Senator Jacqui Lambie slams the Dpartment of Veterans Affairs

If you didn’t have had the opportunity seeing and listening to Senator Jacqui Lambie slam The Department of Veterans Affairs, click on one of the links below .

She stated :-

“I gave a speech in the Senate tonight and had all cylinders firing at DVA. I’ve had enough of this Department, and I know veterans have too. I’ll let you listen to my speech and make up your own mind….”

You can either watch it on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1372091669665024&id=281624508711751&fs=1&focus_composer=0

Or youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM5KYLZ0MUU

 

Please pass this onto fellow veterans, war widows, family and friends.

It runs a shade over 10 minutes.

 

The way things are here

Graham Walker (seated in wheelchair) who owns a Saw Mill at Corryong writes;

“Never in my lifetime have I ever seen a bush fire become so political, with so much interference from city based experts!

Australia is known for its bush fires, cyclones, droughts and flooding rains so what has changed this time?
I believe we now have a new breed of people in this country that NEED TO BLAME somebody for every natural event that occurs and they have infiltrated our communities with their ideology!

The majority in this country are the “Quiet Australians” who have seen it all happen before and know we will see it all happen again.
Our voice wasn’t being heard! We knew that the fuel load was too high, we knew that policy had changed allowing fuel reduction burns and we knew that protesting by minority groups was influencing decision making!
Just back on June 20, 2019 I raised these issues in a Regional Forests Agreement meeting in Corryong with representatives from DELWP, Federal, State and local governments regarding the fuel load in National Parks, the blackberries and noxious weeds in State forests and Parks, the lack of maintenance of fire tracks, the lack of water storage in these areas and outlined that we had a ticking time bomb right under our noses!

Climate Change didn’t light the fires in NSW and Victoria, lightning and arsonists did!! The fuel load was there and it was tinder dry from the drought.
But now the SWAMP is rising and along with social media and mainstream media they are driving a tsunami of hate, of blame, of rebellion like we’ve never seen before!
Everything that goes wrong has to be someone else’s fault!!
They CRY Climate Change but then board an aeroplane to go overseas!
The scientists are some of the worst hypocrites in this area! Fly to this climate conference and then to the next!

Children are being indoctrinated in schools before they can even read and write, about politics, climate change, gender equality, sex and religion at such a young age and well before they can make their own judgements on any of these matters.
This indoctrination then spreads like a virus and infects those who we thought were immune, until it becomes a plague of rebellion and uprising against those who are the quiet Australians.

I might be old fashioned, but the Australia I knew as a kid was far better!
We didn’t care where the power came from, as long as the toaster or the lights worked!
We didn’t care if it was a drought as we knew every day was one closer to it raining!
I battled the 1st of February 1969 bush fires in 45c heat as a 15 year old, I bent all the linkage arms on the tractor ploughing fire breaks, experienced the extreme heat of the fire, the lack of oxygen in my lungs, being too scared to sleep inside the house at 2 am!
I saw the devastating loss of property, and the burying of dead stock.

We didn’t have P2 masks or were told every 5 minutes of the what the air quality was!! We wet a handkerchief and put it across our nose and mouth and tied a knot in the back and got on with it!!

Then the chaos came again a few weeks later when torrential rains came and caused massive erosion and polluted our water, and 3 months later on the 5th of May we had cows dying of bloat as the grass was so prolific!

THIS WILL ALL HAPPEN AGAIN!!
This is the country we live in and know as Australia, NO politician can change it, NO Climate Change policy will either!
Humans caused this atrocity by their ignorance of nature and the history we have on record that could be used to prevent this occurring this bad ever again!
Sorry about the rant but I’m not happy with the world right now!

Bundy High School ANZAC Memorial

A newly designed Anzac memorial at Bundaberg State High School will be used for the first time at this year’s Anzac Day commemoration.

Principal Karen McCord said the $22,000 memorial had been installed during the last months of 2019.

“We had carefully considered a design concept prior to approaching local Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt for a grant to assist with the project,” she said.

“We were able to source $10,000 from a government grant and the school has provided the remaining $12,000.

