Pensions and allowances to rise from 20 March

From 20 March 2023, some veterans and their families will receive an increase to their pension payments in line with increases in the cost of living. You don’t have to do anything to receive the increase, it will be automatically included in your next payment.

As pension rates are calculated on a daily basis, the pension paid on payday 23 March 2023 will be paid partly at the old rate and partly at the new rate. The first full payment at the new rates of pension will be payday 6 April 2023.

The maximum rate of single service pension will rise by $37.50 to $1,064.00 per fortnight and the maximum rate for couples will increase by $28.20 to $802.00 per fortnight (each).

The Special Rate of Disability Compensation Payment (T&PI payment) will increase by $59.04 to $1,676.20 per fortnight. The Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA) rate will increase by $31.90 to $904.60 per fortnight and the 100 per cent General Rate of Disability Compensation Payment will increase by $20.50 to $581.90 per fortnight.

The pension paid to war widow(er)s will increase by $38.20 to $1,082.50 per fortnight (including the energy supplement), while the ceiling rate of the income support supplement will rise  to $321.10 per fortnight.

Payments will also increase certain benefits under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA). The weekly MRCA wholly dependent partner payment will increase by $19.10 to $541.25. This is paid fortnightly ($1,082.50).

The indexation factor used to index pensions each March and September can be based on either the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI) or Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE). For 20 March 2023, the indexation was driven by CPI.

For more information on the new pension rates, call 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372). Current and historical pension rates are available on the CLIK website (

New pension rates from 20 March 2023

SERVICE PENSION Old rate (fortnightly) New rate




Single person  $1,026.50  $1,064.00  $37.50
Couples (each)  $773.80  $802.00  $28.20
Single person – transitional  $856.40  $887.60  $31.20
Couples (each) – transitional  $690.90  $716.10  $25.20
War widow(er)’s pension  $1,044.30  $1,082.50  $38.20
Income support supplement  $309.60  $321.10  $11.50
T&PI (Special rate)  $1,617.16  $1,676.20  $59.04
Intermediate rate  $1,072.10  $1,111.30  $39.20
EDA  $872.70  $904.60  $31.90
100 per cent  $561.40  $581.90  $20.50
10 per cent  $63.07  $65.12  $2.05
Single Person $1,112.30 $1,153.50 $41.20
Couples (each) $867.20 $899.30 $32.10
Wholly dependent partner payment $1,044.30 $1,082.50 $38.20
Special Rate Disability pension (SRDP) $1,617.16 $1,676.20 $59.04


These are the maximum rates of payment and include any Energy Supplement payable.

The first full payment at the new rates will be the payday 6 April 2023.

*Note that the MRCA payments in the bottom two rows are the fortnightly amounts, not the weekly amounts.

Gunfight Rules

ED: This tongue in cheek one comes from a US veteran.

“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.” In a gunfight, the most important rule is … HAVE A GUN! The following are shooting tips from various Concealed Carry Instructors. If you own a gun, you will appreciate these rules… If not, you should get one, learn how to use it, and learn the rules.


A.) Guns have only two enemies: Rust and Politicians. Rust can be prevented, Politicians cannot.

B.) It’s always better to be judged by 12 than carried out by 6.

C.) Cops carry guns to protect themselves, not you

D.) Never let someone or something that threatens you get within 7 yards.

E.) Never say “I’ve got a gun.” If you need to use deadly force, the first sound they should hear is the safety clicking off, or the hammer cocking.

F.) The average response time of a 911 call is 23 minutes …when only seconds count; the response time of a .357 is 1,400 feet per second.

G.) The most important rule in a gunfight is: Always Win – there is no such thing as a fair fight. Always Win – cheat if necessary. Always Win – 2nd place doesn’t count.

H.) Make your attacker advance through a wall of bullets … you may get killed with your own gun, but they’ll have to beat you to death with it because it will be empty.

I.) If you’re in a gun fight:

(a) If you’re not shooting, you should be reloading.

(b) If you’re not reloading, you should be moving.

(c) If you’re not moving, you’re dead.

J.) In a life and death situation, do something … it may be wrong, but do something!

K.) If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. Nonsense! If you have a gun, what do you have to be paranoid about?

