The Government has today responded to the 13 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide’s Interim Report.

The Royal Commission’s Interim Report is the culmination of the inquiry’s work to date, encompassing over 2,000 submissions, 178 private sessions and testimony from 208 witnesses.

The Interim Report’s 13 recommendations fall within three key themes: improving the claims process, Royal Commission administration and access to information by loved ones.

The Government has implemented one of the recommendations already (recommendation 5), agreed to nine, agreed in principle to one, and noted two others.

The Government agrees with the Commissioners that urgent and immediate action is required.

We thank the Commissioners, Nick Kaldas APM (Chair), the Honourable James Douglas QC and Dr Peggy Brown AO for their work in producing the Interim Report and for their ongoing work on the Royal Commission.

We also thank those who have contributed to the inquiry, we appreciate the courage and bravery it takes to share your experiences.

We encourage anyone that has insights on the issues confronting our Defence personnel and veterans, to come forward and give evidence to the Royal Commission publicly or in private session.

Submissions remain open until 13 October 2023.

Quotes attributable to Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP:

“The death by suicide of any Australian, including our veterans and current serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, is a tragedy.

“It is devastating that Australia has lost more serving and former serving personnel to suicide over the last 20 years than through operations over the same period in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The Royal Commission’s recommendations will assist in prioritising the necessary and important work ahead to better the lives of defence personnel, veterans and families.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Matt Keogh MP:

“There’s no doubt some veterans and families have not had a good experience dealing with Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and have not been able to access the support they deserve. For that, we are sorry.

“Our Government is committed to the task of saving lives and ensuring a better future for our Defence and veteran communities. After years of reports, too many deaths, too many lives changed for the worse and endless discussion, it’s time to get on with it.

“If you are a currently serving member of our ADF or family member, you can reach out to the ADF All-hours Support Line, available 24/7 on 1800 628 036.

If you are a veteran or family member you can access Open Arms veterans and families counselling service on 1800 011 046.

26 September 2022

From my inbox


What has happened to the RN’s naval leadership?  Is there NO TRADITION??



Ralph Wollmer

Click Link


Customers warned to watch out for scams following Optus data breach Scamwatch is warning Optus customers to be on the look out for scams and take steps to secure their personal information following a cyber-attack.

A cyber-attack has resulted in the release of Optus customers’ personal information. If you are an Optus customer your name, date of birth, phone number, email addresses may have been released. For some customers identity document numbers such as driver’s licence or passport numbers could be in the hands of criminals. It is important to be aware that you be may be at risk of identity theft and take urgent action to prevent harm.

Optus customers should take immediate steps to secure all of their accounts, particularly their bank and financial accounts. You should also monitor for unusual activity on your accounts and watch out for contact by scammers.

Steps you can take to protect your personal information include:

Secure your devices and monitor for unusual activity

Change your online account passwords and enable multi factor authentication for banking

Check your accounts for unusual activity such as items you haven’t purchased Place limits on your accounts or ask you bank how you can secure your money

If you suspect fraud you can request a ban on your credit report. More information about how to protect yourself is available on the OAIC website.

Check the Optus website for information and contact Optus via the My Optus App or call 133 937.

Scammers may use your personal information to contact you by phone, text or email. Never click on links or provide personal or financial information to someone who contacts you out of the blue. Learn how to protect yourself from scams by visiting

If you are concerned that your identity has been compromised or you have been a victim of a scam contact your bank immediately and call IDCARE on 1800 595 160. IDCARE is Australia’s national identity and cyber support service, to get expert advice from a specialist identity and cyber security service. You can also report scams to Scamwatch and check for information about cyber security.


Lieutenant Norm Peatling | Coral Balmoral Flashback

Lt Norm Peatling was a clerk with a stockbroking firm in Melbourne when his marble came out. He had never been outside of Australia. He took the option of doing officer training at Scheyville so he could get out of kitchen duties from pre-dawn to late at night at Puckapunyal training camp.

