Media Release - Supporting female veterans and families

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 Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan praised the contribution of our female Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and veterans and called on all Australians to recognise their service and sacrifice.

Dan Tehan

Mr Tehan attended the first-ever Female Veterans and Families Forum in Canberra today where female veterans and representatives from veterans and family groups discussed ways to improve services.

“This forum delivers another Turnbull Government election commitment by providing a platform for our female veterans to raise issues directly to the Government and Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA),” Mr Tehan said.

“One striking message was that our female veterans do not feel they receive the recognition they deserve for their service and sacrifice.

“For example, many of our female veterans observed that when they wore their medals in public many people assumed they were wearing the medals of their father or grandfather.

“The reality is there are almost 9000 women currently serving in the ADF, which is about 15 per cent of the total permanent force.

“There is not a single job in the ADF that is not open to women and women are making important and valuable contributions to our national defence.

“As a society, we need to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of everyone who serves in defence of our country.”

Mr Tehan said the forum raised other issues about communication and transition that the Government would seek to address.

“The female veterans and families gave feedback about areas of improvement that are specific to families and the important role they play in supporting the veteran community,” Mr Tehan said.

“The Government is improving the transition process by ensuring all personnel will have appropriate documentation, including health records, superannuation and training records, and participate in the formal transition process before separating from the ADF. All separating ADF personnel will also have access to coaching services to help them seek and obtain employment.

“Since the start of this year the ADF and DVA computer systems are also sharing some information which will allow DVA to communicate with ADF personnel at appropriate stages of their careers and post-service life.”

6 December 2016

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8  45482416). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Media Release - Roundtable to discuss suicide prevention in Townsville

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Minister for Health and Aged Care, Sussan Ley and Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel, Dan Tehan will visit Townsville later this week to discuss the incidence of suicide among current and former members of the ADF and hear ideas that will help shape a new landmark suicide prevention trial in the region.

Representatives from defence and veterans’ associations, health service providers and local community groups will be attending Wednesday’s roundtable discussion.

Announced in September, the Turnbull Government is working with local and regional stakeholders to establish a Suicide Prevention Trial Site in Townsville. The Townsville trial will be led by the North Queensland Primary Health Network. As part of its work, the trial will focus on veterans’ mental health.

This is one of 12 innovative, front-line trials in our fight against suicide which will improve understanding of the challenges and work to develop best-practice services which we can apply nationwide.

The Turnbull Government is committed to supporting the mental health of all Australians.

The suicide prevention trial in Townsville is part of a $34 million commitment to fund and evaluate 12 suicide prevention trial sites nationally.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said consultation and collaboration will be critical to the success of the trial in Townsville. "The involvement of veterans’ organisations, local service providers, and health professth the local community and servicionals is essential if we are going to tackle the incidence of suicide amongst current and former members of the ADF," Minister Ley said.

"That’s why we’ll be talking directly with service providers to understand what’s currently working on the ground in garrison communities, like Townsville, and to seek their advice in designing and planning the trial."

Minister Tehan said the suicide prevention trial site was another important initiative in the Government’s campaign to address suicide.
"The veterans’ focus of the Townsville trial site will be vitally important in helping to improve our understanding of the challenges and helping us to develop best practices which can be rolled out nationally," Minister Tehan said.
"The Government is committed to addressing the incidence of suicide in our community and this year we have introduced several suicide prevention initiatives for our serving and ex-serving population.
"Free mental health treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders is available now to anyone who has served for one day in the ADF."

During the election, the Turnbull Government committed $192 million over four years to strengthen mental health care and develop new models to better support those with severe mental illnesses and those living in rural and regional areas who are at risk of suicide.

Media enquiries:
Minister Ley: Jessica Howe 0428 426 293
Minister Tehan: Byron Vale 0428 262 894

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

First comprehensive picture of defence suicides to emerge

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The most comprehensive picture of the incidence of suicide among defence personnel will be released on Wednesday, but mental health advocates are already calling for funding for better research.

