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National President’s Newsletter No 6 of 2014


  1. RSL help for the Wounded Injured and Ill at the Invictus Games.


Many RSL members will have seen some of the extensive television and media coverage of the Invictus Games held in London last month. The effort put in by the RSL throughout the nation in actively supporting this event was highly commendable and was most favourably commented upon by many. I send my gratitude to all who provided that support.


In conveying this thanks I would be remiss if I did not single out one person in particular. NSW Branch State Councillor Mr Darren McManus- Smith organised and managed the RSL supported part of the team and worked tirelessly to ensure it was successfully integrated with the ADF supported part of the team. He did a superb job, a fact recently commented upon in a laudatory letter sent by the Head of the ADF staff at the Australian High Commission in London.


The RSL supported contingent numbered 21 and formed part of a total of 36. The team was warmly welcomed in the UK by teams from other nations and by those organising this most significant and important international event. Each team member was accompanied by a supporter with the RSL providing over $300,000 to ensure all needs were met.


Prior to the commencement of the Games, the entire team and supporters attended a reception at Australia House, London at which all had the opportunity of meeting and talking to His Royal Highness Prince Harry, the driving force behind the staging of the event.


During subsequent competition the Australian Invictus Games team acquitted themselves with great distinction, participated to the full and based on the discussions I had with many were helped significantly in their rehabilitation by their participation. All strove to give of their best and the friendly rivalry between teams and individuals from many nations did not overshadow the aim of the games in helping individual team members overcome the health setbacks they had experienced as a consequence of service in defence of the nation.


The challenge which participants, the ADF and the RSL now face is how best to assist the ongoing recovery of these folk and the many others similarly afflicted who were not able to participate in the Invictus Games.


In an attempt to quantify the health and wellbeing benefits gained by Invictus Games participants we are compiling as comprehensive a documentary as possible from the RSL supported members of the team. We will use this in further discussions with the ADF and in planning the way ahead.


A Recovery Summit was held on the penultimate day of competition to provide the leaders of national delegations with an opportunity of looking to the future and discussing outcomes and ideas. This was chaired by the UK’s Chief of Defence Personnel, Lieutenant General Andrew Gregory and was addressed by Prince Harry.


In a recent letter General Gregory has advised that it is possible a new international forum on recovery may be formed. It is likely this will be kicked off by participation in a planned US Department of Defense symposium in 2015 titled “Warrior Care in the 21st Century.”


  1. RSL National Board Meeting Perth 27 October 2014.


Major topics for discussion or decision at the final Board meeting for 2014 include:

  • an RSL Strategic Plan
  • a Business Plan for the RSL National Office
  • revision of the RSL National Constitution
  • Plans for the 2016 RSL National Conference the year of the RSL


  • Reports from RSL National Committees including submissions about

the forthcoming Defence White Paper and the ADF Pay Case (see



To dispel misunderstandings which may have developed about the revision of RSL National Constitution I affirm that the first draft forwarded to all Branches earlier this year was exactly that – a first draft. It was the initiating action in a multi-step but essential consultative process needed to allow us to update this important document. No further work has been undertaken on the first draft pending receipt of comments and suggestions from Sub Branches and Branches. I encourage all members to become involved in this process and focus on constructive comment aimed at improving the draft. Central questions all might ask is how best can the RSL marshal and deploy our very significant human and financial resources in the years ahead to further promote our objects? And how can this be best expressed in our National Constitution?


  1. ADF Pay Case.


The RSL submission to the Defence Force Remuneration

Tribunal for the recent pay case given the title of “WRA” (Workplace Remuneration Arrangement) was forwarded on 19 October 2014. It read: “The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) would like to thank the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal (DFRT) for the opportunity to make a submission on the 2014 Workplace Remuneration Arrangement (Matter no.9 of 2014).


The RSL cannot support the proposal as currently proposed for

consideration by the DFRT. The RSL cannot support any outcome from

the current WRA round that does not protect the value of ADF

Remuneration, especially where this will involve trade-offs of other

conditions of service.


We advise that we seek an outcome that supports the special nature of

defence service in determining all conditions of service for members of

the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and we express our disappointment

for a proposal which involves the trading-off of leave (and other

conditions) for pay rises which are less than CPI.


The RSL notes the WRA to be put forward for DFRT consideration is an

agreed position between the ADF and the Commonwealth, and in these

circumstances we do not oppose the proposal before the DFRT, but seek

to register our concern that the financial position of ADF personnel is

not being maintained at a time when Australia is asking significantly

more of our servicemen and women. We do note and support the

statement of the Chief of Defence (CDF) in his CDF Signal, released on

Friday 10 October 2014, that should circumstances require the

arrangement may be revisited and the CDF is able to return the matter

to the DFRT during the WRA period.”



