her life time: a paltry amount that is an issue on our agenda.  

Social Media  

Social media, in particular youtube and the ADSO facebook page  have become an increasingly important and effective way to report our campaign and for people to engage us with their comments.  Share our postings with your network. http://www.facebook.com/adso/australia 

THANK YOU AUSTRALIA FOR YOUR SUPPORT  
From The Fair Go Team our thanks to all our Action Team warriors and supporters.  

Campaign Directors: Ted Chitham:  tchitham@bigpond.com
                                       Alf Jaugietis:  ajaugiet@hotmail.com
Campaign National Spokesperson:
David Jamison: president.national@dfwa.org.au