COMMEMORATIVE MEDALLION AND CERTIFICATE RECOGNISE SECOND WORLD WAR VETERANS

A special commemorative medallion marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War is now available to every living Second World War veteran to say ‘thank you for your service’.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester today launched the medallion and certificate in the lead up to the end of the Second World War commemoration on 15 August, awarding the first medallion to Sale veteran Rose Jackson.

“As we approach this special anniversary, we recognise that it will be one of the last opportunities we have as a nation to publicly acknowledge the remaining veterans of the Second World War, of which there are around 12,000 still with us today,” Mr Chester said.

“These brave Australians served our nation in the far corners of the world, fighting in theatres of war from Europe to North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, to Asia and the Pacific, with the conflict also reaching Australian shores.

“Australia can never fully repay the debt we owe these amazing men and women but, to mark their service, the Federal Government is producing this Commemorative Medallion and Certificate of Commemoration for the remaining living Second World War veterans.

“I am delighted to be in Sale today to present the first of the Commemorative Medallions to an Australian Second Word War veteran, Rose Jackson.

“Rose served in the Australian Army during World War Two and rose to the rank of private. She was posted to Bandiana, Victoria after undertaking training and worked in a clerical role.

“Thank you for your service, Rose.”

The medallion, available to all living veterans who apply, will be presented in a display case and is a gesture of appreciation from a grateful nation to those veterans who fought to protect our way of life in the terrible conflict that ended 75 years ago.

Second World War veterans, or their families on their behalf, can apply online at dva.gov.au/medallion or, for those without internet access, by phone on 02 61918217 during business hours. The Commemorative Medallions and Certificates will be distributed during August.

HISTORY IS HISTORY

THE facts of history are immutable, the recording and interpretation of those facts increasingly less so.

The ABC’s latest act of moral rectitude has been to accuse Australian soldiers in Afghanistan in 2012 of posing with a US Confederate States (CSA) battle flag, an act of apparent moral turpitude symbolic of the ADF’s ethical decline. Unwise perhaps, but hardly a war crime except eight years after the event, that flag has become a symbol of American political protest.

In the political correctness which infects discourse particularly in the ADF, the display of aggressive symbols is described as triumphalism.

Australian official military heraldry is replete with iconic symbolism, not all of it politically correct.

The CSA flag, once a symbol of states’ rights, remains a potent symbol in America, just as it was in the bloody political secession and civil war which spawned it. Respected US historian, the late Shelby Foote wrote, “Any understanding of this nation has to be … really based on the understanding of Civil War … (which) defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became — good and bad things.”

Banning and removing symbols such as the statues of CSA leaders and flags do not change what occurred.

Adding unsubstantiated material to accounts of that period only serves to muddy the truth.

Australia and the US had quite different beginnings but there are those who try to draw parallels between their formative histories.

American colonists fought several wars to make their nation what it now is. The CSA fought a war not principally over the right to keep slaves, but against centralist governments which taxed and regulated without, they believed, listening to their concerns.

It was a grievance which found and still finds common cause here, such as when entrepreneurial miners revolted near Ballarat over fees and licences imposed by governments in which they claimed not to be represented.

Far from a symbol of workers’ aspirations, their Eureka flag was a symbol of opposition to external, centralised control.

It is a theme which cuts deep in Australia’s north, though its cutlery rattling local proponents tend to be talk and little action.

Until recently the Eureka flag and General Lee’s battle ensign were not uncommonly seen together on Australian militant building sites.

Not Australian certainly, but an obscure protest symbiosis to some. That the CSA flag has fallen into disfavour is a US problem, not ours.

YES, WE ARE VETERANS

We Are Veterans.

We left home as teenagers or in our early twenties for an unknown adventure.

We loved our country enough to defend it and protect it with our own lives.

We said goodbye to friends and family and everything we knew.

We learned the basics and then we scattered in the wind to the far corners of the Earth.

We found new friends and new family.

We became brothers and sisters regardless of colour, race or creed.

We had plenty of good times, and plenty of bad times.

We didn’t get enough sleep.

We smoked and drank too much.

We picked up both good and bad habits.

We worked hard and played harder.

We didn’t earn a great wage.

