Skip to Content

Vol 34 No.1 Autumn 2018

Welcome to the Autumn edition of Vetaffairs

Vetaffairs First PageThe Autumn 2018 issue of Vetaffairs is now available via the links below. Highlights include:


Download a printable PDF version of Vetaffairs (18.9 MB). Listen to the audio version (MP3 109 MB), noting the large file size. Email to receive future issues on CD.

Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards

‘Let’s stamp “I served” on the top of our CVs’

Should veterans proudly mark the words ‘I served’ on their resumes? The 2018 winner of the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to Veterans’ Employment, Glen Ferrarotto, believes they should.

Getting veterans into the right jobs

WithYouWithMe, a veteran-owned company that has secured direct employment for almost 300 veterans in its first two years of operation, won the award for Outstanding Contribution by an Organisation to Veterans’ Employment at the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards.

NSW Government program tops its target by 162pc

The NSW Government Veterans Employment Program exceeded its original target for veteran employment by 162 per cent 18 months ahead of schedule, and has now won two Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards.

Ex-ADF staff help drive Secure Windows’ growth

Peter Liston and Matthew Moseley met while training at Royal Military College, Duntroon, and each served 11 years in the Australian Army before setting up Secure Windows.

Hiring the best as they exit ADF

Boeing Defence Australia will spend about $1 million on veterans over the next two years, according to its Vice-President and Managing Director Darren Edwards.

Flexibility key for ADF spouses

Westpac executive Janelle Parkinson hopes her organisation’s win at the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards will encourage other businesses to hire and offer appropriate support for veterans’ spouses.


Invictus spirit makes its mark as Games near

Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Ambassador Curtis McGrath OAM, who competed in indoor rowing and wheelchair rugby at the 2014 and 2016 Games, is encouraging veterans, defence personnel and their families to ‘make their mark’ in their community in the lead-up to the October event.

Sir John Monash Centre brings our Western Front story to a new audience

The Sir John Monash Centre will officially open in France in late April, allowing visitors to embark on an immersive and at times confronting journey as they connect with the Australian story of the Western Front.

Pensions and allowances rise

Veterans’ pensions were increased on 20 March 2018 following the latest round of indexation adjustments.

When 20,000 women stepped up

Second World War veteran Thea Commins joined the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) as a teenager after Singapore fell in February 1942, and within a week of signing on was training recruits at Ingleburn.

Incapacity payments affected by splitting of superannuation

Some DVA clients whose superannuation payments are split with an ex-spouse may benefit from a change in the way the Department calculates incapacity payments.

Letters to the editor

Readers John McCoombe, Harold Willson and Lenny Woodman respond to the article in the Summer 2017 edition of Vetaffairs on the By the left campaign to recognise the service of women veterans; and RAAF veteran Keith Campbell writes to acknowledge care and support provided to veterans who travelled to the Bomber Command Memorial in 2012.

News from the department

Simon Lewis PSM, Secretary for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, provides an update on one of the busiest periods in the department’s 100-year history. 

From the Minister: Putting veterans first

In his first Vetaffairs column since his appointment as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in March, Darren Chester shares his plans for the portfolio, starting by thanking Vetaffairs readers for their service.


VVCS webinar to focus on transition

The next Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) community mental health webinar, on Wednesday 30 May, 12–1pm AEST, is entitled Transitioning from the military – a stepped approach.

One more drink won’t hurt ... or will it?

Looking at the consequences of drinking can be a useful way of determining whether alcohol is having a negative impact on your life, according to DVA’s Mental Health Adviser, Loretta Poerio.

Myth busters: Is it difficult to access mental health treatment through DVA?

There is a common misconception that it’s difficult to get DVA to cover the cost of mental health treatment. In fact, DVA provides veterans who served full-time with free treatment for any mental health condition. It’s there for as long as you need it, whether it relates to your service or not.

Taking the initiative on health program reform

DVA wants to put the focus back onto health and especially prevention (not just treatment) of disease, as the department’s Chief Health Officer and Principal Medical Adviser, Ian Gardner, explains.

Free cervical screening test for DVA Gold Card holders

The Australian Government has implemented a new National Cervical Screening Program consisting of a five-yearly human papillomavirus (HPV) test for women aged 25 to 74, replacing the previous two-yearly ‘Pap test’ for those aged 18 to 69.