“The location of the memorial adjacent to Maryborough Street ensures a very public view of the memorial.

“The work was undertaken by Higgins Contracting and we are thrilled with the completed project which incorporates design elements that reflect the Gallipoli story. School staff were also heavily involved in the creative aspects of the memorial.”

Ms McCord said special tiles with a wave-like finish and sandstone coloured blocks were indicative of the elements at ANZAC Cove where the Australian forces landed.

“We have introduced other elements such as 10 picture tiles of historic Gallipoli scenes. Another great feature are the bollards surrounding the memorial that are of a bullet or shell-like design and also the garden beds with their plantings of Rosemary.”

She said the memorial was located a short distance from the school’s Assembly Hall where the normal Anzac Day ceremony is observed.

“It’s our intention to live-stream the flag raising and wreath laying segments of our Anzac Day observance to students inside the building,” she said.

“It is very important that the traditional messages of courage, sacrifice and mateship are perpetuated.

“Students have a very strong understanding of Anzac Day and a very strong affiliation to its observance.”

Ms McCord said Bundaberg State High School was transitioning through a redesign and the new master plan would dovetail perfectly with the current placement of the school’s Anzac memorial.

Powerful new body to tackle ADF and veteran suicides

A powerful, new independent body will be created to investigate all suspected veteran and Australian Defence Force (ADF) suicides and causes to help save lives.

The Morrison Government will establish a permanent National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.

The National Commissioner will have the enduring power, scope and resources to investigate suicides and related issues as they arise, rather than being restricted by a one-off review looking at past practices.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the independent Commissioner would also have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.

“This is about being forever vigilant for the care and well-being of our veterans,” the Prime Minister said.

“Those veterans and all serving men and women protect our community and our freedoms. It is our duty to do the same for them.

“I have thought long and hard about the best response to this issue. I have spoken to veterans right across Australia and I have met with their families and also local, state and national organisations.

“I believe what we have developed addresses the needs of those veterans, their families and our serving men and women.

“We will be permanently vigilant about their welfare.”

The National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention will be empowered to perform two roles:

  • The Commissioner will be an independent and permanent public accountability body, with the same powers of a Royal Commission to compel the production of evidence and summon witnesses, and make findings and recommendations to Government.
  • The Commissioner will also provide an ongoing investigative function of individual cases of suicide, working with each state and territory coronial office, making recommendations to Government.

The Government will invest an initial $40 million to support the Commissioner’s work and this will be expanded to ensure they have whatever resources they need.

The Government will also establish an immediate, independent review of historical veteran suicide cases, conducted by the Commissioner, focusing on the impact of military service and veterans’ post service experience.

An interim report will be delivered within 12 months. Families will be engaged in this process if they wish, with an opportunity to participate and tell their stories openly and safely.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, along with coronial and legal experts, will provide technical expertise in support of this work.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the Commissioner would also deliver an Annual Veteran and Defence Suicide Death Report to the Parliament.

“This will be a transparent report directly to the Parliament on an annual basis on suicides within the defence and veteran community, including an update on the implementation and evaluation of measures to reduce suicide risk factors,” Mr Chester said.

“The Government is committed to ensuring ADF members, veterans and their families have access to the right support, at the right time, especially those who are vulnerable or at risk.”

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the Chief of the Defence Force and each Service Chief was committed to being open and transparent, to support improved health outcomes for ADF personnel and veterans.

“The mental health and wellbeing of our vets and Defence Force members is an issue of national and enduring importance.

“These comprehensive measures have been developed with a very clear focus on finding the most effective and practical ways of better identifying, preventing, understanding and acting on suicide and suicide risks among our vets and service men and women.”

A Veteran Family Advocate will also be appointed to directly engage with the families of veterans, to improve the design of all veteran programs and services, including mental health supports and services.

“The new Veteran Family Advocate will focus on mental health and suicide prevention, and contribute to our understanding of risk factors relating to the wellbeing of veterans and their families, particularly during transition from the ADF,” Mr Chester said.