We experienced the happiness of mail call and the sadness of missing important events.

We didn’t know when, or even if, we were ever going to see home again.

We grew up fast, and yet somehow, we never grew up at all.

We fought for our freedom, as well as the freedom of others.

Some of us saw actual combat, and some of us didn’t.

Some of us saw the world, and some of us didn’t.

Some of us dealt with physical warfare, most of us dealt with psychological warfare.

We have seen and experienced and dealt with things that we can’t fully describe or explain, as not all of our sacrifices were physical.

We participated in time honoured ceremonies and rituals with each other, strengthening our bonds and camaraderie.

We counted on each other to get our job done and sometimes to survive it at all.

We have dealt with victory and tragedy.

We have celebrated and mourned.

We lost to many mates along the way.

When our adventure was over, some of us went back home, some of us started somewhere new and some of us never came home at all.

We have told amazing and hilarious stories of our exploits and adventures.

We share an unspoken bond with each other, that most people don’t experience, and few will understand.

We speak highly of our own branch of service, and poke fun at the other branches.

We know however, that, if needed, we will be there for our brothers and sisters and stand together as one, in a heartbeat.

Being a Veteran is something that had to be earned, and it can never be taken away.

It has no monetary value, but at the same time it is a priceless gift.

People see a Veteran and then thank them for their service.

When we see each other, we give that little upwards head nod, or a slight smile, knowing that we have shared and experienced things that most people have not.

So, from myself to the rest of the veterans out there, I commend and thank you for all that you have done and sacrificed for your country.

Try to remember the good times and forget the bad times.

Share your stories.

But most importantly, stand tall and proud, for you have earned the right to be called a Veteran.

Watch Out for Dragons and Wooden Horses

 Watch Out for Dragons and Wooden Horses

The sleeping dragon which our forefathers warned us about, is now wide awake, hungry and clearly on the prowl. To discourage its appetite, Canberra recently announced its intention to enhance our defence capability with more space age weaponry. Unfortunately, such measures do not counter a large Trojan horse already in our own backyard which threatens our precious way of life.  It feeds on violence, bullying, threats and lies. To add to such woes is our lack of national sustainability and self- reliance. One could argue that this is our Achilles heel this very day. No matter the cost, and despite increasing debt, we must begin to convert that weakness into being our most powerful weapon. 

Within that wooden horse are self -ordained ministers preaching political correctness; WOKES distorting history, Brown Shirts demanding a new world order. All three sleep in the same bed and their intent is to destroy our way of life. Their unruly public demonstrations show contempt for our law, science, culture and history. For them, free speech is toxic to their cause and their weapons to counter truth are abuse, lies, threat and violence. Their platform has no room for second opinions. Their strategy includes infiltration of schools where their distortion of truth begins in the very early phases at primary levels and refined in universities. They pursue their ultimate goal with immunity, despite our laws and need for disciplined social behavior.  Both State and Federal governments simply ignore the violations, or use velvet gloves when chiding, and wet tram tickets as deterrents in once respected courts of law. The consequences provide further incentive for social disobedience as well as a growing unrest within the law abiding community.

The Trojan horse within our castle walls is hell bent on creating a new world built on ignorance, collective fantasies and greed for power as well. The internal threat is sinister and real. Thus, as well as purchasing space age weaponry and other budget shattering defence needs, (but please God, not obsolete submarines 25 years hence) we should reassess where all the keys to security lie, and act accordingly.  After all, it would be pointless to establish an impregnable fortress, if in time our treasured way of life is to be destroyed by the enemy within. Simply put, it’s time to confront brown shirts, political correct preachers and WOKES, with the full force of the law. 

We have been asleep at the wheel and complacent with the belief that in times of peril, Uncle Sam will come to our rescue. In this troubled and rapidly changing world, such assumptions could well be a dangerous and foolish assessment. We have to understand and prepare for the worst scenario. With sound planning and energy, we can become a nation with sustainability and self-reliance and which will be the sharpest of our spears. 

 There must be goals which are understood and pursued as a nation. The task list is not new, and must include discipline and education of our youth, busy factories, infrastructure, dams, cheap power including hydro, nuclear energy and much emphasis on science. Above all, to enhance unity and a proud belief in who we are and what we can do as one people. Time is the essence. It cannot be delayed with broken promises and excuses. Now is the time to act.  Falter, and there will be no safe and bright tomorrow. 

