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Vol 35 No.4 Summer 2019

Welcome to the Summer 2019 edition of Vetaffairs

Front page of Vetaffairs 2019 Summer editionThe Summer 2019 issue of Vetaffairs is now available via the links below. Highlights include:

Listen to the audio version (MP3 94.7 MB), noting the large file size.

Email to:

  • receive future issues of the audio version on CD
  • subscribe to the electronic version of Vetaffairs
  • request a PDF version
  • subscribe to DVA e-news (for more frequent news updates from DVA).


Veterans’ Covenant enshrined in law

Legislation that provides better recognition of the unique nature of military service and further acknowledges the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families passed federal Parliament with bipartisan support in October.

Australia remembers

On 11 November, Australians paused in silent reflection to remember the more than 102,000 service men and women who have died serving our nation. 

DVA services during the holiday season

DVA will continue providing support to veterans and their families during the holiday season. However, please be aware that some services will be affected from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day inclusive.

New Year, new look

In the New Year, we will launch a redesign of Vetaffairs, bringing in a fresh, contemporary look.

News from the department

The Secretary reflects on 2019, thanks outgoing Deputy President of the Repatriation Commission Craig Orme DSC AM CSC, discusses mental health outcomes, looks at the Veterans’ Recognition Package and encourages anyone who is struggling during the holidays to reach out.


Various readers have written to Vetaffairs, drawing to our attention a number of mistakes in last issue’s article on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Binh Bah.

From the Minister

On 16 October 2019, Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester delivered to Parliament the third annual Ministerial Statement on Veterans and their Families, an extract from which appears here.

Veterans’ employment

An overview of the various national, state and territory veteran employment programs.

Supporting veterans’ children  

DVA support available for children of current and former Australian Defence Force personnel who have either died or been severely wounded or injured as a result of their service.

Funding boost for Saluting Their Service grants

Commemorative projects across the nation may benefit from a recent funding boost to the Saluting Their Service Commemorative Grants Program.

Supporting our carers

If you’re a carer, DVA can provide respite care to give you a break, whether you’re planning a holiday, just need to catch up with family and friends, or want to attend a regular community activity or study.

2019 Client Satisfaction Survey results

DVA’s 2019 Client Satisfaction Survey results have been released, showing that overall client satisfaction has increased from 81 per cent last year to 84 per cent, with increases across all age groups.

DVA research to improve veteran health & wellbeing

DVA has implemented a new research agenda that will see investment in research into all stages of a veteran’s life: serving well, living well and ageing well.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission began operations on 1 January 2019. Its purpose is to protect and enhance the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life of aged-care consumers by holding aged-care providers to account for the quality and safety of the services they provide, and the outcomes they achieve.

Travel insurance: worth the cost

Defence Service Homes Insurance is proud to announce it has partnered with Defence Health to provide travel insurance. Defence Health offers comprehensive travel insurance tailored to the needs of veterans, Australian Defence Force members and their families.

Health and Wellbeing

Aches and pains and osteoarthritis

The department’s Chief Health Officer and Principal Medical Adviser Dr Jenny Firman provides some tips on dealing with osteoarthritis.

New senior doctor joins DVA

Dr Trish Batchelor has recently joined DVA in the newly created role of Deputy Chief Health Officer.

Listen up

If you have hearing loss as an accepted condition or hold a DVA Gold Health card, you can get assistive listening devices (ALDs) to help improve your ability to hear in specific situations. DVA provides ALDs at no cost.

Medicines and your kidneys

DVA’s Veterans' Medicines Advice and Therapeutics Education Services (Veterans’ MATES) latest topic 'Medicines and your kidneys' is now available.

Is your coping strategy making you sick?

The department’s Mental Health Adviser Dr Loretta Poerio looks at avoidance strategies.

Getting social over the holidays

Social connection is one of the most important contributors to a person’s emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.


Some corner of a foreign field  

Australian service men and women are buried or commemorated in locations across the globe. These include the village of Harefield, northwest of London, which was the site of an Australian military hospital during the First World War.

New history of DVA now available

A book titled More than the Last Shilling, commissioned by the department, was launched by DVA Secretary Liz Cosson AM CSC on 7 November.

Widows' News

We are here for you

At War Widows NSW, our mission is to provide vital support to all widows of partners who have lost a loved one through participation in Defence service.


Our Veterans

Edited versions of stories that appear on the Our Veterans page of the DVA website. The stories are about Tim Loch, Troy Lines and Noel McLaughlin OAM – all of whom have transitioned from the Australian Defence Force. 

ESO News

StoryRight and Soldier On launch partnership

StoryRight launched its partnership with Soldier On Australia at their joint Pathways Networking Event in Adelaide on 3 October.

DVA aged-care presentation  

On 28 September, the Naval Association of Australia Queensland Section held their State Council Meeting at the Queensland Maritime Museum. During the meeting, delegates were given a presentation on the financial implications of aged care, by Shane Bourke from DVA.


Open Arms – helping families

Counsellors at Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling understand military culture. Because of this, they can help family members address their challenges and enhance their quality of life.

Helping military families cope with trauma

DVA has partnered with Phoenix Australia to develop a series of booklets to support the families of serving, transitioning or ex-serving members of the ADF who are experiencing mental health concerns following trauma.

Commissioner meets with PVA

Repatriation Commissioner Don Spinks AM addressed the annual conference of the Partners of Veterans Association of Australia, which was held in Canberra on 24 October.


Painting herself out of a corner

Painting hasn’t cured veteran Nyulla Safi of her PTSD but it’s diminished its impact and provided her with a future.

Celebrating 100 years

This issue we continue to feature veterans or their spouses who are turning 100 years old. Here are three stories that have also appeared on the Facebook page of the Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester.

Film festival showcases veteran talent

The annual Veterans Film Festival was held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra from 6 to 9 November 2019.

Veterans’ Health Week focuses on mental wellness

Veterans’ Health Week aims to highlight the importance of good mental health and raise awareness of health and wellbeing generally in the veteran and Defence community. This year it was held from 26 October to 3 November with the theme of mental wellness.

PT session at Government House

In the early morning of 30 October, the Governor-General His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Mrs Hurley hosted a physical training event for around 90 Canberra-based veterans.

Off the shelf

  • Walk a War In My Shoes
  • Leadership Secrets of the Australian Army
  • Just Doin’ Me Job 


Presentation of medals to WWII veteran

At the commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the Battle of Crete earlier this year, Jenny Cotton CSC, Deputy Commissioner Victoria had the pleasure of meeting Mr Norman Maddock, one of the remaining survivors of the famous battle. During the conversation she discovered Norm’s medals had been stolen.

Virtual tour of Hellfire Pass and Sandakan Death Marches

To coincide with Remembrance Day, stage two of the ANZAC 360 app was launched in partnership with News Corp Australia on 10 November. It allows viewers to experience two of Australia’s darkest chapters in its military history, Hellfire Pass in Thailand and the Sandakan Death Marches on Borneo, through virtual reality technology.

Veteran’s sacrifice finally honoured

An account of an official commemorative service organised for Walter Richardson who fought in the Boer War and the First World War and died in the 1930s.

Australian War Memorial

The Memorial’s continuing story

The AWM is modernising and expanding its galleries and buildings to give it the ability to tell the stories of the 100,000 Australian veterans who have served in the last three decades.

Items for sale

  • Surviving the Great War: Australian Prisoners of War on the Western Front, 1916–1918
  • Cricketers at war: Cricket heroes who also fought for Australia in battle
  • ‘Slap on a hat!’

Vetaffairs Noticeboard

Reunion notices

Medals – lost and found


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