Never too early to plan for end-of-life medical care

Even if you are hale and hearty, it is never too early to plan ahead for your end-of-life medical care, including completing an advance care directive (ACD).

ESO News

Remembering the nurses of the ‘Vyner Brooke’

An ordinary-looking old Hoffman brick that once belonged to a young Second World War nurse has become a symbol of the story behind this year’s Anzac Day program of events in the Victorian town of Panmure.

Korean War Memorial for Melbourne

An official war memorial will be built this year in Melbourne to honour the service and sacrifice of Australians who served in the Korean War between 1950 and 1953.

Medal approved for wear

Korean War veterans may now wear the Republic of Korea War Service medal.

International Bomber Command Centre opens in UK

More than 75 years ago, during the Second World War, young men from Australia trained as aircrew as part of the Empire Training Scheme. More than 10,000 of these men were to be assigned to RAF Bomber Command. A little known fact is that while they represented only two per cent of those Australians who served in the War, they were to represent 20 per cent of the losses … the highest in the War.

Keeping Weary’s vision for veterans alive

Through Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop’s War Diaries and the testimony of fellow prisoners of war, we came to learn of the courage, compassion, leadership and sacrifice of this remarkable surgeon and commander on the Thai-Burma railroad.

Widows’ News

Honouring women who have served abroad and at home

This September, a collaborative initiative led by the NSW War Widows’ Guild will recognise and honour the service and sacrifice of women and families and commemorate a centenary of service and sacrifice by women in the defence of the nation through two significant events in Canberra.

AWWQ to establish northern HQ in Townsville

Australian War Widows Queensland (AWWQ) will establish northern headquarters in Townsville this year, given the city’s significant military history and large and growing ex-Australian Defence Force (ADF) community.

Low-key but poignant return for Long Tan Cross

The return of the Long Tan Cross by the Vietnamese government last November was kept under wraps by the Australian War Memorial for several weeks before a small, emotional unveiling ceremony in early December.

Transforming DVA

We’re starting small, but thinking big

After laying much of the groundwork in 2017, DVA is pushing ahead with its transformation in 2018. The department’s Veteran Centric Reform program is about making DVA a 21st-century organisation with a 21st-century service that puts our veterans and their families at the centre of everything we do.

Mobile service centre, agent pilots roll out

DVA is working with the Department of Human Services on two pilot programs exploring alternative face-to-face information points for veterans.

DVA’s 1800 freecall number now accessible nationally

DVA’s general enquiries freecall telephone number, 1800 555 254, is now accessible to all callers nationwide. For several years, the freecall number has been available to callers residing in regional Australia, allowing country callers to contact DVA without incurring call charges when dialling from a landline telephone. As part of a project to improve access options for its clients, DVA has now also made the freecall number accessible to callers in metropolitan areas.

Reaching veterans via Australia Post

DVA is exploring new ways to raise awareness of the services available to veterans and their families. One example is a trial program designed to share information about DVA services through post offices.

Annual reports project reveals century of stories

Every DVA annual report ever published has been made available online to mark the centenary this year of the establishment of the Repatriation Commission.


Somalia: A grim fight for peace

The Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM MP is a federal politician these days but 25 years ago he was a military legal officer serving in Somalia alongside more than 1500 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.

Milestone events mark final months of Anzac Centenary

The last few months of the four-year-long Anzac Centenary period will feature a series of major commemorative events in Australia and overseas.

Remembering the Battle of Hamel: A meticulously planned victory

Australia’s official historian of the First World War, Charles Bean, described the Battle of Hamel on 4 July 1918 as ‘a big battle on a small scale’. Although almost a century has passed, it is still considered a masterpiece of logistics and combined arms warfare.

Five decades since Battles of Coral and Balmoral

A National Service of Commemoration will be held on 13 May 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battles at Fire Support Bases (FSBs) Coral and Balmoral in Vietnam.

75th anniversary of Hellfire Pass nears

The commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Australian work on Hellfire Pass and completion of the Thai-Burma Railway will be one of the key events of DVA’s Century of Service program in 2018.

Anzac Day student resources highlight impact of war

DVA’s 2018 Anzac Day mail-out of educational resources for primary and secondary schools will provide students with insights into Australia’s contribution to the First World War, according to Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester.


Directory of advocacy services available online

Looking for someone to help you with accessing DVA benefits and services? An online directory of organisations that offer accredited military advocacy services is now available on the Advocacy Training and Development Program (ATDP) website.