History records our past and its immense challenges which were overcome with strong purpose, and all as one.  All of us, united, must do this once more and vow never again to be so stupid as to ignore lessons of history. Our future kin will read of this and understand why in their time, they too will live in a happy, free and vibrant nation.

 

    Watch Out! The Brown Shirts** and other bullies are on the streets   

Screaming and chanting in the streets

Space age puppets driven by mindless feet

In the mob’s wake is the litter of hate

Spray cans, burnt flags and torn pages of rules of debate

Proud images of our past, broken, toppled or painted with vandal spite

Fools who scorn our history of courage, faith and a fair go forever so right  

 

They smear sacred walls etched with names of our fallen who gave all

Brave men and women who joined war’s columns to answer the call 

Nurse, butcher, baker, drover, clerk, teacher and shearer, all as one to fight

They too walked in the park where in time their memorial would be on site

Perhaps on the spot itself, to joke, laugh and dream of what would never be  

They were young, the world was theirs, and they lived in a land so free 

 

Today the street is crowded by a noisy few chanting hypocrisy as their call

To distort our past, and new rules to slowly strip freedom from all 

Our way of life to be stolen, replaced by persecution, and Piety branded taboo

No compass to guide us into tomorrow; only the ignorance of a demented few  

Beneath scarred sacred names of heroes, is our unbeatable spirit they’ll never know

Love of country, freedom, blood, sweat, tears, and pain of chains and lash from long ago

George Mansford ©June 2020

**Brownshirts were Hilter’s  thugs and bullies who in violent ways aided Hitler’s rise to power

  

 

Information: NCF Review

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs reviews the National Consultation Framework (NCF) every three years to ensure mechanisms for consultation between the Department, Commissions and the ex-serving community remain effective and fit-for-purpose.  As you’re aware, a review of the existing NCF structure commenced in mid-2019 and will include input from the broader serving and ex-serving community via an online survey conducted by an external research company, ORIMA.

In order to obtain input from as broad an audience as possible, the Department will promote the survey through a range of media, including social media, DVA and Defence newspapers, transition forums and Deputy Commissioner forums.  Furthermore, the Department is requesting NCF member organisations promulgate details of the NCF Review and survey to your members, through your established communications networks.  Input is encouraged from any serving and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force, as well as family members.  Input is also encouraged from people acting as representatives of ex-service organisations and other organisations that support the veteran community.

This survey will commence on Monday, 29 June 2020 and be open to the public until Sunday, 26 July 2020.  The survey can be accessed via the DVA website, at
www.dva.gov.au/about-us/overview/consultations-and-grants/how-we-consult-ex-service-community.

DVA would be grateful for your assistance in promoting input from your members and local veteran community.  Together, we can ensure the entire veteran community continues to have a strong, effective and consultative relationship with DVA into the future.

12316 WOI Laurie James Graham

Sadly, I have been advised of the death on 27th June of 12316 WOI Laurie James Graham. He had been in ill health and died at home peacefully. His two daughters have looked after him for the last two years.

Laurie had served in Water Transport units since 1946 including AV1379 Tarra and all LSMs. He was on the delivery voyage from Japan on AV1355 Vernon Sturdee

 

His funeral service will be held on Monday 6 July 2020 at 1.00pm at the North Chapel, Pinegrove  Memorial Park, Kington Street, Minchinbury NSW 2770.

 

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only 24 people will be allowed inside the Chapel, but unlimited outside.

16369 Dudley (Bob) Robert Venables

Sadly I have been advised of the death on the 27th June of 16369 Dudley (Bob) Robert Venables. Bob served in Vietnam with 1RAR Feb 66-June 66, 6RAR Jun 66-Feb 67, 8RAR Nov 69-Nov 70. Bob was a strong supporter of the 8RAR Assoc while his health allowed. His funeral will be small … details will be proved when known.

 

38935 Capt Desmond John Wilmore

38935 Capt Desmond John Wilmore

Sadly I have been advised of his death at his home on Friday 26th June 2020. Des had served in Malaysia & Singapore in 1969- 71 also in Vietnam with AATTV in all of 1972. No funeral arrangement have been made as yet.