Norm tells about his first time in combat, four months before Balmoral and how his attitudes towards the war have changed over the years.

To relieve your stress, guaranteed

This is unbelievable and will make you smile.

Here’s a stress-management technique that has been recommended as a proven stress relief strategy.

The funny thing is that it really works:


  1. Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal-clear stream.


  1. Picture yourself with both your hands in the water.


  1. Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.


  1. No one knows your secret place.


  1. You are in total seclusion from the world.


  1. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.


  1. The water is so clear you can make out the face of the Greens voter you are holding underwater.


See, it worked.

You’re smiling.

You feel better already.


Photo Evidence of Painting & Exposure to Asbestos on the Ships & Small Craft.

G’day all,

A number of your shipmates and their Widows need your assistance, please.

Exposure to asbestos and certain chemicals including some paints is proving responsible for causing fatal diseases in a number of us who served on the ships.

An increasing number of your shipmates have been/are involved in processing claims for compensation relating to exposure to these diseases.  This includes a Widow of a shipmate who has had her claim rejected by DVA.

To assist in the processing of these claims and appeals, we seek your assistance, please.

Could you provide any/all:

  1. Photos of crew members painting on the ships.  We need this evidence.
  2. Photos of the paint locker would be of great assistance.
  3. Photos of asbestos insulation, gland packing, gaskets, dust etc
  4. Evidence of the use of ‘Red Lead’/’Yellow Chromate’ primers, White Lead, Polyurathane etc will be appreciated.
  5. Any comments/evidence you may have will be treated confidentially and will not be used without your consent.

We need your assistance now to assist your shipmates and a Widow.

Please forward to me as shown below:

Best wishes

Kind Regards

Peter (Blue) Atkinson

3 Maureen Court

Heatherton Vic 3202


[email protected]


Humiliated Russian President Vladimir Putin doubles down on war.

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s language on Wednesday was paranoid, extreme, threatening, and nearly deranged. 

By Greg Sheridan

Vladimir Putin has doubled down on war. The humiliated dictator, who normally projects macho swagger and extravagant braggadocio, has been out-fought, out-manoeuvred and out-thought by his Ukrainian enemies.

Now, faced with the consequences of a completely unjust and unnecessary war, he has not looked for an off-ramp. He is ­betting the house on more ­violence, more war.

In a militant address, mysteriously delayed for a day, he announced a partial mobilisation of Russian society for war; he threatened the use of nuclear weapons; he told his countrymen that Russia was in conflict with the West, which was out to destroy Russia itself; and he announced he would “abide by” by referendums Moscow is organising in captured Ukraine territory that will express a desire for these territories to become part of Russia itself.

Short of firing off nuclear weapons, this is almost the maximum escalation Putin could go for. His language was paranoid, extreme, threatening, nearly deranged – in other words, vintage Putin.

Putin is a man under immense pressure, a dictator experiencing the bitter moment that comes to most autocrats when reality refuses to bend to his will. He has experienced unaccustomed military and political defeat and is under as much pressure at home as he has ever been. He plainly believes that he cannot contemplate defeat, for defeat could well lead to his death, as it has for so many dictators in the past. So he once more re­defined the core purpose of his invasion. This time, he said the invasion was to “liberate the whole of Donbas”, a giant region in eastern Ukraine, from the “neo-Nazis” he claims rule in Ukraine.

As he already controls a good portion of Donbas, this, from Putin’s point of view, is at least conceivably achievable.

The performance of the Russian military in Ukraine has been exceptionally incompetent, very bad at logistics, very weak non-commissioned officers, no tactical flexibility, undisciplined savagery towards civilians. But that is the way the Russian military has often been. We were misled into thinking Putin had modernised and reformed his military.

Russia has a long history of starting big wars badly and yet prevailing in the end, not least because of an ability to absorb enormous losses, for the national leadership to accept long-term suffering among Russian soldiers and civilians. Historically, it specialises in the ­“attrition” part of wars of attrition.

