Patton vs Rommel

By 1942, Rommel’s Afrika Corps has been pushed back to Tunisia and the new US tank force lands in North Africa. This is the story of the final North African battles as two of history’s most famed tank commanders – Patton and Rommel – go head to head.


A New Day in the Sunshine State

By Eamon Hale

Stephen Day DSC AM

As far as the RSL at a state and national level are concerned, RSL Queensland is a leader amongst them. Taking advantage of their significant cash assets raised predominantly through the RSL Art Union, the Queenslanders have led the national RSL in developing an impressive suite of research-informed services. Notable initiatives include the RSL Employment Program, Mates4Mates and Go Beyond.

Unfortunately, the Queensland branch has also had its share of controversy. In March 2018, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission issued a Directions Notice to RSL Queensland in in relation to governance, bookkeeping and questionable benefits to Directors. The then incoming President, Tony Ferris, had a major repair job on his hands.

Ferris, RSL Queensland’s youngest ever President, set off on a vigorous modernisation campaign to ensure the league was fit for purpose and able to stand up to legal and financial scrutiny. The culmination of these efforts came this year, with drafting a new constitution and a Membership Value Proposition (MVP), “to provide a simple and compelling description of the value and benefit of being an RSL member” and “to give a consistent message about why veterans and their families would want to join, stay and contribute to the RSL”.

The MPV set out that “RSL Queensland’s mission is to advocate for Veterans and the Defence Family. As members, you are supported to commemorate, connect and thrive throughout life.

It was a simple and dare I say sensible to attempt to draw the members of the state branch together in a unified and enduring purpose. But the delegates at Congress spoke and the MPV and Ferris as President are no more.

These outcomes must have clearly meant a hugely disappointing Congress for Ferris. The victor, Major General Stephen Day, reportedly didn’t stick around to listen to Ferris’s speech or hear the results of the election ballot. The early departure was interpreted by some as a snub and was perhaps not the graceful handover expected for an RSL State Congress. Others however commented on the positive tone of the congress and suggest that Day represents an opportunity to take the branch to a new level.

Indeed, it will be very interesting to see the style of leadership Day will bring to the role. With a CV that doesn’t require any padding his experience with RSL is however limited and he has not yet outlined his ambitions for the role. His rank and deployments to Namibia, East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan make his military qualifications plain to see, and his knowledge of governance through graduating from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the United Stated National Association of Corporate Directors also put him in good stead.

Despite the election and constitution outcome, Tony Ferris deserves great recognition for a job well done. He leaves RSL Queensland in a vastly better position than when he began and he can be very proud of his record, remaining an excellent example of what a State President can be. Indeed, RSL Queensland generally is a shining example of what can be achieved with vision and willingness to get in and make things happen.

While it might have been galling for some that a relative newbie to the RSL (Day having only joined the Gaythorne Sub-Branch about 6 months ago) can nominate and win the senior position, it is at least a positive reflection on the strength of the RSL in Queensland that two quality candidates are willing to contest the presidency.

As for the future of RSL Queensland under Stephen Day, we will be watching with great hope and optimism.

With the Royal Commission into Veteran and Defence Suicide looming large, arguably the biggest veteran issue in generations, RSL members will be looking to Day to influence in champion much needed changes in response to its revelations.

My hope is that his recent strategic experience outside of the military, his reputation within it, and a personal vision will add a new and positive dimension to the way the RSL does business.

Eamon Hale is the Vice President of the Hawthorn RSL Sub-branch in Victoria, having served in the Australian Army as a cavalryman for 16 years. Eamon is a regular contributor to Australian Veteran News. Connect with Eamon on twitter: @eamhale


The highs and many lows of year to forget


AS THE year staggers to a close – and there would be few who would mourn its passing – it is timely to look back at the more defining moments of 2021.

The year began with a resounding victory for all those people who had been offended/hurt/depressed/dispossessed/marginalised/excluded and victimised by the word “young” in the national anthem when it was replaced by the word “one” so that the lyrics now read “one and free”.

In February, against a background of rising voter fury at border closures, Premier Palaszczuk announced it was all Prime Minster Scott Morrison’s fault and that everything would be rosy if only he’d hand over more money. This caused then NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet to remark: “Queensland, closed one day, asking someone else to pick up the tab the next.”

Up on the Sunshine Coast, the popular restaurant Sum Young Guys, which is run by four men who happen to be white, was damned by a national magazine for using a name that was  “symptomatic of a society that weaponises languages against the very people who own them”.