“The Advocate will represent the views of veterans and their families by engaging and advocating to help shape policy and the administration of veteran benefits and support.

“We want to assure defence and veterans’ families that help is available now and it can make a difference. Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides support and counselling to current ADF members, veterans and their families and can be contacted 24/7 on 1800 011 046.”

 

Supporting at risk veterans transitioning to civilian life

Programs supporting younger at-risk veterans and veterans transitioning to civilian employment are set to expand to hundreds more people as part of a significant funding boost from the Morrison Government.

An extra 170 young and vulnerable veterans leaving the Australian Defence Force annually will get guidance and a single point of contact with 10 additional case coordinators backed by a $4.8 million investment in the Coordinated Client Support program that already helps around 1,200 veterans facing difficult circumstances. The investment means the entire high-risk cohort of veterans leaving the ADF will now be covered under the Coordinated Client Support program.

The Government will also boost the resources of the Personalised Career Employment Program by $5.6 million and will expand its eligibility to another 1,600 ADF members each year looking for career development and job placement support as they set up for civilian life.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was backing younger veterans facing tough challenges as they transitioned out of the ADF.

“We’ll show the same commitment and duty to those veterans who have served us that they have shown our country,” the Prime Minister said.

“Research shows veterans under 30 who are involuntarily discharged as being at higher risk of suicide than the general population so we want to ensure they get the support they need as they navigate the range of government services on offer.

“These programs are about reaching out to those veterans who need our help to ensure they get it.”

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said under the Coordinated Client Support program, DVA works closely with Defence to identify veterans at risk before they transition out of service and provide them with a single point of contact.

“We are committed to putting veterans and their families first and by providing those most at risk with a single client coordinator it ensures a seamless continuation of support as they leave the ADF, assists them to access appropriate health treatment as well as the finalisation of their DVA claims,” Mr Chester said.

“Currently the PCEP supports those aged between 17 and 24 who have served less than four years by providing them with greater opportunity for job placement within the civilian community. The investment announced today will extend this to those up to 30 years of age, meaning a further 30 per cent of transitioning members can now access the program in Townsville alone.”

Minister Chester said the Government was also delivering on a 2019 election commitment with a $15 million investment to roll-out employment-related programs for veterans through a one-off grants package for Soldier On, Team Rubicon Australia and the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL National).

“To further support veterans seeking employment, Soldier On, Team Rubicon Australia and RSL will assist those who find the transition to the civilian workforce challenging through tailored employment-related programs,” Mr Chester said.

“You only need to look at the mobilisation of Team Rubicon Australia to assist in the recent response to the bushfires to know the results will be promising. I look forward to seeing the ongoing results of this important program.”

Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson welcomed the further announcements, particularly the potential benefits to members of Townsville’s veteran community.

“Townsville has a strong military and veteran community, with around 750 transitions from the ADF here every year, and having served in the ADF, transitioned into civilian life and having watched my mate’s transition I know how important it is to get it right,” Mr Thompson said.

“DVA and Defence have been working hard to improve the transition process and the additional support outlined today will go a long way to supporting those most in need.

“As a government we have done a lot, which I know is appreciated by the ex-service community, but we know there is still more to do.”

The Government has made promoting the valuable skills of ADF personnel and veterans a high priority, including through the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program and Veterans’ Employment Awards.

The Government invests a record $11 billion to support 280,000 veterans and their families each year, is reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs with more work underway, has cut waiting times for claims and has also launched the Australian Veterans’ Card and Lapel Pin, so veterans can be appropriately recognised, including by businesses who want to offer special discounts and offers to veterans.

ADF mental health services ‘underfunded’

A review of mental health care in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has found there are not enough resources or staff.

The independent review by Professor David Dunt found mental health problems remain stigmatised in the ADF and the wider community, and there are many barriers to seeking care.

The Federal Government says it will act on 49 of the 52 recommendations and the remaining three have been partially accepted.

About $80 million will be spent over four years to address the problems identified.

A leaked copy of the report admitted soldiers returning from war were not receiving adequate treatment for mental health problems.