By Jackson Gothe-Snape
29 NOV 2016

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The first-ever comprehensive statistics on the incidence of suicide among former defence force personnel will be published this week, following research that required approval by an ethics committee.

But the release is prompting renewed calls for better understanding of mental health in Australia’s armed forces.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) will release estimates of suicide in current and former Australian Defence Force personnel for the past 15 years on Wednesday, using data combined from the Defence personnel database and National Death Index records.

The new information is expected to show the suicide rate among former defence personnel to be significantly higher than the rate in the broader community.

Amanda Rishworth, Labor’s veterans’ affairs spokeswoman and a former psychologist, said this type of information has not been used before and she expects "a good estimate about what the true picture is in terms of suicides, both in Defence and for veterans."

The first-ever comprehensive statistics on the incidence of suicide among former defence force personnel will be published this week, following research that required approval by an ethics committee.

But the release is prompting renewed calls for better understanding of mental health in Australia’s armed forces.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) will release estimates of suicide in current and former Australian Defence Force personnel for the past 15 years on Wednesday, using data combined from the Defence personnel database and National Death Index records.

The new information is expected to show the suicide rate among former defence personnel to be significantly higher than the rate in the broader community.

Amanda Rishworth, Labor’s veterans’ affairs spokeswoman and a former psychologist, said this type of information has not been used before and she expects "a good estimate about what the true picture is in terms of suicides, both in Defence and for veterans."

Currently, the Department of Defence has information on active personnel who have committed suicide, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) records when claims of suicides are made by family members, but there is no system for tracking suicides among veterans who don't make a claim.

The DVA acknowledges the lack of reliable statistics, which prompted the funding of this new study from AIHW.

Karen Court from Overwatch, a not-for-profit that assists former ADF members at risk or in crisis, fears Wednesday’s estimates will again undercount the true rate of suicide.

"The dataset is incomplete and fails to include Vietnam veterans as well as contemporary veterans from both peacekeeping missions in Rwanda and Somalia and the Gulf War,” she said.

"These cohorts have had a significant amount of suicide from within their ranks.”

She also argues that volunteer efforts to track suicides in the community, such as the Australian Veterans Suicide Register, should be given more support.

"Rather than ‘reinventing the wheel’ it would seem logical that the bodies responsible for undertaking these studies request assistance from those undertaking the work in the community already as we have much we could teach them,” she said.

Ms Rishworth is proposing the government funds a national dataset covering veterans and serving personnel to provide the definitive record of defence force mental health.

"What suicide is, is the very awful end to complex mental health problems that haven’t been addressed, and haven’t been prevented,” she said.

"Early intervention is really critical to that and getting a picture of what is happening out there and looking at what we can do better is essential.”

Geoff Neideck, head of the AIHW’s Data Strategies and IT Group, said it was necessary to use "data linkage" to produce the research, a process that involves matching individuals from a block of records with individuals from another.

"The AIHW linked the Department of Defence’s Personnel Database (PMKeyS) with the National Death Index,” he said.

"All data linkage activities require AIHW ethics approvals before they can proceed,” he said.

One-hundred-and-eighteen serving personnel died by suicide between 2000 and September 2016, according to ADF.

The DVA advised a Senate committee that care should be taken in attributing some deaths as suicide without a coroner's finding, such as drug overdoses, single vehicle car accidents, falls or drowning, which could be accidental or intentional.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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Tehan Media Release - Prioritising support for Australia's veterans

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Dan Tehan

The issue of veterans’ homelessness will be a focus of discussions when Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan hosts his state and territory counterparts in Canberra today and tomorrow.

The inaugural Veterans Ministers’ Roundtable delivers a Federal Government election commitment to bring state and territory ministers together to tackle veterans’ issues.
"The Government places the highest priority on ensuring veterans and their families have the support they need, when they need it," Mr Tehan said.

"Discussions will focus on the important issue of veterans’ homelessness and this meeting is an opportunity to explore improving the services provided to veterans and identify best practice."

The Federal Government has commissioned research into veterans’ homelessness that will develop estimates of the number of veterans accessing homeless services, the factors that cause homelessness and the experiences of homeless veterans. The research will be completed by the end of 2017.