Members may recall that on your behalf I have written previously to Government expressing concern about the process now in vogue which almost always results in the Government and the ADF presenting “agreed” ADF pay cases to the DFRT. We were rebuffed in our previous attempt to have this process revert to the procedure of yesteryear where most often the CDF presented a pay case on behalf of ADF personnel and the Government separately put its point of view. We intend raising this matter again.


At the recent DFRT hearing of the WRA case, the RSL was represented by the National Policy Advisor who spoke about the RSL concerns. At the time of writing the DFRT continues to reserve its decision about this pay case.


  1. RSL Annual Budget Submission.


Sincere thanks to all who put in considerable effort to allow the RSL to compile a detailed and comprehensive Submission to Government for the 2015/2016 Federal Budget. As previously advised this submission was more expansive than earlier versions in that we advised Government and the Opposition of what the RSL was achieving on behalf of the ex-service and veteran community and more broadly the Australian community. Amongst other matters we wrote that “the majority of ‘heavy lifting’ in the Welfare space is done by our volunteer Welfare Officers in the 1,200 sub Branches across Australia. It is conservatively estimated that these volunteer hours totalled 1,368,750 for the year 2013. At the nominal rate of $25 per hour this equates to a contribution to the nation of over $34M.”


That the Commonwealth Government respects and heeds what the RSL submits is evidenced by the text of a letter I have received from the Prime Minister. In his letter of 16 October 2014 Mr Abbott wrote “Thank you for your letter dated 29 August 2014 and the attached submission in regard to Veterans’ Affairs issues for consideration in the 2015-16 Federal Budget.


I appreciate the time you and the National Board and Members of the Returned and Services League of Australia have taken to consider these important issues.



I have referred your letter to the Treasurer, the Hon. Joe Hockey MP, who has portfolio responsibility for the Federal Budget. I have also provided a copy of your letter to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson.


Once again, thank you for bringing these matters to my attention.”


  1. 2015 Defence White Paper RSL Input.


We are on track to complete and forward a substantial submission for consideration by the team charged by Government with compiling the proposed 2015 Defence White Paper. Given the current and foreseeable uncertain strategic outlook this statement of Government policy will be of particular importance and it is to be hoped will take account of submissions from organisations such as the RSL.


Members of the National Defence and Defence Personnel and Families Committees have made significant contributions to our input and are deserving of our thanks.


  1. Significant Diary Events.


During the past few months I have had the privilege of meeting many RSL members at various events. Attendance at the Invictus Games in September and at the Annual General Meeting of the Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association in October provided me with the opportunity of meeting with many of our international colleagues and of advising about current RSL issues. In mid- September it was a great pleasure to host one of two London based Royal Commonwealth Ex-Service League representatives at the Australian War Memorial when Viscount Slim visited Australia. He has for many years represented the RSL most ably at the regular London RCEL meetings and I am most grateful for his diligence in so doing.


On 23/24 September I much enjoyed the hospitality of the Bundaberg Sub-Branch as they and others came together to commemorate the Centenary of the departure of Army Nurses to World War 1. Then on

11 October I was honoured to attend and address the very large gathering who attended the dedication at Hervey Bay of the magnificent new Memorial in the shape of a mounted member of the Light Horse at Hervey Bay. The Sub-Branch President John Kelsey, the Committee and members of the Hervey Bay Sub-Branch worked tirelessly with the local community to bring this important memorial to the ANZAC Centenary to fruition and are to be commended on a job extremely well done. It certainly showed what the RSL can do in fostering community spirit and of reminding all of what this important centenary means. Most recently I travelled to Brisbane to attend the funeral of the late Viv Quinn, a tireless worker on behalf of so many members of the RSL not only in Queensland but across the nation. I thank the Gaythorne Sub-Branch President and his Committee for the warmth of the welcome I was accorded during the wake following the funeral.

Vale Army’s First RSM-A WO1 Wally Thompson

Wally ThompsonSad news – Warrant Officer Wally Thompson – the first Regimental Sergeant Major – ARMY has passed away today, a true gentleman and a soldiers soldier.

Stand-down Sir, your duty is done.

Duty First – Lest We Forget
Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) Wallace (Wally) Talbot Claxton Thompson joined the Citizen’s Military Forces (CMF) in 1950 and was called up in 1951 for National Service. He did two tours of Malaysia, on the second occasion serving with the British Army, then went to Vietnam in 1964 with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. He served a second tour with the First Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR), fighting in 1968 and again in 1971 as RSM of 4RAR.

In 1983 he became the first appointee to the position of Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army (RSM-A), which put him in a position where he reported directly to the Chief of the General Staff.

