Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal : Update Unit Citation for Gallantry – Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral

This Update is provided by The Hon Jane Prentice to our RAR Corporation’s Director Trevor Dixon’s  letter of request for support.

“I write to you concerning the recent announcement by the Hon. Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Defence Personnel, about the current inquiry into military honours. As an advocate for Veterans, past, present and future, I consider the recognition of their sacrifice as paramount to the freedoms we are afforded in Australia.

Recently it has been highlighted to me that Veterans of the Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral have been campaigning for a Unit Citation for Gallantry which is yet to be bestowed upon them. In my efforts to date I have raised this issue with the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence Personnel to ensure this advocacy at the very top echelons.

I am pleased that Minister Tehan has called on the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal to conduct an inquiry into the deserved decoration for those involved in the Battles of Coral and Balmoral, and for those who had served as part of the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam (the RANHFV).

This independent tribunal is taking submissions from the public and will give careful consideration to both matters.

Further information regarding both inquiries is available by visiting https://defence-honours-tribunal.gov.au/

I encourage all former members and interested parties to take advantage of this opportunity and lodge a submission. Submissions are open until Friday, 16 June 2017, and can be lodged via email to [email protected] or by mail to The Executive Officer, Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal, Locked Bag 7765, CANBERRA BC ACT 2610.

When I receive any advice or information concerning this matter I will advise you further.”

 

HON. JANE PRENTICE MP | Federal Member for Ryan | Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services
636 Moggill Road, Chapel Hill, QLD, 4069 | P O Box 704, Indooroopilly, QLD  4068.
Telephone: (07) 3378 1599|Facsimile: (07) 3378 1399 |

ADF INVALIDITY PAYMENTS

The Australian Veterans Alliance have had one of their member groups working on tax issues that impact our most injured Veterans incapacity benefit’s under DFRDB and MSBS. They have asked the question of the ATO as to why compensatory payments in the form of Invalidity Benefits paid to Injured members of the ADF post discharge, were not treated the same as other compensation payments in the community with regards to taxation.

The ATO made the decision that an ex ADF member who met certain criteria, could elect to treat a Superannuation Income Stream as a Superannuation Lump sum. As a result, many injured Ex ADF members were finally able to dig themselves out of poverty and be able to afford many things the general public take for granted.

From the 1st July 2017, all of this will change. The Australian Government has repealed the legislation that brings Injured Ex ADF member’s compensatory payments in line with their civilian counterparts. From this date, these injured ex ADF personnel will stand to lose 100’s to over a 1000 dollars a month. This means these very people that signed the dotted line to protect the interests of our nation, will no longer be able to meet mortgage repayments, put food on the table or be able to survive without relying on hand outs and extra welfare that is offered via Ex Service Organisations.

With the Governments efforts in trying to combat the effects of PTSD and mental health issues, veteran homelessness, the high rate of suicide and the overall wellbeing of injured veterans and ex service personnel, it is perplexing that they are willing to strip this money from such members, potentially exacerbating the issues mentioned.

With ANZAC Day remembers those before us that made the ultimate sacrifice, the government is forgetting about the current living generation of Veterans that are doing it tough. We now have two member groups working on a range of tax issues that are currently effecting our community.

If you want to know more about the efforts of the two groups, please check out the following Facebook pages:

PETER BURNS
COMSUPER – MILITARY ENTITLEMENTS:https://www.facebook.com/groups/1098180903529690/

BRADLEY CAMPBELL
ADF INVALIDITY PAYMENT – TAXATION TREATMENT: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ 1709523469074142/

ADF Pay (Workplace Remuneration Arrangement) 2017 Update

The WRA triennial process to determine ADF pay increases for 2017 -2020 is essentially on track and proceeding as expected. DFWA provides this Update:

• It is currently at the CDF/Minister stage, so no specific details are available yet.
• We understand the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal (DFRT) will be given a progress report later in June.
• The ADF will be conducting a number of ‘roadshows’ to all major military establishments, most probably in July, to advise as many ADF members as possible details of the proposed Arrangement and give them an opportunity to comment.
• The intent is to have the DFRT consider the Arrangement prior to the expiry date of the current WRA (November 2017), with a view to having a seamless transition from the current WRA to the new WRA.

In general, the process to be followed is that the Minister for Defence will need to agree to any proposed pay offer in conjunction with the Minister for Employment, and of course the Department of Finance are involved as well.

Following the consultation phase a final decision on the nature of the Arrangement will be developed in preparation for the DFRT to consider.

DFWA as an intervener in the process,  is taking a keen interest as this matter progresses, and will continue to monitor it closely especially when the actual proposal is released.