L.) Never fire a warning shot, that is just one wasted bullet, which could be needed within moments.

M.) You can say “stop” or any other word, but a large bore muzzle pointed at someone’s head is pretty much a universal language; and, you won’t have to press 1 for Spanish/Mexican, or 2 for Chinese, or 3 for Arabic.

N.) Never leave a wounded enemy behind. If you have to shoot, shoot to kill. In court, yours will be the only testimony.

O.) You cannot save the planet, but you may be able to save yourself and your family.

If you believe in the 2nd Amendment, forward this to others you know who also believe.


Veterans unite to call for improved access to mental health support.

By Lexie Jenuniewic

Three ex-service organisations from regional Victoria have united in a push to bring mental health support for veterans in line with other support services.

Australian Defence Force veterans Andrew Hamilton, Frank Nuccio, and Kevin Scott have committed to assisting other veterans and families through organisations in the Ballarat region.

Mr Hamilton is the secretary of Ballarat Veterans Assistance Centre, Mr Nuccio is the senior vice president of Ballarat RSL, and Mr Scott is the secretary of Sebastopol RSL.

All three men have expressed concern over the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ Non-Liability Health Care provision for veterans.

The scheme is open to current and former defence force members to provide fully-funded treatment of all mental health conditions.

If a veteran’s application is approved, eligible treatment can begin.

Mr Nuccio said “on the surface” the scheme seemed “really great”, but a key shortfall was impacting veterans accessing the service.

He said psychiatrists could not charge a gap for veterans’ affairs patients, leaving them out of pocket.

“The fee that they’ll get from that visit is substantially less than if they saw a private patient … it makes it even harder for the veteran to get mental health help,” Mr Nuccio said.

“The general consensus is that you’re less likely to get in [to see a psychiatrist] if you’re a DVA patient.”

In a statement, a Department of Veterans’ Affairs spokesperson said the department paid a rate higher than the equivalent Medicare Benefits Schedule fee.

“In return for this higher rate, providers are not permitted to charge DVA cardholders a gap fee,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Nuccio said the department could lift its rebate to the same level as the Transport Accident Commission and WorkCover.

Mr Hamilton said a report from a psychiatrist was needed to claim the cost from the department.

He said that would require several sessions.

“The administration burden on psychiatrists to provide the paperwork for someone to be recognised for their mental health, is huge,” he said.

The department spokesperson said there were 1,470 psychiatrists who provided about 110,000 services to more than 20,000 Veteran Card holders last financial year.

“However, DVA acknowledges there are broader workforce shortages across the mental health sector and that this can present particular challenges for veterans living in rural and remote areas,” the spokesperson said.

Delay consequences

Mr Hamilton said the challenge of accessing already-strained psychiatrists was leading to veterans “putting aside” mental health issues that needed to be addressed.

“Trying to get a veteran in the door first place is hard,” he said.

“Then when you start closing those doors … financial cost, administrative wait by DVA … it starts to mean they’ll close the door.”

He said the wait to receive treatment, in some cases, could be deadly.

“I know a recent case of a veteran who died by suicide trying to get his mental health recognised,” he said.

Mr Scott, who was a cadet officer for 14 years, said many Australia Defence Force cadets weren’t aware they could access help through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“One of my major concerns is the rate of cadets, or ex-cadets, suiciding,” Mr Scott said.

According to the latest Defence and veteran suicide monitoring report, 1,600 ADF members and veterans with service after 1985 died by suicide between 1997 and 2020.

‘Think-tank’ proposed

All three organisations have called for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to hold a “think-tank” with mental health experts who could provide direction and help simplify what they described as a “very complicated” system.

“There’s been a verbal ‘we’re trying’ [from the government], but the reality isn’t necessarily there,” Mr Hamilton said.

“From Vietnam times to today, we’ve gone a long way.

“But there’s still a long way to go.”

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide released its interim report in August last year.

Eliminating a backlog of 41,799 claims to the department by March 2024 was among the 13 recommendations made.

Graeme Kirk’s Vietnam Album

ED: Thank you Stan. I requested info from you blokes and sure you’ll find some interest in all these photos.   Ray

Hi everyone.