The Beginning of the End of China

The Beginning of the End of China

By Peter Zeihan

 

The Chinese are intentionally torching their diplomatic relationships with the wider world. The question is why?

The short version is that China’s spasming belligerency is a sign not of confidence and strength, but instead insecurity and weakness. It is an exceedingly appropriate response to the pickle the Chinese find themselves in.

Some of these problems arose because of coronavirus, of course. Chinese trade has collapsed from both the supply and demand sides.

In the first quarter of 2020 China experienced its first recession since the reinvention of the Chinese economy under Deng Xiaoping in 1979.

Blame for this recession can be fully (and accurately) laid at the feet of China’s coronavirus epidemic.

But in Q2 China’s recession is certain to continue because the virus’ spread worldwide means China’s export-led economy doesn’t have anyone to export to.

Nor are China’s recent economic problems limited to coronavirus.

One of the first things someone living in a rapidly industrializing economy does once their standard of living increases is purchase a car, but car purchases in China started turning negative nearly two years before coronavirus reared its head.

Why the collapse even in what “should” be happening with the economy?

It really comes down to China’s financial model. In the United States (and to a lesser degree, in most of the advanced world) money is an economic good.

Something that has value in and of itself, and so it should be applied with a degree of forethought for how efficiently it can be mobilized.

This is why banks require collateral and/or business plans before they’ll fund loans.

That’s totally not how it works in China. In China, money – capital, to be more technical – is considered a political good, and it only has value if it can be used to achieve political goals.

Common concepts in the advanced world such as rates of return or profit margins simply don’t exist in China, especially for the state owned enterprises (of which there are many) and other favoured corporate giants that act as pillars of the economy.

Does this generate growth? Sure. Explosive growth? Absolutely.

Provide anyone with a bottomless supply of zero (or even subzero) percent loans and of course they’ll be able to employ scads of people and produce tsunamis of products and wash away any and all competition.

This is why China’s economy didn’t slow despite sky-high commodity prices in the 2000s – bottomless lending means Chinese businesses are not price sensitive.

This is why Chinese exporters were able to out-compete firms the world over in manufactured goods–bottomless lending enabled them to subsidize their sales.

This is why Chinese firms have been able to take over entire industries such as cement and steel fabrication–bottomless lending means the Chinese don’t care about the costs of the inputs or the market conditions for the outputs.

This is why the One Belt One Road program has been so far reaching – bottomless lending means the Chinese produce without regard for market, and so don’t get tweaky about dumping product globally, even in locales no one has ever felt the need to build road or rail links to.

(I mean, come on, a rail line through a bunch of poor, nearly marketless post-Soviet ‘Stans’ to dust-poor, absolutely-marketless Afghanistan? Seriously, what does the winner get?)

Investment decisions not driven by the concept of returns tend to add up. Conservatively, corporate debt in China is about 150% of GDP. That doesn’t count federal government debt, or provincial government debt, or local government debt.

Nor does it involve the bond market, or non-standard borrowing such as Lending Tree-like person-to-person programs, or shadow financing designed to evade even China’s hyper-lax financial regulatory authorities.

It doesn’t even include US dollar-denominated debt that cropped up in those rare moments when Beijing took a few baby steps to address the debt issue and so firms sought funds from outside of China.

With that sort of attitude towards capital, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that China’s stock markets are in essence gambling dens utterly disconnected from issues of supply and labor and markets and logistics and cash flow (and legality).

Simply put, in China, debt levels simply are not perceived as an issue.

Until suddenly, catastrophically, they are.

As every country or sector or firm that has followed a similar growth-over-productivity model has discovered, throwing more and more money into the system generates less and less activity.

China has undoubtedly passed that point where the model generates reasonable outcomes. China’s economy roughly quadrupled in size since2000, but its debt load has increased by a factor of twenty-four. Since the2007-2009 financial crisis China has added something like 100% of GDP of new debt, for increasingly middling results.

But more important than high debt levels is that eventually, inevitably, economic reality forces a correction. If this correction happens soon enough, it only takes down a small sliver of the system (think Enron’s death).