ADF members will recall DFWA’s involvement in the development of the current WRA when it was able to provide compelling evidence to both the Government and the Tribunal of members’ dissatisfaction with the (then) offer. This resulted in reconsideration of the quantum to a higher percentage and removal of the requirement to offset it with other conditions of service.”

Justice for Trooper Donaldson ex SASR

The Royal Australian Regiment Association is delighted in the recent outcome for Trooper Evan Donaldson in the recognition of his SAS qualifications and his war service recognized whilst serving with that Regiment in Afghanistan, Iraq and Timor-Leste.

The fight to have this service recognized, which was alleged to have been criminally altered in Trooper Donaldson’s service records, has been an eight year fight by Trooper Donaldson and his wife Phoebe and sadly a slight on the system that is supposed to protect you and in particular in the sensitive role of SAS Operator.

After reviewing Trooper Donaldson’s strong and irrefutable evidence supporting his position and the flimsy and ambiguous statements and comments coming forth from Defense and their “attack dogs,” our Association decided to support Trooper Donaldson and his family in this action not only because we believed him and in the evidence presented but because as an ex serving member of 3RAR he is a member of our Regimental Family.

Everyone who has served in our Regiment and their families are assured that through our Association they will always have an attentive listener and advisor and a strong shoulder to lean on if they are experiencing difficulties. There was never a greater difficulty than Trooper Donaldson defending his service and integrity and we were very happy to provide moral support and use our influence with the authorities to address the matter.

This wonderful result then leads me into a segue where Senator Brian Burston of the One Nation Party addressed the Senate on 21st March 2017, in relation to the Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) where lies, deceit and deceptive conduct by the Government and Defense has denied members who served over the period 1970 to 1989, their legal and appropriate recognition and entitlements. Recently declassified Top Secret documents support these allegations.

How it is in the Donaldson case and the Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) issue, members employed by the Crown can change, adjust personal records or create false documents with the intention of misleading the electorate with impunity and arrogance?

It’s not what we expect from our elected members or employees of the Crown in any capacity and it if there were more serious consequences and exposure of these miscreants it may help to stamp out this unconscionable conduct and practice, in particular when you are playing with people’s lives and integrity and most importantly their dignity.

Well done Evan Donaldson and we will continue the fight for RCB.

Michael von Berg MC OAM

National President

22 March 2017

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Recognition of Military Service Speech – Senator Brian Burston (One Nation Party)

In his speech to the Senate this evening  “Recognition of service rendered – justice delayed is justice denied,” Sen. Burston identified a large number of servicemen who have been denied the recognition of their service and entitlements.

He calls for an independent review by an expert panel – not drawn from government or Defence – to judiciously and diligently examine the matter using the wealth of evidence available.

He states that in 2014, “Defence directed its legal teams to go into the records and edit them to deny some of those servicemen their benefits and recognition. So, it wasn’t enough that these men went and served their country with distinction, they then had to come back and fight their employer for the recognition they so rightly deserved – all the time watching while that employer moved the goalposts.”

To the best of his knowledge, since the Korean War, the number of servicemen who have yet to be recognised for being “on active service” or “on war service” totals in excess of 20,000. The numbers include, but are not limited to:

• Navy personnel who served on HMAS Sydney taking troops to or from Vietnam.

• Soldiers from 1RAR, 2RAR, 4RAR and 8RAR who served in peninsula Malaysia between 1966 and 1969.

• Soldiers who served at Rifle Company Butterworth 1970 to 1989.

• Soldiers, sailors and airmen who served in East Timor.

There may be more.

To highlight the discrepancies, he provides one comparison of  oprational service – that of Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB)  in Malaysia with the R.A.A.F. Ubon in Thailand and Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

RCB has been denied recognition of their operational role in protecting RAAF assets at Butterworth in the period 1970-1988, when Malaysia was fighting its Communist Insurgency War, and the strategic nature of its deployment. 

The issue of recognising Rifle Company Butterworth has been raised since 2006, but has been blocked by successive Governments and Defence. They refuse to consider the full evidence.

The RCB deception is now been exposed. 

The Senators full statement is available on The Senate Hansard. Download it here

See his speech here commencing at 20.40

21 March 2017

NT Aboriginal leader defends January 26 Australia Day

The Indigenous daughter of a former Northern Territory government minister says people shouldn’t feel guilty for celebrating Australia Day on January 26.

Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Nampijinpa Price wrote on Facebook that changing the date wouldn’t help Aboriginal victims of domestic violence or children who miss out on school.

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Follow Jacinta Price on her facebook site to see that the post has reached over 3.9 million people