On Friday 12th June 2015 Senator Jacqui Lambie spent the day visiting old and young veterans at the Kenmore-Moggill RSL Sub-Branch. The visit was organised and hosted by the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans Association (APPVA) with whom Senator Jackie Lambie has had a long term relationship. Approximately 50 veterans attended the presentation and several took the opportunity for a more formal discussion with the Senator throughout the day.
The APPVA deliver the pensions and welfare advocacy service within Kenmore-Moggill RSL Sub-Branch, providing a professional link for Veterans and current serving defence members with the Department of Veterans Affair (DVA). There is a raft of legislation that affects servicemen and women which in and of itself adds a layer of complexity along with the fact that not every individual’s service and circumstances is the same.
Due to the existing relationship with APPVA and the Senator’s demonstrated interest in veterans’ issues, an invitation to visit the Sub-Branch and RSL Care facility at Pinjarra Hills was extended to allow both individuals and organisations within our veteran community the chance to sit down with Senator Lambie and brief her first hand on their issues. There are many organisations that operate in this space such as:
- The Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL)
- The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA)
- The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO)
- The Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Association (APPVA)
- The Royal Australian Regiment Association (RARA)
- Soldier On
- Mates 4 Mates
- Young Diggers
- Whiskey’s Wish
- Legacy, and many more
Some veterans who have had problems in their cases with both DVA and Honours and Awards were represented during this visit by the Senator. Issues that were discussed but not limited to included:
- Conditions of Service
- Mental Health
- Military Superannuation
- Veteran’s Disability Pensions
- A Military Accord
- Recognition of Service
- Transition to Civilian life
- Centralisation of Defence Health services.
L to R. Trevor Dixon (President Kemore-Moggill RSL), Senator Lambie, Elaine Gallagher (veteran and volunteer), Roderic Thompson (Veterans Advocate APPVA)
Senator Lambie is an enthusiastic supporter of veterans and supports veterans’ issues in parliament. This was very evident as the Senator also discussed the following topics which the Senator either supports, or is actively pursuing better outcomes for veterans and the defence community as a whole:
- Granting a Gold Card to all veterans on their return from operational service.
- Homeless veterans – The Anglicare report states “one in ten homeless were veterans” and the Senator was concerned about this issue.
- The introduction of a Diggers Bill similar to the United States GI Bill, giving education opportunities to veterans after they leave the military.
- Discussing with Lotto the feasibility of commencing an Anzac Lottery to raise funds for Veterans.
- Support for a form of conscription.
- Issues associated with superannuation, in particular DFRDB with older veterans – life tables, reversionary issues, preserved benefits and indexation.
The Kenmore-Moggill RSL Sub-Branch recognises efforts made to date and those that are being made by Government, Defence and DVA on many of these issues and is using this opportunity to allow a member of the Federal Parliament to be briefed independently by our local community. It should be noted that the Kenmore-Moggill Sub-Branch has previously hosted members of both major political parties and independents (both representatives and candidates), from all three levels of government who received similar briefings.
Our objective is to facilitate identification of areas that can be improved further or changed to achieve better outcomes through being part of the critical process of continual improvement.