“It’s a neo-colonial act of erasure,” wrote Amy C Lam in Gourmet Traveller. Locals booked out the restaurant for the next three months.

In March, the word “normal” was erased from shampoo bottles because people who didn’t have ”normal” hair may have felt excluded, hurt and offended in a move to tackle “harmful norms and stereotypes.”

In May, Treasurer Cameron Dick congratulated himself for saving the jobs of those employed at the Qantas heavy maintenance facility in Brisbane when its chief executive Alan Joyce said he was looking at relocation options. The facility was never going anywhere, but we fell for the ruse and handed over a bundle of cash. How much? That’s a secret.

On the pandemic front, Ms Palaszczuk explained that she had not had her Covid shot because she didn’t want to use up vaccines meant for true-blue Queenslanders. She did, honestly!

Chief health officer Jeannette Young then revealed that she was “very worried” about a Covid outbreak in NSW. She was so worried that she was tossing in her $600,000-plus-a-year gig and moving into Government House. Some people wondered that if you were that worried, you might stick with the job.

In July, Ms Palaszczuk said that if she went to Tokyo to support our Olympic bid, she wouldn’t be quarantining in The Lodge when she came back. No one was able to explain why she said this, but the news was greeted with relief by Mr Morrison.

Meanwhile, Deputy Premier Steven Miles was named official government clown when he appeared to use the “C” word in reference to the Prime Minister.

He later said he had mis-spoke.

In August, Dr Young said that there “there will be no football”. What she meant to say was that there would be no football unless the head of the NRL called the Premier and pointed out how much money was involved.

In September, Deputy Premier Miles hit the headlines again when he announced that Scott Morrison “gave Delta to Sydney and now they’re trying to gift it to us”. Just why the PM gave the virus to the unsuspecting people of Sydney, where his family lives, was unclear.

Ms Palaszczuk then said that modelling predicted: “Even with 70 per cent of the population vaccinated, 80 people will die each day from Covid. That is 2240 who will die each month.”

In October, it was revealed ABC management had paid more than $200,000 in legal costs and damages awarded against staff member Louise Milligan as well as $780,000 resulting from legal action taken by former attorney-general Christian Porter against it and Milligan.  While this was taking place, ABC managing director David Anderson grabbed a 10 per cent pay rise, which boosted his salary to $1.098m.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath then complained that Federal Minister Peter Dutton wouldn’t reply to her texts. It was then pointed out to her that this may have been because she had been texting the wrong number.

In December, the federal election campaign started rolling, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese revealing that his strategy was to call Scott Morrison a liar. One politician accusing another politician of being economical with the truth?

That pretty well sums up the year. 



UK Armed forces to get new guidance on how to use ‘inclusive language’

Pictured Admiral Sir Tony Radakin

The new guide includes more inclusive ways to address disability, race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and social mobility


The armed forces are to be given new guidance on “inclusive language” after the Defence Secretary said he is “unhappy” with the current advice.

Military personnel from all three services had been told to avoid using phrases such as “crippled with debt” or “blind drunk”.

The MoD said its Inclusive Language Guide 2021 was a “practical toolkit” to help servicemen and women understand why “certain words or use of language is hurtful or non-inclusive”.

A senior defence source told the Telegraph: “The Defence Secretary and Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) have been clear that the UK armed forces must modernise to tackle the threats of the future. That includes our approach to our people who are critical to that task.

“The Defence Secretary is unhappy with the current approach set out in the guide. A revised version will be published in the coming weeks.”

The guide will be taken down from the MoD website while changes are made. The guide, produced by the MoD’s Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, denies being “an attempt to police language” or “restrict your personal style of communication”, but was created to help staff “speak more powerfully, precisely and respectfully”, according to the Mail on Sunday tot recommended avoiding phrases such as “deaf to our pleas” in case it offended the disabled.

The 30-page pamphlet said the words “woman” and “female” “mean different things but are often used interchangeably”, adding: “Referring to women as females is perceived by many as reducing a woman to her reproductive parts and abilities.

“Not all women are biologically female, and the conflation of ‘female’ to ‘woman’ erases gender-nonconforming people and members of the trans community.”

“The women in the platoon” is said to be a more inclusive phrase than “the females in the platoon”.

The guide includes more inclusive ways to address disability, race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and social mobility.

The MoD wants personnel to put the “person-first” when speaking to others, only referencing characteristics when they are relevant and doing so in specific ways.

Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace pictured in May CREDIT: Anadolu

References to race or disability should only be used when relevant to the context of any discussion, the guide states, adding it is important to ask how others self-identify.