If the inefficiencies are allowed to fester and expand, they might take down a whole sector (think America’s dot.com bust in 2000).

If the distortions get too large, they can spread to other sectors and trigger a broader recession (think America’s 2007 subprime-initiated financial crisis).

If they become systemic they can bring down not only the economy, but the political system (think Indonesia’s 1998 government collapse).

It is worse than it sounds.

The CCP has long presented the Chinese citizenry with a strict social contract: the CCP enjoys an absolute political monopoly in exchange for providing steadily increasing standards of living.

That means no elections.

That means no unsanctioned protests.

That means never establishing an independent legal or court system which might challenge CCP whim.

It means firmly and permanently defining “China’s” interests as those of the CCP.

It makes the system firm, but so very, very brittle.

And it means that the CCP fears – reasonably and accurately– that when the piper arrives it will mean the fall of the Party.

Knowing full well both that the model is unsustainable and that China’s incarnation of the model is already past the use-by date, the CCP has chosen not to reform the Chinese economy for fear of being consumed by its own population.

The only short-term patch is to quadruple down on the long-term debt-debt-debt strategy that the CCP already knows no longer works, a strategy it has already followed more aggressively and for longer than any country previous, both in absolute and relative terms.

The top tier of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)–and most certainly Xi himself –realize that means China’s inevitable “correction” will be far worse than anything that has happened in any recessionary period anywhere in the world in the past several decades.

And of course that’s not all. China faces plenty of other of issues that range from the strategically hobbling to the truly system-killing.

  • China suffers from both poor soils and a drought-and-flood prone climatic geography. Its farmers can only keep China fed by applying five times the inputs of the global norm. This only works with, you guessed it, bottomless financing. So when China’s financial model inevitably fails, the country won’t simply suffer a subprime-style collapse in ever subsector simultaneously, it will face famine.
  • The archipelagic nature of the East Asian geography fences China off from the wider world, making economic access to it impossible without the very specific American-maintained global security environment of the past few decades.
  • China’s navy is largely designed around capturing a very specific bit of this First Island Chain, the island of Formosa (aka the country of Taiwan, aka the “rebellious Chinese province”).
  • Problem is, China’s cruise-missile-heavy, short-range navy is utterly incapable of protecting China’s global supply chains, making China’s export-led economic model questionable at best.
  • Nor is home consumption an option. Pushing four decades of the One Child Policy means China has not only gutted its population growth and made the transition to a consumption-led economy technically impossible, but has now gone so far to bring the entire concept of “China” into question in the long-term.

Honestly, this – all of this – only scratches the surface. For the long and the short of just how weak and, to be blunt, doomed China is, I refer you my new book, Disunited Nations.

Chapters 2 through 4 break down what makes for successful powers, global and otherwise…and how China fails on a historically unprecedented scale on each and every measure.

But on with the story of the day:

These are the broader strategic and economic dislocations and fractures embedded in the Chinese system.

That explains the “why” as to why the Chinese leadership is terrified of their future But what about the “why now?”

Why has Xi chosen this moment to institute a political lockdown? After all, none of these problems are new.

There are two explanations. First, exports in specific:

The One Child Policy means that China can never be a true consumption-led system, but China is hardly the only country facing that particular problem.

The bulk of the world – ranging from Canada to Germany to Brazil to Japan to Korea to Iran to Italy – have experienced catastrophic baby busts at various times during the past half century.

In nearly all cases, populations are no longer young, with many not even being middle-aged.

For most of the developed world, mass retirement and complete consumption collapses aren’t simply inevitable, they’ll arrive within the next 48 months.

And that was before coronavirus gutted consumption on a global scale, presenting every export-oriented system with an existential crisis.

Which means China, a country whose political functioning and social stability is predicated upon export-led growth, needs to find a new reason for the population to support the CCP’s very existence.

The second explanation for the “why now?” is the status of Chinese trade in general:

Remember way back when to the glossy time before coronavirus when the world was all tense about the Americans and Chinese launching off into a knock-down, drag-out trade war?