"The Ministers will also discuss mental health, suicide, incarceration, vocational rehabilitation, employment and transitioning from the military to civilian life," Mr Tehan said.

"Everyone attending these discussions has the best interests of our veterans at heart and I am confident this first roundtable meeting will produce results that make a difference for our veteran community."

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

MEDIA RELEASE - SUPPORTING VETERAN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

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The Turnbull Government will ensure all Australian Defence Force Personnel (ADF) are ready for the opportunities of post-service life.

Getting a good job, launching a new career is essential to ensuring our veterans make the most successful transition from the ADF. Our ADF personnel leave the military with unique skills and can make valuable contributions to business. It is in everyone’s interests to recognise the talents of our veterans and encourage the private sector to take advantage of that expertise.

The private sector is best placed to develop strategies to recognise the skills of our veterans during the recruitment stage and to retain them in employment. Today the Government announced the formation of an Industry Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment of leading Australian business people that will consider how to mentor ADF personnel and translate ADF skills for the private sector. All participating businesses will be given the title ‘Veteran Employment Ambassador’.

The excellent work done by small, medium and large businesses employing veterans will be recognised at an annual Prime Minister’s Veterans Employment Annual Awards. The criteria for the awards will be developed in consultation with the Industry Advisory Committee.

Businesses will be encouraged to partner with a local Ex-Service Organisation, such as the RSL and Soldier On, to develop strategies for driving veterans’ employment through an Ex-Service Organisation Industry Partnership Register.

The Government will help our ADF personnel by improving the transition from the Defence force into their post-service careers. All personnel will have appropriate documentation, including health records, superannuation and training records, and participate in the formal transition process before separating from the ADF. All separating ADF personnel will also have access to employment coaching services to help them seek and obtain employment.

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) will participate in the transition process and develop a toolkit for veterans seeking employment in the public service. The APSC will also improve information for veterans seeking employment in the public service and launch an online tool for aligning ADF rank to APS classification. The new APSJobs website will include specific information for veterans seeking employment in the APS when it launches in 2017.

An information page for veterans will be created on the Government’s jobactive website. Employers uploading job vacancies will have the option to nominate if the position would be suited to a former ADF member.

The Government has a responsibility to the men and women who defend our liberties. Raising awareness about the unique skills our veterans can bring to any business and smoothing their transition out of the ADF will help even more veterans continue their contribution to Australia.

17 November 2016

Media enquiries:
Prime Minister’s Office: Kathryn McFarlane 0419 850 201
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale 0428 262 894

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Tehan Media Release - Understanding homelessness in the veteran community

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Dan TehanThe Government will get a better understanding of homelessness in the veteran community through a research project announced today 4th November 2016.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the University of New South Wales and the University of Adelaide had been engaged to conduct research into homelessness in the veteran community.
The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) was commissioned by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to run a competitive tender process for the research. The process included consultation with representatives from key Australian and state government agencies, ex-service organisations and homelessness service providers. The research will be completed by the end of 2017.
“This important research will focus on developing estimates of the number of veterans accessing homeless services, the factors that cause homelessness and the experiences of homeless veterans,” Mr Tehan said.
“The aim is to collect data about homelessness in the veteran community so the Government can better integrate support services available to homeless veterans with those offered by mainstream specialist homelessness service providers.
“The study complements work undertaken since 2015 by DVA and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to include veteran identifiers in the data collected about homelessness in the Australian community.
“Veteran homelessness is a challenge that requires a coordinated national approach to ensure the provision of appropriate assistance to all former members of the Australian Defence Force.
“Where DVA becomes aware of a veteran who has become homeless or is at risk of homelessness, it takes steps to ensure they have access to available services and support.”
Homelessness services provided by state, territory and local governments, as well as many community sector organisations, are listed on DVA’s website

(http://www.dva.gov.au/health-and-wellbeing/home-and-care/homelessness-dva-and-ex-service-organisation-support).