As far as possible neutral language should be used at all times.

The recommendations aim to be non-confrontational. The guide advises personnel challenging others on their language to be polite and prepared to “explain the logic” behind their views.

Equally, those being challenged should not “take it personally” and should support junior peers to raise challenges with more senior colleagues, according to the guide.

Push for greater diversity

The Telegraph understands there are no plans to disband or redirect the MoD’s Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, which was responsible for the guide.

The news came as the new CDS, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said the push for greater diversity in the military is not about being “woke”, but addressing the “woeful” lack of women and ethnic minorities in the forces.

In his first speech in the post, Adm Radakin said: “This is not about wokefulness. It is about woefulness. The woefulness of too few women.

“The woefulness of not reflecting the ethnic, religious and cognitive diversity of our nation.

“And the woefulness of not following our own values, whether respect for each other or the simple integrity of claiming expenses.”


AVN.Live: Royal Commission panel discussion and highlights, streaming from 7.30pm 14 December 2021

Join Bill Westhead, Eamon Hale and me for our live YouTube stream 7.30pm Tuesday the 14th December for an update and discussion on the hearings of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

In this first episode of our ongoing coverage of the Royal Commission, we’ll recap its history and take a closer look at key issues raised in the testimonies of lived-experience witnesses and experts working to support veterans and their families.

The Royal Commission is taking a trauma-informed approach and it’s our intention to do likewise. Our coverage is not seeking to amplify anger or sensationalise the issues raised by the commission. Accordingly, the live chat will be moderated and we trust that our audience will take great care with their questions and will contribute to the discussion mindful of the potential impact on others.

Viewers will need to subscribe to the AVN YouTube channel to be able to use the online chat feature.

Australia faces supply chain crisis over diesel additive shortage

Trucking industry limping along with lack of AdBlue

Australia is facing a potential supply chain crisis if it cannot source the fuel additive ‘AdBlue’ before stock runs out in February 2022.

The world is experiencing an acute shortage of urea (the critical ingredient of AdBlue) after one of the largest producers in China banned global exports in a bid to protect the domestic Chinese fertiliser market.

Urea is used to create diesel exhaust fluid, also known as AdBlue, which is required for most diesel vehicles built after 2015 to run properly. AdBlue is a mix of 32% high-quality urea and 68% de-ionised water which was incorporated to reduce emissions. Use of AdBlue varies of 1 L per 563 – 965 km.

Australia does not manufacture high-quality urea (only low quality, not suitable for AdBlue).

If a vehicle runs out of AdBlue, it will revert to ‘limp mode’. The majority of diesel vehicles on the road in Australia come with a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system which uses AdBlue to convert nitrogen oxides in the fuel to water and nitrogen in an effort to significantly reduce emissions.

The Australian trucking industry, which forms the backbone of the food supply chain, uses hundreds of thousands of litres of AdBlue every week. It is also required for critical agricultural machinery and diesel four-wheel drives.

As soon as it gets out there that the AdBlue [shortage] isn’t just going to stop all the trucks, it’s also going to stop all the shelves being restocked, their servos being restocked, everyone’s going to go, ‘I really should fill up my tank and fill up my toilet paper. And everything is going to go in a day,” said Lydon Watson, CEO of Don Watson Transport.

It’s not going to deplete over the course of a couple of weeks, or months. The population will skin it dry in a day.”

While technically possible to disable the SCR system, it is presently illegal to do so and would require politicians to issue a legal clarification.

The government is aware of the concerns around the supply and availability of AdBlue, and is continuing to monitor the situation while working with industry,” said a spokesperson for the Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Truck operators are being encouraged to operate as normal despite industry concerns.

An urgent meeting will take place between industry leaders and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications on Wednesday.

Older trucks are not at risk, as they do not have ‘environmentally friendly’ efficiency systems attached to their engines and will continue to operate as normal.

Other countries across the world are experiencing similar problems. Both Europe and America face imminent shortages, while South Korean authorities have started rationing their supply to extend it for as long as possible. Officials fear that if they cannot secure more urea soon, the South Korean economy could be brought to a crashing halt.

There are more than 10 million diesel vehicles in Korea, and we have only three months’ stock of urea at maximum. If the shortage of urea continues longer-term, all production of goods and services can be affected,” said Kim Sei-wan, who is a professor of economics at Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul.

Urea is not a difficult chemical to produce but South Korea, like many other countries in the world, found it cheaper to import it from China and shut their domestic factories.


