Defence veterans have launched yet another campaign seeking justice in dealings with the Dept of Defence. You would think, for the number of times that political heavies wrap themselves in the flag alongside men and women in uniform, that our serving personnel would be very well treated by the federal government. No so, say the vets, as the wife, Dr Kay Danes, of a four-decade soldier, Kerry, explains.
What’s fair? Should all the special forces soldiers be punished for the alleged criminal acts of the few, by the withdrawal of the commendation as a meritorious unit? In fact, many SOTG soldiers had the moral courage to speak up when their superiors remained deathly silent. Shouldn’t charges be proven in a court of law before any action is taken? CLA member Dr Kay Danes outlines the issues…and asks supporters to sign a petition.
Within Australian serving ranks, there are growing calls for a Senate Inquiry into why so many serving, reserves and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are committing suicide. Is institutional abuse to blame? asks ADF Veteran’s advocate Kay Danes OAM.
More and more people in Australia are questioning whether jingoism – extreme patriotism – is an increasing danger in and to Australia. Even noted leaders of the warrior class are speaking out, as this ANZAC DAy speech by a former Vice Chief of the Defence Force illustrates. Ray Funnell questions where we are headed, and whether we’re following the right types of ‘leaders’.
Honouring people who have served Australia in notable ways is an honourable thing to do.While feting our war dead and the living former soldiers, we have an equal duty to critically examine the wars of the past and present, measuring how we got involved, what the outcome and result looks like in hindsight, and whether we can avoid making mistakes in how and why we enter wars in future, Keith McEwan wrote, originally in 2011.
The federal government is hell bent on boosting its powers to call out the troops at a moment’s notice anywhere in Australia, and even in anticipation of a problem occurring. The new law, now being considered by a parliamentary committee, would be perfect for using the Army, Navy and Air Force to protect President Trump when he visits, or to stop protestors at Adani mine or port sites, where fracking is about to get under way or any environmental protest is likely. The power to call out the troops should be very tightly constrained, which is the opposite of how this draft bill is written, says CLA CEO Bill Rowlings.
Fury was the initial response on social media among Defence personnel to allegations against special forces soldiers. But as new details emerge almost daily, there’s recognition that leaders at many levels within the Australian Defence Force may have as many questions to answer as the troops. If accountability failures extend throughout the organisation, Army wife Kay Danes writes, an open and transparent Senate inquiry would be the least mechanism needed to get to the bottom of the allegedly widespread management problems in the ADF.
Lest we forget we will all chant, as we have all chanted for a century now. And yet it is as if all that chanting only ensures we remember nothing. If we remembered would we 100 years later still allow our young men to be sent off to kill or be killed in distant conflicts defending yet again not our country, but another distant empire, as we have in Iraq and Afghanistan?