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Editorial Comment. ADSO expects the Study to consider the work commissioned by the ESORT members and the RSL Qld commissioned study and  comprehensive report by Bill O'Chee “A place to call home”, with its 20 recommendations.

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

MINISTER DAN TEHAN LAUNCHES SERVICENOW & SOLDIER ON VETERAN REINTEGRATION PROGRAM

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CANBERRA, Australia – October 17, 2016
Today the Federal Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Defence Personnel, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, officially launched the ServiceNow and Soldier On training program in Canberra. Designed by ServiceNow in partnership with Soldier On, the training program will assist Australian veterans transition into civilian life with the technical skills required to meet a growing industry demand.

ServiceNow Managing Director David Oakley has reaffirmed the company’s commitment to becoming a strong partner with veterans as they transition to civilian life, ensuring they have the right tools to find rewarding work and expanding employment prospects. “We see ourselves as a part of the Defence ecosystem, and with our partners we will work to run a program that delivers rewarding and sustainable employment.”

Soldier On National Transitions Director Melissa Russell is excited about the program’s potential. “This training is very accessible and will help to not only enhance qualifications, but build the confidence of our participants and prepare them for the workforce,” she said. “They will realise their potential and that there is opportunity and support out there for veterans, post separation from the military. What’s more exciting, is that we have several Defence spouses enrolled on the course and we are able to assist them in identifying new employment pathways. Soldier On is so focused on supporting the entire family and it’s fantastic that we can demonstrate this through the ServiceNow training opportunity.”

Supported by Citadel Group, Accenture, and CSC, the ServiceNow program will assist Soldier On in its mission to achieve the best reintegrated generation of serving and ex-serving men and women in Australia’s history through training and placement programs.

The initial pilot program will be rolled out this month, covering all aspects of Desktop Productivity, ITIL Foundation and ServiceNow Administrator’s Certificate to
meet the industry’s mounting technology needs.

Co-Founder and CEO of Soldier On, John Bale says programs like the one ServiceNow is offering to veterans are important. “One of the biggest challenges our veterans’ have is how they transition into civilian employment,” he said. “We are delighted to be partnering with ServiceNow to provide skills for transitioning
veterans that will bring them genuine job opportunities in a growing industry.”

About ServiceNow
ServiceNow is changing the way people work. With a service-orientation toward the activities, tasks and processes that make up day-to-day work life, we help the modern enterprise operate faster and be more scalable than ever before. Customers use our service model to define, structure and automate the flow of
work, removing dependencies on email and spreadsheets to transform the delivery and management of services for the enterprise. ServiceNow enables service management for every department in the enterprise including IT, human resources, facilities, field service and more. We deliver a ‘lights -out, light-speed’
experience through our enterprise cloud – built to manage everything as a service. To find out how, visit www.servicenow.com. ServiceNow and the ServiceNow logo are registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. All other brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
 
About Soldier On
Soldier On’s mission is to achieve the best reintegrated generation of serving and ex-serving men and women in Australia’s history. To achieve this, Soldier On provides a range of services, including free counselling sessions, wellbeing activities and programs, career coaching, employment-ready resources and
job placement opportunities, to our veterans and their families. Our veterans and their families face a range of issues when they leave the Defence Force, from re-shaping a new identity and finding a new career to dealing with the mental impacts from their service, and Soldier On’s services, support, resources and job
placement opportunities have been designed to help veterans and their families work through these issues and build successful futures.

Media Contact: Tara Taubenschlag (ServiceNow and Soldier On)
M: 0404 887 804
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Soldier On masthead

DVA Minister launches veterans’ training program

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Dan Tehan

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Dan Tehan, has called on the private sector to explore new pathways to provide veterans with employment opportunities.
Mr Tehan today (17th October 2016) launched a pilot training program for veterans in Canberra run by technology company ServiceNow and ex-service organisation Soldier On.
Mr Tehan said the collaboration between ServiceNow and Soldier On was an example of how the private sector could utilise the skills of former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.
"The men and women who serve in Australia’s defence force are regarded as the best in the world and when they transition out of the ADF they have skills that are incredibly valuable to any business," Mr Tehan said.
"The Government is committed to finding new ways for those skills to be recognised and the talents of our former ADF personnel to be used to their potential.
"Next month, Malcolm Turnbull will host the first Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Initiative in Sydney which will bring together leaders from the private and public sector to identify new ways to recognise the talents of our ADF personnel.
"I encourage all innovative businesspeople to think about the needs of their organisation and how they could be met by a veteran then I say, ‘go out and make it happen’ like the training program I launch today."