Putin’s isolation was evident just days ago at the Shanghai Cooperation Conference. India’s Narendra Modi was the most explicit of Russia’s old friends, telling Putin that this was not the time for war. Putin has ignored all that advice. The Russian government has now authorised a “partial” mobilisation of 300,000 reservists. The emphasis will be on those who have already served in the armed forces, but Putin made it clear that if more soldiers were needed, yet more people would be mobilised.

Recently, Moscow has resorted to sending prisoners from its jails into battle, as well as Chechens, mercenaries and any odd volunteers, often with little or no military training.

Putin was apparently reluctant to mobilise more widely because he didn’t want the Russian people to become resentful about major dislocations in their regular lives. Now he will impose that dislocation, and justify it with paranoia and extreme nationalism, rather than contemplate defeat.

Putin again made explicit nuclear threats. Russian military doctrine has long held it would use nuclear weapons if it faced defeat on its own territory at the hands of NATO or Western forces.

After Putin formally annexes the territories in Luhansk and Donetsk, which will inevitably ‘vote’ to join Russia, he can claim, falsely of course, that attacks on those territories are attacks on Russia itself and this could justify, in his eyes at least, the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Putin would be mad to do this, as it would render him completely isolated internationally, but history is full of dictators doing mad things.

His pressure domestically has come from two directions – those who hate the war, and those who think Putin has not waged it ­viciously enough. It may be that Putin ultimately will want a cease- fire in which he keeps much or most of the Donbas. The Ukrainians may not accept that.

With newly liberated Ukrainian territory disclosing information of shocking Russian human rights abuses and systematic torture, it nonetheless is clear that in the near future, this ferocious war is set only to intensify.

That is the Putin option.


Back home and back on air

We have returned from our adventure to the Cook Islands, Raratonga to be exact. What a wonderful experience it was and I have no hesitation recommending it as a stress-free destination.

We stayed at the Edgewater Resort & Spa on the western side of the island, and it was everything and more than we expected. Back in 2019 we attended a charity function and during the night they auctioned a holiday at the Edgewater for two with heaps included, we were fortunate to win the auction and all we had to pay for were our flights.

We were excited but then Covid hit, and you all know what happened then. This meant that the first opportunity we had to go was September this year.

We had to take four flights to get there and back and all of them were delayed. There is no direct flights we had to pass through Auckland. Our travel agent had warned us of possible delays and advised that we take clothes in our carry-on luggage. Fortunately, no hassles with luggage.

We arrived at Edgewater Resort very late at 11:15pm to the warmest of receptions everybody was so willing to help to ensure that everything was perfect.

The following morning, we woke and walked onto our balcony to find that we were right on the beach, how absolutely wonderful, the water in the lagoon was at the perfect temperature and the weather was a very pleasant 26ᶜ and stayed that way all week.

We had tour and adventures booked for each day with the exception of Sunday which we knew was a quiet day on the island with just about everything closed, we remained at the resort and enjoyed the relaxation. We met a Kiwi couple with very similar interests and a great sense of humour. We spent most of our time with them and a couple from York in the UK. We formed our own ‘Bloody Good Drinkers Club’.

I must at this stage mention the staff at the resort, every single member was a total delight, with the biggest smiles and so willing to make sure we had the best service possible. The attention to detail was outstanding.

We hired a driver for a tour of the island and to experience the culture, his knowledge was extensive, and he took us to places others don’t normally venture. We were impressed at how neat and tidy the whole island was with the homes and yards well maintained.

We went on the reef in a glass bottom boat and snorkelled we enjoyed a BBQ on the beach and were entertained. We also enjoyed a fabulous progressive dinner at three local homes, the food was outstanding and we both ate too much, but what the heck!

I guess you might have realized that we had a wonderful holiday in a perfect place, that I wholeheartedly recommend. If you are thinking of travelling to the Cook Islands stop thinking and do it.