Experts estimate that up to 10 per cent of combatants returning from the Middle East and Afghanistan may be suffering long-term mental health disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Defence Science and Personnel Minister, Warren Snowdon, and the Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Alan Griffin, said the review assessed the extent to which the mental health needs of serving and transitioning ADF members were being met.

“The report highlights the successes and gaps in the delivery of mental health programs and transition services and makes 52 recommendations to improve and extend those services,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Implementing the recommendations will ensure our current and ex-service personnel have easier access to best practice mental health services. Preventive activities will be delivered by staff dedicated to mental health promotion and multi-disciplinary health teams will ensure holistic care that also considers the needs of families.”

Professor Dunt says the ADF’s mental health strategy is admirable but under-resourced and understaffed.

He has recommended more training on mental health issues, better screening after personnel come back from deployment and a significant change to the way mental health services are provided.

“We need to have more psychologists on base particularly. We need to have a greater involvement of doctors,” Professor Dunt said.

“I think that all these different people need to work in multi-disciplinary teams at the base, at the regional level, at the national level and also here in Canberra at the policy and planning level.”

The implementation plan has 10 elements that will provide improved mental health governance and policy. They include: more mental health staff; increased mental health training for ADF personnel and providers; enhanced prevention strategies including better research; improved mental health rehabilitation and transition services; and better facilities for mental health services.

Mr Griffin said while many of the recommendations can be acted upon immediately, others will take several years to achieve.

“Both DVA and Defence will report regularly to the Government on their progress in implementing the recommendations,” he said.

“This Government understands the importance of robust and effective mental health support services. With more than 25,000 troops having served overseas since 1999, we must remain focused on ensuring both departments support the growing needs of our current and ex-service personnel.”

Medics show skills in the field

AUSTRALIA’S first Victoria Cross recipient, Captain Neville Howse, was serving as a regimental medical officer during the Boer War when he rescued a seriously wounded trooper under fire.

His professional reputation established, Howes rose through the military medical ranks in World War I to major-general commanding medical services in France, and was later a federal minister.

Colonel “Weary” Dunlop also benefited professionally from his military service.

By the time he was captured by the Japanese in 1942, he had already seen active service at Tobruk in Libya and in Greece and Syria.

Dunlop wasn’t the only doctor to show great ingenuity and heroism while POW – Albert Coates was at least one other – but he was the one best known.

Dunlop used the experience to push medicine beyond the bounds of well-resourced clinical peacetime practice, but simultaneously developed his personal and professional reputation.

Weary Dunlop’s war service presented a different problem as an aspiring general surgeon, who often improvised vaccines and equipment from what was available in the POW camps, as opposed to being able to use well provisioned dispensaries.

His civilian counterparts had long qualified for their Royal Australian College of Surgeons’ fellowships when he and his military cohort were finally demobilised.

Dunlop’s pioneering experiences of what might be termed field expedient medicine was not considered advantageous to his career.

When Winston Churchill’s health deteriorated significantly in the early days of World War II, it was a decorated former World War I infantry regimental medical officer he appointed as his personal physician.

Lord Moran – Sir Charles Wilson, MC – spent the early war years with the Royal Fusiliers before commanding the British Stationary Hospital, Boulogne, France in 1917-18.

He used the opportunity to study the effects of depression on soldiers, writing two books, The Mind in War and The Anatomy of Courage.

Between the wars he lectured the British Army Staff College on the effects of combat experience on soldiers’ reactions and subsequent mental health.

Moran was concurrently president of the Royal College of Physicians when he assumed his role with Churchill, who long battled what might now be, in part at least, described as PTSD. A former soldier, Churchill long battled depressive illness, even in politics.

His was a classic case study, inspiring Moran to publish post-war his diaries of the treatment afforded Churchill.

The ADF’s Malaria Research Institute is regarded as a centre of medical excellence studying vectorborne diseases.

However, its conduct of recent clinical trials using ADF personnel raise serious doubts.

Given resources readily available to them, its deficiencies deserve close scrutiny.

Now it seems the ADF medical services have been offered to assist with experimental research into coronavirus vaccines proposed for quarantine facilities on Christmas Island.

