Australia to buy long-range HIMARS missile system

Australia’s Army will have an unprecedented long-range strike capability with the purchase of the US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket (HIMARS) system, which Ukraine has praised for its devastating effectiveness against invading Russian forces.

The Albanese government has finalised a deal to buy 20 of the truck-mounted rocket launchers by 2026, while signing another deal to acquire the Norwegian-made Naval Strike Missiles (NSM) for Australian warships next year.

Precise costs of the purchases are being kept secret for security reasons, but the government has confirmed to the ABC the overall figure is “between one and two billion dollars”.

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said during an October visit to the United States he held “productive discussions” with the Army and Lockheed Martin on how Australia could start producing the rockets used in HIMARS.

On New Year’s Day, a Ukrainian strike using the US-donated HIMARS system killed dozens, possibly even hundreds of Russian soldiers in the Donetsk region.

Mr Conroy said the deadly precision of HIMARS in Ukraine has confirmed why Australia should acquire the technology.

“We’ll have an Army ground launched missile that can reach targets up to 300 kilometres away and we’re part of developmental program in the United States called the precision strike missile that’ll allow Army to hit targets in excess of 499 kilometres”.

 

Old leadership lessons are still relevant

I SAY, I SAY, I SAY…

A funny thing happened to me on the way to Fort Zinderneuf, but nobody is laughing!

 

MAJOR Charles McMoran Wilson MC, Silver Medal of Military Valour (Italy), twice MID, knew more than most about soldiers and soldiering.

As 1st Bn Royal Fusiliers RMO on the Western Front in World War I, he treated their wounds, observed their reactions to climate and battle and was himself gassed.

As a later UK Royal College of Physicians president, he wrote and lectured on these experiences.

During World War II he was Churchill’s personal physician, chronicling the old soldier and prime minister’s personal battles with depression.

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Old leadership lessons are still relevant | Australian Defence History, Policy and Veterans Issues (targetsdown.blogspot.com)

 

ANNIVERSARY MARKS THE START OF COMMEMORATIVE YEAR FOR VIETNAM VETERANS

Tomorrow marks 50 years since the 1973 proclamation of the end of Australian involvement in the Vietnam War.

 Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said 11 January also marks the beginning of the official Vietnam 50 commemorations for 2023.

 “More than 60,000 Australians served in Vietnam, over 3,000 were wounded and 523 lost their lives in the longest conflict Australia was involved in during the 20th Century,” Minister Keogh said.

 “This was a war that was at times contentious at home, and for some veterans their service not recognised as it should have been.

 “In December we marked the 50th anniversary of the Whitlam Labor Government’s end to the last National Service scheme in Australia and the anniversary of the withdrawal of the Australian Army Training Team in Vietnam.

 “The Australian Government is honouring those who served, and throughout this commemorative year will specifically recognise and honour the service and sacrifice of Vietnam veterans and their families,” Minister Keogh said.

 All Vietnam Veterans and National Servicemen, even if they were not deployed, are eligible to claim through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and entitled to a White Card that includes mental health support.

 DVA will recognise this significant anniversary through a broad awareness campaign throughout 2023 including a documentary series to be screened on the ABC, and providing historical and educational resources to schools, ex-service organisations and community groups.

 This will culminate in a national commemorative service on Vietnam Veterans’ Day, 18 August 2023, in Canberra, recognising the service of all Australians who served in the Vietnam War and honouring the sacrifices that they and their families made.

For more information about acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, visit the DVA website: www.dva.gov.au/VietnamCommemorativeService

Home from Hospital

Hi All,

I guess you may have wondered where I was. Last Wednesday I had difficulty breathing and went to the emergency at John Flynn Hospital, shortly after I was admitted to the coronary ward with my heart rate down to 38 BPM. I had a build-up of fluid around my heart and lungs slowing the flood flow. They hooked me up to an IV and gave me fluid tables that had me weeing every five minutes for three days … I had to remain in the hospital until today. I’m home now with the problem solved having lost ten kilos. My thanks must go to the staff at John Flynn and the cardiologist who gave me absolutely the best care and fixed me as good as new.

I will be back at my desk again tomorrow.

Cheers

Ray

New boss to “clean up DVA’s shambles”

By Brian Hartigan

Photos:  Alison Frame (left) will take over as Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs from incumbent Liz Cosson in January 2023.

The Prime Minister has announced the appointment of Alison Frame as the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, replacing Liz Cosson after Christmas.

