VVCS FIRST OPENED IN 1982 – NOW OPEN ARMS
Today we remember the opening of the first Vietnam Veteran’s Counselling Service (VVCS) in Adelaide in 1982, by July 1982 centres had been established in all capital cities. A great and long-lasting legacy left to all Veterans and their families, achieved by the work and persistence of Vietnam veterans when opposed by other people. In 1990 I was a client of VVCS in Melbourne and suggest without the help of Glen (VVCS) I may not be around today.
STATEMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE TPI FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIA MS PAT MCCABE OAM TO THE ROYAL COMMISSION INTO VETERANS SUICIDE, 3RD DECEMBER 2021.
“On page 5-474, Ms McCabe told the Commissioners that “Open Arms” are understaffed and so under-resourced that they don’t cope very well. Ms McCabe told the Commissioners that the waiting list for Open Arms is quite phenomenal, I have had TPIs wait eight weeks and more, just for an appointment with a Psychologist. Some travel from Canberra to Sydney, Melbourne to Sydney, just for appointments, because that’s where they can get the appointment. The cost to do that is astronomical”.
Once again the entire statement made to the RC into Veterans suicide on the 3rd December 2021, regarding Open Arms and many other issues by Ms McCabe, was laughable and just not true. McCabe told the RC that veterans were travelling from Melbourne to Sydney, Sydney to Melbourne just for an appointment, as a person who has lived in Melbourne for the past two years, we have been lucky to travel 5 km from our home, how McCabe makes these stories up, time after time is simply bloody amazing, the Prime Minister is still looking for the 5000 TPI all in a bad way without a roof and food, that Ms McCabe told him about during the Summer Bushfires 2019-20.
In recent weeks “Open Arms” have reacted by advertising an extensive veterans and family programme for the next six months, remember McCabe said with authority that Open Arms was understaffed and under-resourced.
Julie-Anne Finney the voice for a RC into Veterans suicide has called for a total review of ESORT and for Pat McCabe to step aside, with ESO like Ms Pat McCabe OAM, making statement after statement that is not true, a review of ESORT cannot come quick enough, for the majority of TPI.
The DVA Minister announced a $10,000 grant on the 15th December 2021, to assist the TPI Federation of Australia to hold its Congresses, unfortunately, the membership of the TPI Federation has not received the minutes of the September 2021 AGM Congress or seen any other minutes from previous Congresses, with the $10000 DVA grant another $40-50 thousand of members money is spent on the Congresses every year, it is very easy to understand why only 6000 out of a possible 27200 TPI are members of the TPI Federation of Australia. The TPI Federation Secretary Mr Shayne Eades has refused requests for a copy of the TPI Federation AGM 2021 minutes from Rick Ryan TPI WA and Andrew Gizyck TPI Qld, Shayne has stated he is not authorised to distribute copies of the minutes to the membership, I ask how does the membership know what is going on in the TPI Federation that affects, it is not surprising that a number of TPI refer to the TPI Federation Congress as the Canberra Piss-up on their money. A number of TPI Federation Directors have been Directors for more than 20 years and resist any call for change, and treat the TPI Federation like their own private Club, to such an extent that they have refused to work and cooperate with newly appointed Directors from another state.
A total review needs to be conducted urgently by DVA to ensure that taxpayers money is being expended correctly, and not spent on a privileged and select few.
Veterans need to be represented, but it is a totally useless process when they are represented by lies and half-truths.
Life Member of TPI Victoria
Life Member of 1RAR Townsville Committee
Member RARA Victoria
WO1 (Rtd) 20 years ARA
I responded to all addressees in the email from Bill. My comment is shown below.
Bill, Minister Andrew Gee and Royal Commissioner Nick Kaldas APM
All as Bill has stated, is true. My recent attempts to extract a copy of the TPI Federation Congress Minutes, I was initially told by the Federation Secretary that State Directors had a copy, yet TPI WA State Director Colin Benporath has stated that TPI WA have not received them. Further requests to the Federal Secretary for a copy has been met with silence.
This is just one example of just how the TPI Federation ignores the membership. The membership nor the State Branches were asked for input into to the Royal Commission into Veteran and Defence Suicide. We know how the TPI Federation President botched up her appearance at the Royal Commission by telling lies and making unsubstantiated comments, especially in relation to Open Arms. A total embarrassment to the TPI community, majority of whom are war or operational service veterans.
It gives a poor representation for a member of ESORT to present in such a poor light and DVA should be reviewing the performance of some of these organisations especially the TPI Federation and the way they are administered, because like the TPI Federation, the membership does not have the power to remove the President and has little control over the Directors.
We also trust that the Royal Commissioners’ are now fully aware of the number of incorrect statements put to them by the TPI Federation President and understand that the majority of TPIs support the Royal Commission and some have made our own submissions.
Rick Ryan Maj (Retd)
TPI Association WA Branch
25 years + ARA