Here is another lesson to be learnt … We must manufacture here in Australia!


Sailing the seas depends on the Helmsman.” CCP revolutionary song.

WHILE the world divides like World Cup fans deciding who supports China over Taiwan or not, a major crisis exists far closer to home. PNG, Australian and now NZ peacekeepers have deployed to Honiara to assist Solomon Islands police deal with internal political dissent, although that is a simplistic description of a complex situation.

Senior Papua New Guineans are deeply troubled by events in the Solomons, which forms the southern part of the island chain that includes Bougainville, formerly a PNG province and now an independent republic.

In exactly the same way fluid family relationships exist across the Australian – PNG border in the Torres Strait, so boundaries originally established by accidental colonial history mean nothing to people related by blood in the whole Solomons Islands chain.

To continue reading click link:

China influence in Solomon Islands matter of concern | Australian Defence History, Policy and Veterans Issues (



Repatriation health cards

There are three types of cards:

White card

The white card enables entitled members of the veteran community to obtain health care and related services for accepted war-caused injuries or diseases, and also for non war-caused conditions detailed below. All veterans are issued with a white card for the treatment of anxiety and/or depression. A white card is issued to Australian veterans or mariners with:

  • an accepted war or service caused injury or disease
  • malignant cancer (neoplasia) whether war caused or not
  • pulmonary tuberculosis whether war-caused or not
  • post traumatic stress disorder whether war-caused or not
  • anxiety disorder whether war caused or not
  • depression whether war caused or not

DVA must be notified and provided with a confirmed diagnosis from a suitably qualified medical practitioner, if you are diagnosed with a malignant cancer (neoplasia), pulmonary tuberculosis, PTSD, anxiety disorder or depression to be accepted for treatment, it is not automatic.

The white card is also issued to ex-service personnel who are eligible for treatment under agreements between the Australian Government and New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom for disabilities accepted as war-caused by their country of origina. Note: Services available to these veterans may be different from those available to Australian veterans.

For information on all white card conditions, see DVA fact sheet HSV61.

Gold card

The gold card enables entitled members of the veteran community to obtain health care and related services for all their identified health care needs, whether they are war-caused or not. A gold card is issued to those who:

  • are ex-prisioners of war
  • receive a diability pension at or above 100 per cent of the general rate
  • receive a disability pension at or above 50 per cent of the general rate and also receive any amount of service pension
  • receive a disability pension, including an additional amount under section 27 of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 for specific service-related amputations or blindness in one eye
  • receive a service pension and satisfy the treatments benefits eligibility income and assets test
  • receive a service pension and are permanently blind in both eyes
  • received a disability pension for pulmonary tuberculosis before 2 November 1978

Certain dependants are also eligible for a gold card:

  • a war widow or widower and dependent children under 16 of a deceased veteran whose death has been accepted as war-caused
  • a child of a deceased veteran whose death was not war-caused and who had operational service, if the child is not being cared for by the remaining parent
  • a dependent child, between the ages of 16 and 25, of a deceased veteran whose death has been accepted as war-caused, and the child is undergoing full-time education recognised by the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme
  • an invalid child of a deceased veteran whose death has been accepted as war-caused, who had treatment entitlement before 6 June 1985
  • a widowed mother or widowed step-mother who was dependent on an unmarried deceased veteran whose death has been accepted as war-caused, who had treament entitlement before 6 June 1985

For infomation on all gold card conditions, see DVA fact sheet HSV60.

Orange card

An orange card is issued to British Commonwealth and Allied veterans and mariners who have been a resident in Australia for ten years or more.

The orange card allows holders to access the full range of pharmaceuticals and dressing on the RPBS. It is not a treatment card, that is, it does not allow card holders access to health care at no cost to themselves.

For information on all orange card conditions, see DVA fact sheet HSV69.


Free training for veterans and their partners

A key area of the Veterans Strategy is Education and Employment to ensure our veterans find the right job or training post-service.

The Veterans Employment Program have produced two videos to help veterans in their search and application for NSW Government jobs. The videos explain how to use VEP’s Rank to Grade Guide and Capability Definition Tool and are part of a suite of tools and resources to support veterans adjust to life as a civilian.

The landmark Veterans Skills Program provides veterans and their partners free access to any course offered under the Government’s Smart and Skilled program from a Certificate II to Advanced Diplomas, including all apprenticeships and selected traineeships from over 450 Registered Training Organisations including NSW TAFE.

Explore the course and provider options on the portal at