Ms Frame comes from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet where she has been in the role of Deputy Secretary, Social Policy.

She has been a senior public servant for both the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments in a range of service-delivery and policy roles.

Mr Albanese said Ms Frame brought significant experience working with stakeholders and leading staff to deliver positive outcomes for the community.

“Ms Frame’s five-year appointment will commence on 23 January 2023,” he said.

“I congratulate Alison on the appointment and look forward to working with her in this new capacity.

“I also thank Elizabeth Cosson for her service as Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs since May 2018.

“She has been a passionate advocate for improving services for veterans and their families.”

According to her own LinkedIn profile, Alison Frame has 21 years of public sector experience, 16 years at the senior executive level, in both the NSW and Australian Public Service, with a breadth of roles in strategy, change management and service delivery across the human services and planning systems.

Senator Jacqui Lambie – never a fan of current Secretary Liz Cosson – posted a celebratory “Bye Liz” on her Facebook page, commenting “Let’s hope the new Secretary cleans up DVA’s shambles”.

 

A NEW ALLY LOOMS FOR DESERVING VETERANS – RCB

AUSTRALIA’S enduring relationship with the Malaysian Kingdom, forged through decades of war and peace remains largely unknown and unremarked in our national consciousness.

Yet generations of Australian servicemen and women have served there, while thousands gave their lives in the defence of what is now the Kingdom of Malaysia and the sovereign Republic of Singapore.

That they are two very different countries is testament to the volatile nature of regional history and politics.

Singapore has morphed into a vibrant, secular multiracial state, albeit with what might be described as a benign, multi-generational, Straits born Hakka Chinese ruling dynasty.

As complex as that may seem to outside observers, it succinctly symbolises who and what Singaporeans are.

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A NEW ALLY LOOMS FOR DESERVING VETERANS | Australian Defence History, Policy and Veterans Issues (targetsdown.blogspot.com)

 

Remember HINDMARSH ISLAND (SA) claim ” secret women’s business – that proved to be a lie.

Wollumbin scientist questions sacred nature of mountain

Jeremy PierceGold Coast Bureau

With a push to permanently close Mount Warning in Northern NSW, to hikers due to its cultural significance, a scientist who spent years studying the area has questioned just how “sacred” the site actually is.

A scientist who spent years studying Mount Warning ‘Wollumbin” has questioned just how “sacred” the site is after a committee recommended closing it to the public forever.

Dr Peter Solomon wrote a thesis for the University of Queensland on his findings from years of study during the 1950s, focusing mostly on the area’s unique geological formations, but said he found no evidence of sacred sites.

Mount Warning “Wollumbin” has been off limits to hikers for almost three years and is unlikely to ever reopen after a recommendation to permanently bar general visitors.

Dr Solomon, who went on to obtain a PhD in science at Harvard University and spent decades working with government and private agencies on natural resources issues, contacted The Courier-Mail after reading how a panel known as the Wollumbin Consultative Group had recommended closing the hiking trail because “access is not culturally appropriate or culturally safe”.

Last week there was renewed hope that a compromise could be reached after a “positive” meeting between key stakeholders, but no formal moves have been made to reopen the trail.

Dr Solomon said he was surprised at the recommendations to permanently close the summit trail which followed almost three years of extended “temporary” closures.

“I found that very interesting,” he said.

“During my studies I was looking for sacred sites and I came to the conclusion that there were none around.

“I certainly don’t think there is enough evidence that it should be closed off to everybody because of the presence of any sacred sites.”

He said the geological wonders of the area meant it should be able to be enjoyed and experienced by the public, even if it meant the introduction of a permit system to regulate access.

“This is a very precious area,” he said.

“There is nothing else like it anywhere else in the world.”

It also acknowledged that the “identification of known Aboriginal sites and places within and surrounding Wollumbin AP is not exhaustive”, listing a number of important cultural sites nearby.

On Thursday, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service released a statement confirming any move to reopen the summit track would be at the discretion of the Aboriginal custodians.

The Wollumbin Consultative Group, whose views were published in the Wollumbin Aboriginal Place Management Plan released in October, has declined multiple requests for interviews and comment.

In the October report, the WCG called for the “immediate” closure of the area to the general public, but suggested requests to access the site for scientific purposes could be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The report identified the Wollumbin Aboriginal Place “as a sacred ceremonial and cultural complex that is linked to traditional law and custom … interconnected to a broader cultural and spiritual landscape”.