Back on January 15 everyone decided to take a breather. The Chinese committed to a rough doubling of imports of American products, plus efforts to tamp down rampant intellectual property theft and counterfeiting, in exchange for a mix of tariff suspensions and reductions. Announced with much fanfare, this “Phase I” deal was supposed to set the stage for a subsequent, far larger “Phase II” deal in which the Americans planned to convince the Chinese to fundamentally rework their regulatory, finance, legal and subsidy structures.

These are all things the Chinese never had any intention of carrying out. All the concessions the Americans imagined are wound up in China’s debt-binge model.

Granting them would unleash such massive economic, financial and political instability that the survival of the CCP itself would be called into question.

Any deal between any American administration and Beijing is only possible if the American administration first forces the issue.

Pre-Trump, the last American administration to so force the issue was the W Bush administration at the height of the EP3 spy plane incident in mid-2001. Despite his faults,

Donald Trump deserves credit for being the first president in the years since to expend political capital to compel the Chinese to the table.

But there’s more to a deal than its negotiation.

There is also enforcement. In the utter absence of rule of law, enforcement requires even, unrelenting pressure akin to what the Americans did to the Soviets with Cold War era nuclear disarmament policy.

No US administration has ever had the sort of bandwidth required to police a trade deal with a large, non-market economy.

There are simply too many constantly moving pieces.

The current American administration is particularly ill-suited to the task.

The Trump administration’s tendency to tweet out a big announcement and then move on to the next shiny object means the Chinese discarded their “commitments” with confidence on the day they were made.

Which means the Sino-American trade relationship was always going to collapse, and the United States and China were always going to fall into acrimony. Coronavirus did the world a favour (or disfavour based upon where you stand) in delaying the degradation.

In February and March the Chinese were under COVID’s heel and it was perfectly reasonable to give Beijing extra time.

In April it was the Americans’ turn to be distracted.

Now, four months later, with the Americans emerging from their first coronavirus wave and edging back towards something that might at least rhyme with a shadow of normal, the bilateral relationship is coming back into focus – and it is obvious the Chinese deliberately and systematically lied to Trump.

Such deception was pretty much baked in from the get-go. In part it is because the CCP has never been what I’d call an honest negotiating partner. In part it is because the CCP honestly doesn’t think the Chinese system can be reformed, particularly on issues such as rule of law.

In part it is because the CCP honestly doesn’t think it could survive what the Americans want it to attempt.

But in the current environment it all ends at the same place: I think we can all recall an example or three of how Trump responds when he feels personally aggrieved.

Which brings us to perhaps China’s most immediate problem.

Nothing about the Chinese system – its political unity, its relative immunity from foreign threats, its ability import energy from a continent away, its ability to tap global markets to supply it with raw materials and markets to dump its products in, its ability to access the world beyond the First Island Chain – is possible without the global Order.

And the global Order is not possible without America. No other country – no other coalition of countries – has the naval power to guarantee commercial shipments on the high seas.

No commercial shipments, no trade. No trade, no export-led economies.

No export-led economies…no China.

It isn’t so much that the Americans have always had the ability to destroy China in a day (although they have), but instead that it is only the Americans that could create the economic and strategic environment that has enabled China to survive as long as it has.

Whether or not the proximate cause for the Chinese collapse is home grown or imported from Washington is largely irrelevant to the uncaring winds of history, the point is that Xi believes the day is almost here.

Global consumption patterns have turned.

China’s trade relations have turned.

America’s politics have turned.

And now, with the American-Chinese breach galloping into full view, Xi feels he has little choice but to prepare for the day everyone in the top ranks of the CCP always knew was coming:

The day that China’s entire economic structure and strategic position crumbles.

A full political lockdown is the only possible survival mechanism.

So the “solution” is as dramatic as it is impactful:

Spawn so much international outcry that China experiences a nationalist reaction against everyone who is angry at China.

Convince the Chinese population that nationalism is a suitable substitute for economic growth and security.

And then use that nationalism to combat the inevitable domestic political firestorm when China doesn’t simply tank, but implodes.

53329 Brian Francis Granland

Sadly, I have been advised that 53329 Brian Francis Granland passed away peacefully in Perth last night. Brian served as a Sergeant in Mortar Platoon, 1RAR during the first tour of Vietnam, he had also served in Malaya during the emergency. Brian was a strong supporter of the 1RAR Association in WA. May he now rest in peace.