RIFLE COMPANY BUTTERWORTH
Below is a letter from Chris Berg if you have any suggestions or interest, please contact him at 0429 105 544 or [email protected]
There had been a campaign for RCB recognition grinding away for years, with, from what I can see, little interest from MHR politicians. I wrote to each pollie last year about the matter and I have had little response.
I believe it is high time Veterans get more proactive and militant in our demands for proper recognition and Veteran entitlements that are in keeping with inflation, average wage growth and community expectation and stop politicians dithering.
To this end, I am suggesting that we need to threaten Federal MPs with a Veteran lead campaign targeted at principals and head teachers of every school in Australia to point out how Veterans have been short-changed by politicians over the decades, starting with how after WW1, some Veterans coughing up blood were deemed OK for work by Repat doctors, despite having been gassed.
We need to tell principals how, if their students go on to join the military, they will be shabbily treated if they sustain injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives.
We have to tell them how the politicians deny medals to Veterans, that other countries want to award to those who served in an alliance against various hostile agents.
We should strive to provide education on how Veterans have been driven to suicide; in some cases because of DVA dithering.
This will likely affect the flow of recruits to the ADF, using adverse publicity to disrupt DoD recruiting.
I am writing this to you because I am concerned, similar to what has happened with previous RCs; that the politicians do very little if anything to improve things.
The politicians have been asked to improve entitlements to TPIs for many years and have consistently done nothing. RCB has been a continual denial process, despite the success of NZ Veterans with RCB service.
The campaign could include steps to approach every candidate in the electorates across Australia to get a commitment to support Veterans, in the form of a covenant, that if the candidate agrees to support, a sticker showing the general public that he or she supports Veterans would be placed on election advertising material and placards.
My final idea is that we write to News Limited (Rupert Murdoch papers across Australia) and Channel Seven (Kerry Stokes AM supports Veterans) and ask them to publicise our stories and situations.
I am proposing these ideas because I believe that the majority of the Australian population is happy to see Veterans properly recognised and looked after.
Chris BERG 0429105544
A.very poor solution. I for one do not want to present the Veteran community as a bunch of wingers who have to employ low handed and manipulative tactic that include possible long term damage to our military.
To Chris Berg I have some concerns with your ideas. First, I agree that pre 1989 RCB should get veteran entitlements and recognition but my understanding is that Army/Defence dont’ agree with it so why should the Politicians? If the Army would change its position, then I am sure it would happen. Also, all current problems with DVA have been ID in many previous reports/senate estimates/ etc etc over the past 20 – 30 years and just need to be implemented properly and considerately and I believe all will be better. The RC is only going to tell us what the previous reports etc have already said with just more evidence to back it up. Yes its true the Govt lagged on these issues and why we are here today but if they just “do it” it will be fixed or certainly to a very large degree. For example, I was medically discharged in 2019 and was and have been well looked after by DVA and MSBS; I am a beneficiary of the Jesse Bird story and many others and DVA’s concerted effort to fix problems and yes my med docs etc were all complete and everything was there on discharge compared to many in previous decades who were not, I understand this. We (Veteran Community) need to be very careful what we push/wish for as many others in our society don’t get what we get (even if u think it’s paltry or not enough) and it could backfire against us; I am not saying we should not push/fight for correct/proper health care, entitlements etc, we just need to be careful of community backlash or Defence detractors coming after us, they could really hurt us. There are many jobs/industries in Civi street who lift heavy loads etc etc and hurt their bodies, they don’t get the system we get to rehab/work income or medical discharge pensions etc etc, just saying. It’s true, the ADF has got a lot to be ashamed of in the past 50 years in the way they have treated people but it’s not the average citizens’ fault and we need to be careful, not scared, of this. I have some family members who say to me “You joined the Army from school, voluntarily, couldn’t wait, u deployed to various war zones when u didn’t believe in the cause or objectives, you were a SNCO and didn’t fix the problems etc etc so why should we feel this is our problem”. Whilst I don’t agree with any of that, and they don’t understand the military machine/COC/military law this is a real problem we can face. Just saying, we need to be careful and pick our fights/campaigns wisely. I think the Govt would love an excuse to make us Centrelink customers and workcover insurance payments and abolish ed discharge pensions etc etc which are better than civi street compo payments etc.
I am beginning to think we need to redefine what a Veteran is. These days it is an individual’s choice to join the defence forces as was my case. When I was discharged after 6 years in the Infantry and serving in Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam I did not even know we had a Veteran Affairs Department. I have no complaints and I am grateful for the benefits I receive, not expecting anything when I was discharged and being in the forces was a job I chose and what did I expect, maybe I would go to war. It seems these days so many want and blame the government for their own choices. One must remember the government is funded by taxes and my children pay some of those taxes hence the money should be spent wisely and where it is needed, I accept some of our public servants and I include politicians overlook this but seriously we are not bad off in Australia and I speak from experience having lived for more than 15 years elsewhere. A big problem that is becoming evident is that we have obviously taken persons into the defence services who were not suitable to be in there. and I am referring to persons who are not accepting responsibility for themselves, their own decisions etc.