Defence Reserves Association National Conference

A report from the Defence Reserves Association

The 2021 Defence Reserves Association (DRA) National Conference, held on 14 August in Adelaide, generated considerable positive feedback, largely due to the relevance of its theme, quality of speakers, and the webinar format.    

The theme, If you want peace, prepare for war: the contingent role and tasks for the ADF Reserves, enabled speakers to examine:

  • what it is the Government would demand from the Reserves in preparing for war; 
  • how this would be achieved by the ADF; 
  • where, in terms of role and tasks, the Government and ADF might employ the Reserves; and
  • when, in terms of the mobilisation process, would the Reserves likely to be deployed. 

The traditional conferences in previous years, where both speakers and participants attended in person, attracted around 60–70 people. This year’s conference used a hybrid format where participants could either attend in person or access the live presentations as virtual attendees. As well as making life so much easier for the speakers, hundreds of people around Australia joined the webinar on the day and have since accessed the presentations on the DRA website.

Major General Paul Irving (Retd), the President of the DRA National Executive, explained that ‘the ability for attendees to ask questions of speakers, in real time, is a vital aspect of these conferences and I was very pleased that we were able to receive questions on the day’.

All the presentations, including those from the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Defence, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Shadow Minister for Defence, and senior Defence officers, have been loaded on the DRA website.   

The website also includes information on previous conferences, some latest news and the role of the DRA and the state branches.

The DRA, a joint organisation, is the only advocacy group specifically representing Defence Reservists. The major objective of the DRA is to represent the interests of Defence Reserves to promote an effective ADF and improve outcomes for former ADF members, by:

  • providing advice to Government to inform legislative change, policy development and decision making; 
  • assisting the ADF in developing and implementing effective workforce management processes and conditions of service;
  • engaging with stakeholders, including other ex-service organisations, in improving the welfare of and support to Reservists.

If you are interested in contributing to the DRA’s advocacy work, please consider joining the team and being part of the discussions. The website also contains details about membership arrangements and how to contact the National Executive and state branches.   

Ex-service organisations and related not-for-profits are welcome to submit stories for publication by emailing vetaffairs [at]
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