George Sullivan

G. Sullivan (also known as George Sullivan) was a trooper in the 2nd Australian Light Horse in the Australian Army. His service number is 1732 and he fought in the First World War, 1914-1918. He was born in Chalmer Queensland, Australia and died in Egypt on the 12 of August 1916 of wounds. He was 18 years old when he embarked on his journey “The Star of England”. He was 19 when he died. He was honour at Kantara War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt. His parents are Annie Eleanor Sullivan and George Sullivan, who were married in 1897 and gave birth to him on 1898; he resided in Golf Street, Chalmer. His religion is the Church of England and his status is single.

George Sullivan’s name on a plague
George Sullivan’s name on a plague

The 2nd Light Horse Regiment was formed as part of the 1st Light Horse Brigade, 1st Contingent and attached to the Australian Division at Enoggera Training Camp to the west of Brisbane, Queensland, on 18 August 1914. Training of the 2nd Light Horse Regiment occurred at Enoggera Training Camp from August until September 1914.
Embarkation of the 2nd Light Horse Regiment occurred by the HMAT A15 Star Of England from Pinkenbar Wharf in Brisbane, Queensland, on 24 September 1914.
The 2nd Light Horse Regiment sailed by convoy from Albany and passed by the action against the Emden at the Cocos Islands. The Star of England disembarked the 2nd Light Horse Regiment in Egypt on 9 December 1914. As mounted troops, the Light Horse was considered to be unsuitable for work in Gallipoli. The mounted troops volunteered to operate as infantry and thus were sent to Gallipoli with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment landing on 12 May 1915. They were used in offensive activities once, which was the attack on a Turkish position opposite Quinn’s outpost. The 2nd Light Horse Regiment was withdrawn from the front line in September and left the peninsula on 18 December 1915. After the return to Egypt, the 2nd Light Horse Regiment reformed and re-equipped. The reorganisation of the Light Horse led to the formation of the ANZAC Mounted Division, which the 2nd Light Horse Regiment became a foundation member. For the first fove months of 1916, between January and May, the 2nd Light Horse regiment was deployed throughout the Nile valley to defend the Egyptian economic centres from the interruption by the Senussi infiltrating the Siwa Oasis. May 14 1916, the 2nd Light Horse Regiment moved to join is parent brigade, the 1st Light Horse Brigade, which was taking part in the defence of the Suez Canal. It was hot and monotonous work, but they remained there until they moved to the Romani region to bolster the defence of that area. The 1st Light Horse Brigade played an important role in beating back the Turkish invasion of the Suez Canal zone at Romani. Known as the battle of Romani, which lasted from the 4th the 6th of August which was quickly followed by the Battle of Katia and then Bir el Abd on 9th August. All the actions which the 2nd Horse Regiment undertook finally led the Defeat of the Ottoman Canal Expeditionary force and it’s retreat to Bir el Mazar. Over the next few months, the 2nd Light Horse Regiment took part in the Allied advance over the Sinai leading to the fall of Bir el Mazar, then El Arish followed by Bir el Magdhaba and finally Rafa in January of 1917.
George Sullivan died from wounds on the 12th August 1916 from wounds. It is thought he was wounded either in the battle at Bir el Abd or in the Allied Advance over the Sinai.

The map of the Battle of Romani

The map of the Battle of Romani

The Battle of Romani lines

The Battle of Romani lines


The light horses during the Battle of Romani

The light horses during the Battle of Romani


View digital copy for more visual information

Over the Front

  Congratulations to former Army General & Chief of the Defence Force Peter Cosgrove on his appointment as our next Governor-General.  In this year marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War and next years commemoration of the Gallipoli landings, it is appropriate that a military man is in our highest office at this time.

  Two Bristol Fighters of the Australian Flying Corps c. 1918  see 200 page novel on RAAF Formation


We often think of Army soldiers as our “Diggers” but they are also the airmen and sailors of the Air Force and Navy.  “Going over the Top” was what our soldiers did in the trenches of WWI but the foundations of the RAAF were also established 100 years ago during that conflict by the men of the Australian Flying Corp who went “Over the Front”.   Established in 1912 as a branch of the Army, the AFC sent an aircraft to assist in capturing German colonies in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in 1914, well before the Gallipoli campaign.  These airmen served in the Middle East, Egypt and France during the war, often flying low level combat air support by strafing and bombing enemy lines.  Other duties included air reconnaissance and artillery spotting along with air-to-air fighting engaging enemy planes.   In 1921 the Royal Australian Air Force was founded and continues the fine traditions established by the AFC in WWI.  The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century’s major conflicts including the Second World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. More recently the RAAF participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and is still involved with the War in Afghanistan. The motto on the RAAF’s coat of arms is the Latin phrase Per ardua ad astra, which means “Through Adversity to the Stars”   Across this year in 2014 we will begin to look at the traditions and accomplishments of our Defence Force 100 years ago along with the men and women who serve our great nation.           “Lest We Forget”

Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird VC MG

2nd Commando Regiment

22 June 2013 – Uruzgan province, Afghanistan

Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird, VC MGCorporal Cameron Stewart Baird, VC MG.
© Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Cameron Baird was born in Burnie, Tasmania, in 1981. He joined the Australian Regular Army in January 2000 and was posted to 4th Battalion (Commando), Royal Australian Regiment (now 2nd Commando Regiment). Baird served in East Timor and Iraq and was deployed five times to Afghanistan. He was awarded the Medal of Gallantry in 2007 on his second operational tour.