While there are historical and service justifications for antimalarial research, it would seem a gross misuse of scarce ADF medical resources to conduct antiviral trials into diseases that seem well outside the ADF’s charter or experience.

Australia’s governments should not regard scarce ADF medical resources as its first line of emergency response or experimentation.

Save their expertise for the troops.

 

JUSTICE FOR WOUNDED WARRIORS

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that an independent commissioner with the powers of a rolling royal commission will be appointed to investigate veteran suicide – a victory for mother Julie-Ann Finney who has collected almost 300,000 signatures in favour of a Royal Commission since her son David died a year ago.

Ally helps in hour of need

Written by Ross Eastgate

AMONG the countries that contributed to assist Australia fight the recent devastating bushfires was our nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea.

Television news images of the arriving PNG troops showed a mutual affection between the PNGDF personnel and their Australian counterparts.

They suggested many of the personnel were known to each other, old mates whose friendships were formed in training and exchange postings.

It’s usually the reverse, Australian personnel and resources deployed to PNG to assist that country to deal with famine, drought and natural disasters.

Wildfires on the scale Australia regularly experiences are not within PNG’s experience.

They are not equipped nor trained to deal with them.

Volcanic eruptions, landslides, tsunamis and cyclones are more likely, though even then the PNGDF and emergency services do not enjoy the luxury of specialist equipment to deal with their aftermath, nor treat mass casualties when they occur.

Yet in Australia’s recent hour of desperate need PNG was there to help in whatever way it could.

In 1883, the state of Queensland annexed the British territory of Papua, the bottom southeast corner of the main island.

Indeed, many Papuans still express loyalty to Queensland.

In 1914, Australia seized the remaining German administered parts of New Guinea east of the then Dutch border, continuing to administer it as a League of Nations Trust Territory until post World War II.

In 1973, the separate territories of Papua and New Guinea became Papua New Guinea until they achieved independence in September 1975.

Australia’s stewardship of both territories survived two world wars, during which its attention to such national building qualities as education and development of government services did not match the expectations a developing nation might expect.

However, in that process enduring relationships were formed between the potential future leaders of both nations.

One of the most enduring and rewarding professional relationships existed with the ADF, which post-independence acquired separate identities as the ADF and the PNGDF.

The professional friendships forged in uniform have endured, with the internet keeping old comrades in touch as global acquaintances do.

One of the great failings of Australia’s post-independence relationship with PNG has been the way it has abandoned those former personnel who were, until independence, fully fledged ADF members.

They had ADF identities, while some navy personnel qualified as Vietnam veterans.

Nor is it just ADF PNG veterans who have been abandoned.

In a country that seriously lacks basic infrastructure, PNG, particularly remote areas, has relied on Australia’s external radio service, Radio Australia, once operating under the ABC.

With no internet or local radio supporting remote areas, rural PNG often relied on the familiar static signal of Radio Australia using special short-wave radios for reception.

The Australian Government has reduced many services, to the point that by January 2017 China had assumed control of previous RA frequencies that targeted the South Pacific.

Last week Radio NZ’s short-wave Pacific service marked its 30th anniversary.

Australia chooses strange ways to embrace its long-term friends.

We can find better ways to reward mutual loyalty and friendship.

KPMG Review of TPI Benefits

On this page

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) commissioned KPMG to examine the TPI Federation’s campaign for an increase in the TPI payment.

KPMG analysed the arguments put forward by the TPI Federation in support of their campaign against the legislative and policy basis for the current TPI payment rate.  The same analysis was also conducted on an alternative payment structure proposed by the Disabled Veterans of Australia Network.  This included investigation of the overall levels of support available for TPI veterans and consideration of whether any cohorts of the TPI population need greater assistance than others.

KPMG also compared the draft recommendations of the Productivity Commission review A Better Way to Support Veterans, released on 11 December 2018, against the TPI Federation’s response to the draft Productivity Commission report and their proposed alternative recommendations.

The KPMG Review of TPI Benefits was completed and provided to DVA on 15 November 2019.