Veterans’ Health Week 2018 to focus on nutrition

Veterans’ Health Week in 2018 will be held from 22 to 30 September. DVA will partner with ex-service organisations and community groups to organise and participate in fun activities that highlight the importance of improving and maintaining good health. 

Competitors embrace 10,000 Steps Challenge

DVA’s second National 10,000 Steps Challenge attracted over 500 more participants and 100 more teams compared to the inaugural event, with 1300 steppers joining in during November 2017 in 260 teams.

Reminder to keep personal-response pendants within reach

Veterans who use a personal-response pendant are reminded of the importance of wearing the device at all times for safety reasons.

Defence Archives now online

Defence Archives and Service Centres (DASC) has upgraded its systems and processes to provide customers with faster, secure access to records via the internet. 

Are you ageing well?

Phoenix Australia is seeking veterans aged between 60 and 75 to help with its research into veterans and ageing. 

‘Serving Country’ in Newcastle

The touring national photography exhibition Serving Country, which pays tribute to Indigenous servicemen and women, will be on show in the Lovett Gallery, War Memorial Cultural Centre, Newcastle, NSW, from 20 April to 9 June 20 2018. It will be open on Anzac Day.

Veteran art exhibition lauded

The inaugural exhibition of the Australian National Veterans Arts Museum (ANVAM) was highly commended in the ‘Building Health Through Art’ category of the VicHealth Awards in December. ANVAM’s current exhibition, March to Art: Community, runs until 25 April 2018 at the Collins Place Gallery in Melbourne.

New training program for DVA staff

As part of their induction to DVA, new staff attend Serve, a workshop geared towards the key theme of understanding and responding to DVA’s clients. 


NEXT STEPS: Renewed sense of purpose key to successful transition

ACT Shadow Veterans’ Affairs Minister Jeremy Hanson was deployed to East Timor and Iraq during his 22-year Army career, but when it came to transitioning to civilian life, he was challenged as never before.

Help for those with concerns about aged care services

Are you, or is someone you know, receiving Australian Government-funded aged-care assistance, either in a residential aged-care facility or in the home through the Commonwealth Home Support, flexible care or Home Care Packages programs?

Off the shelf

Reviewed in this edition are: Stealth Raiders: A few daring men in 1918 by Lucas Jordan; Monash and Chauvel: How Australia’s two greatest generals changed the course of world history by Roland Perry; and No Front Line: Australia’s special forces at war in Afghanistan by Chris Masters.

‘Rising Sun’ and ‘Morning Star’ to shine in France

A tapestry and a work in glass created by high-profile Australian artists will form part of the permanent collection of the new Sir John Monash Centre in France.

DSH approaches its centenary with pride

This Christmas, the Defence Service Homes Act 1918 (more commonly and formerly known as the War Service Homes Act 1918) will celebrate its centenary. 

Still baking for our soldiers, 78 years on

Now aged 95, Daphne Turner has been baking ‘Soldiers’ Fruit Cakes’ and sending them to serving ADF members since 1939, when her late husband was the first recipient during his Second World War deployment to New Guinea.

On our screens

Reviewed this edition: Darkest Hour, Dunkirk and Hacksaw Ridge.

Marking a century of repatriation in Australia

One hundred years ago, thousands of Australian soldiers returned from fighting in France, Belgium and the Middle East, many scarred or disabled, physically or mentally. The government of the day realised that a system of repatriation was necessary to prepare these soldiers for a return to civilian life – to ease the transition and to meet their needs in the years that followed the First World War.

News from the Australian War Memorial

Items for sale

  • The Menin Gate Lions (DVD)
  • Menin Gate Lions figurines
  • The Memorial poppy brooch
  • Pompey Elliott at War: In his own words

3D exhibition tells AWM story online

The Australian War Memorial has launched Art of nation: Australia’s official art and photography of the First World War, a three-dimensional online interactive experience based around historian and war correspondent Charles Bean’s proposed design for an ‘Australian War Memorial Museum’.

Seeking relatives to assist with Anzac archive

The Australian War Memorial is creating a comprehensive digital archive of the Anzacs and their deeds, using material selected from its collections, and reflecting the experiences of Australian servicemen, nurses and civilians during the First World War.

Vetaffairs Noticeboard

Reunion notices

Medals – lost and found


No votes yet