Baird was on his fifth tour of Afghanistan in 2013 when he was involved in the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. On 22 June, as team commander, he participated in an assault on the Taliban-held village of Ghawchak in Uruzgan province. Shortly after the helicopter insertion, Baird led his team in silencing a number of enemy positions while under heavy small-arms fire. He then went to the aid of another team whose commander had been seriously wounded. With selfless disregard for his own safety, he drew the fire from an enemy machine-gun position, “the bullets hitting the ground around him”. He managed to suppress the enemy fire, allowing his team to regain the initiative.

Once in the enemy compound, Baird forced his way into hostile buildings amid intense small-arms fire. He charged the enemy’s position three times to draw fire away from his team. On the third occasion, Corporal Baird’s actions “enabled the enemy to be neutralised and kept his team safe, but ultimately cost him his life”.

Treasurers Report – AGM 2014

Treasurer’s Report



This year has been a consistent one with expenditure and income similar to other years without any substantial change in our financial position.  We had a small loss across the year as we had a number of donations to Schools program, Men’s Shed and Sherwood Indooroopilly which were extra-ordinary, not a usual part of our annual expenditure.



Summary of Accounts to 31st Dec 2013


Cash on Hand

Operating Account

$  6,461.76

Term Deposit 1


Term Deposit 2


 Total Cash


$ 96,451.75


Stock on Hand





 Cost of Goods Sold




$  5,303.02

Welfare Activities


 Net Income



























“I move that the Year-To-Date accounts presented for assets and liabilities plus income and expenditure as reconciled in the attached bank statements of the Sub-branch since my previously adopted report be accepted.”





Trevor Dixon


Kenmore-Moggill RSL Sub-branch





  1. a.     Statement by Members of the Committee
  2. b.    Auditors Report
  3. c.     Current Balance Sheet  (Assets & Liabilities)
  4. d.     Profit and Loss Statement Year-To-Date  (Income & Expenditure)
  5. e.     Bank Statements since previous Report  (Commonwealth Bank of Australia)
  6. f.      Previously Accepted Treasurer’s Report

Veterans – The Sons of Anzacs 2015 Memorial Tour Website is

Veterans – The Sons of Anzacs 2015 Memorial Tour Website is
Bookmark favourites

The total cost has not been finalised at this stage, however deposits have already been paid , these will be fully refundable if you are unable to attend, these deposits are in recognition of your interest and they will also register you for EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS.

For further interest and prior to the Tour,
In Queensland, at the Caloundra RSL on the 30 and 31st March 2014. Battlefield Briefings will be conducted by Brigadier N Weekes MC, Major L. Tranter (both survivors of Coral-Balmoral) and subject to posting, The RSM of the Army D. Ashley (Afghanistan) along with another significant hero which has been confirmed as Sgt. Bob Buick M.M.(Long Tan).

The Army Band Brisbane will be providing the entertainment.

In NSW the concert and battlefield briefings will be held at the ROOTY HILL RSL, with the same actors and the Army Band Sydney will provide the entertainment.

The dates for Rooty Hill are 10th and 11th August 2014.

There will be a nominal entry fee and every dollar collected will be given to a charity, either the RSL Anzac appeal and or Legacy.

On behalf of the committee of SAVMT
Gary Phillips
Melbourne and other states venues are yet to be confirmed advice will be forthcoming…be prepared.

And be entertained by the Military band.

Guidelines on the Special Rate and Intermediate Rate of Disability Pension

The attached letter is to advise that the Repatriation Commission has endorsed revised Guidelines on the Special Rate and Intermediate Rate of disability pension under the Veterans’ Entitlement Act 1986 (VEA). The revised Guidelines are titled CM6882 Special Rate and Intermediate Rate of pension and are now available in the Department of Veteran Affairs Consolidated Library of Information and Knowledge.  Click Here

Letter to ESO RT Members Regarding Special Rate and Intermediate Rate Guidelines – 14 JUN 2013



Treasurers Report – General Meeting 16 June 2013

Treasurers Report May 2013


The full reports can be viewed by clicking here.