I have just finished Graeme Kirk’s Vietnam slides and created an Album in his name on my Flickr Vietnam site. The link is below:

KIRK, Graeme Henry, Australian Military Police Vietnam 1969-70 | Flickr

For Noble Park Veterans this album has also been added to my Noble Park Veterans collection see this link: Collection: NOBLE PARK RSL Victoria Vietnam Veterans Albums (

Would love some feedback on Graeme’s photos as I have put a lot of work into them and I am very happy with the results!


Stan Middleton OAM

[email protected]

0424 326 399

PS: the link to all my albums on my Vietnam Flickr site is as follows: Stan Middleton(collated) Vietnam War (Australians)’s collections on Flickr


First Aussie soldier arrested for war crimes.

By Brian Hartigan – Contact

A former SAS trooper has been arrested by Australian Federal Police near Goulburn, NSW, in relation to alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan.

A joint investigation between the Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) and the AFP has today resulted in the arrest of a New South Wales man.

It is expected he will be charged with one count of War Crime—Murder under subsection 268.70(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

Investigators arrested the man, 41, in regional NSW this morning and he is expected to appear in a NSW Local Court later today, Monday 20 March 2023.

It will be alleged he murdered an Afghan man while deployed to Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Force.

The maximum penalty for a War Crime—Murder offence is life imprisonment.

OSI and AFP are working together to investigate allegations of criminal offences under Australian law related to breaches of the Laws of Armed Conflict by Australian Defence Force personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.

A joint statement from OSI and AFP said that as the matter will be before the court and the investigation is ongoing, no further comment will be made.

However, while the ABC has already identified a soldier by name and photograph as being the man arrested, CONTACT will refrain from naming him until the details are officially confirmed.

That said, the ABC says he is the soldier shown in an ABC 4 Corners episode allegedly shooting an unarmed man in a wheat field.

If it is the man identified by the ABC, they say he was awarded a Commendation for Gallantry for his service in Afghanistan.

The OSI was established in 2021 as one element of the Australian government’s response to the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force’s Afghanistan Inquiry report – AKA, the Brereton report.

China Inaugurating a New World Order?

by Judith Bergman

On March 10, Chinese President and Communist Party General-Secretary Xi Jinping brokered a surprise agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries, effectively knocking the US off the Middle Eastern chessboard and showing himself as a power-broker on the world stage.

Xi is, in fact, on his way to Russia, possibly as soon as next week, with a 12-point peace plan — ostensibly to see if he can pull off the same wizardry with Ukraine, but more likely to nail down plans to seize Taiwan.

China as the world’s new power-broker anywhere, especially in the Middle East — until Biden squandered America’s alliances there — is conceivably a seismic turning point: possibly the beginning of China fulfilling its dream of replacing the US as the dominant superpower in a new world order.

For the Biden Administration, this is a blow for which it has only itself to thank. ” In addition to ignoring Saudi security concerns about Iran’s escalating nuclear weapons program, Biden also let Iran’s terrorist proxies off the hook. He removed Yemen’s Iranian-sponsored Houthi terrorist group from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in February 2021, and refused to put it back even after the Houthis resumed missile and drone attacks on the United Arab Emirates, as well as more attacks on Saudi Arabia.

Is it any wonder, then, that in the vacuum the US created, the Saudis felt pushed towards China and Iran? What, after all, was their alternative?

It is likely that the Saudis were hoping that the Americans, even at the last minute, would pledge completely to terminate their negotiations with Iran over the nuclear deal, which permits Iran unlimited nuclear weapons.

China and other aggressors also cannot avoid seeing America’s non-stop ineptitude, whether the focus in the US military on teaching critical race theory and “climate change” rather than on how to win or deter wars; billions for “climate change,” which must give China, which is building “six times more coal plants than other countries,” a good laugh, while the US military budget has been in a steady net-decline, outpaced by Biden’s 6% inflation. Someone has not been minding the store.

Will more countries be willing to reject an international order based on democratic values — not to mention the world’s reserve currency — of the US?


You may recall that I posted a request to locate the widow of Paul Rigby. I am pleased to advise that Christine has been located.

A big thank you to Rod Slater and the 9RAR Association.



It’s not often that I share my personal indulgence, but today I was searching for items to post to the website and while doing so I was listening to a young British singer who I’ve been following since she was a contestant on The Voice Kids in 2018 and finished as a semi-finalist.

Lucy turned 19 years old on the 21st February 2023.

We have a granddaughter who accepted an opportunity to study at The Australian Institute of music in Sydney. She has the same drive for success as Lucy.

I have posted four of Lucy’s Covers, I hope you enjoy your Sunday afternoon concert.

I Will Always Love You – Lucy Thomas – YouTube  Recorded when she was only 17 yrs old

At Last – Etta James – Cover by Lucy Thomas – YouTube Recorded when she was 18yrs old

The Greatest Love of All – Lucy Thomas – (Official Music Video) – YouTube Recorded 2 months ago when still 18yrs old.

The Greatest Love of All – Lucy Thomas – (Official Music Video) – YouTube Recorded a month ago a week after her 19th birthday.

Have a nice afternoon,


Socially active seniors are far more likely to enjoy longer lives: Study.

ED: The following study is very interesting; I know of several veterans who rarely socialise and have become isolated. They don’t attend veteran events, ANZAC Day, reunions etcetera. Veterans who do get out and socialise look younger, healthier and enjoy their lives. Now this study shows we live longer…


During the pandemic lockdowns, loneliness and social isolation emerged as serious, even potentially deadly, health issues.

Since then, researchers have sought to identify how badly loneliness puts your health at risk.

According to the National Institute on Health, loneliness is more damaging than “smoking 15 cigarettes per day or obesity”.

Social isolation and loneliness have even been estimated to shorten a person’s life span by as many as 15 years.

The CDC advises that social isolation is associated with about a 50 per cent increased risk of dementia.

It’s also associated with a 29 per cent increased risk of heart disease and a 32 per cent increased risk of stroke.

Depressing, right? A new study turns the problem around.

Researchers from Sichuan University West China Hospital looked at how the social habits of more than 28,000 older people might impact their overall survival.

The key finding: the more often participants socialised, the greater likelihood of living significantly longer.

Socialising nearly every day appears to be the most beneficial for a long life by a good margin.

The study Data from drawn from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS), an ongoing nationally representative study of older people living independently. The study began in 1998.

The authors advise that information on socialising behaviour only started being collected in 2002. The new study focuses on five separate waves of data collection up to 2019.

Participants, whose average age was 89, were quizzed about how often they engaged in social activities. They were asked to rank their social activity as almost every day; at least once a week; at least once a month; occasionally; or never.

General information collected included sex, education, marital status, household income, fruit and vegetable intake, lifestyle and poor health.

Survival was tracked for an average of five years or until death.

Over the first five years 25,406 people said they didn’t engage in any social activities; 1379 reported doing so sometimes; 693 at least once a month; 553 at least once a week; and 532 almost daily.

During the entire monitoring period, 21,161 (74 per cent) participants died, 15,728 within the first five years.

Results Up to five years from the start of the monitoring period, standardised death rates were:

  • 4 per 100 people monitored for a year among those who never socialised.
  • 8 per 100 people among those who did so occasionally.
  • 3 among those who did so at least monthly.
  • 5 among those who socialised at least once a week. And 7.3 among those who did so nearly every day. In other words, people who never socialised were more than twice as likely to die earlier than those who socialised every day.

Participants were more likely to be socially active if they were male, younger, with a higher level of education, married, living in a town or city, and/or with relatives, and enjoyed actual and/or self-rated good health.

Overall, more frequent social activity was associated with significantly longer survival. The greater the frequency, the greater the likelihood of living longer.

When the data were further stratified by age, social activity seemed to be even more strongly associated “with extended survival within the first five years for the oldest old”.

In other words, the very old people that engaged in frequent social activity overall had the most benefit.

The authors suggest that strategies to promote the maintenance of an active social life in very old people should be encouraged.

This is an observational study, so can’t establish cause. And the authors say they have no explanation as to why social activity works to lengthen life.

The simplest answer: whatever loneliness does to the body and soul, social activity, and everything that goes with it – more movement, better diet, better engagement of the mind etc – does the opposite.