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans talk about lasting impacts of ‘guinea pig’ drug trials in Timor

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News,com.au  Reporter - Rohan Smith 6th October 2016

Chris

Chris Stiles took his own life in August after a years-long battle with mental illness after taking Mefloquine

THEY call it the “suicide pill” for a reason.
Those who take it claim to suffer horrific side effects including hallucinations, depression, anxiety, nightmares and thoughts of ending their own lives.
During the early 2000s it was effectively forced down the throats of Australian Defence Force personnel as a prevention for malaria. The problem was that those administering the treatment — and those taking it — didn’t properly understand the risks. And saying no was not an option.
The drug is Mefloquine, otherwise known as Lariam, and it has been linked to a number of suicides among veterans, one as recent as August.
Those who survived say they were the lucky ones, but luck is subjective. They still live with the demons that arrived shortly after their first dose and never left.
On Thursday, after the ADF absolved itself of responsibility, survivors spoke with news.com.au about their experiences. Their stories paint a picture of lasting pain and frustration.

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Colonel Ray Martin is standing up for soldiers who have suffered because of an anti-malaria drug trial in the early 2000s.

‘TAKING MEFLOQUINE IS LIKE PLAYING RUSSIAN ROULETTE’
After a year-long inquiry into claims soldiers were “guinea pigs” for a drug manufacturer, the Defence Force claimed no responsibility for ongoing ill effects, despite admitting the drug “is associated with neuropsychiatric side-effects that, in rare cases, may become permanent”.
The ADF reviewed trials of the drug between 2000 and 2002 on soldiers serving in East Timor.

The final report was based on interviews with 21 witnesses and findings by internal experts only, critics say. It determined “there were very few severe adverse events”.
But a number of former diggers and their families told news.com.au the opposite. They said they either personally took the drug or had a family member take it. They said friends — soldiers who took the drug — ended their lives because of the dark thoughts circling inside their heads.
The wife of a soldier who was given a “loading dose” — three times the normal amount — before his tour of East Timor said her husband has dreams to this day about locals telling him to kill himself.
One former soldier, who did not wish to be named, called the ADF report a sham and a waste of time.
“The ADF were never going to find themselves guilty of coercion in a human drug trial,” he said.
“I was affected by Mefloquine but didn’t make a submission to the inquiry because I believed it to be a waste of time. I was right.”
A former Colonel, Ray Martin, who is the most senior soldier to speak out against his former employer, said his friend recently suicided after years of unanswered cries for help.
He said giving Mefloquine to soldiers was “a bit like Russian roulette”.
“It’s the luck of the draw. For some people it doesn’t do anything (negative), but if you’re predisposed to mental illness, one pill can damage you and have a lasting effect.”

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Lavina Salter says the ADF essentially called her husband a liar

THOUSANDS OF SOLDIERS TOOK PART
It’s still not clear exactly how many soldiers are suffering from using the drug. Part of the reason for that is the symptoms of Mefloquine toxicity are similar to those of post traumatic stress disorder.
Col. Martin, who now helps dozens of sufferers from his home in Townsville, says there could be as many as 500, but even if there’s 50 that’s too many.
He says around 5000 diggers signed a consent form prior to travelling to Timor and different reports suggest anywhere between 10 and 30 per cent could be experiencing adverse reactions.
“If it’s 10 per cent of 5000 that’s way too many. Drug manufacturers say it’s 1 per cent. Even 1 per cent is 50 people at grave risk.”
One of those people is Chris Salter. He lives every day with anxiety and suicidal thoughts. They started almost immediately after his second trip to Timor in September, 2001, when he signed the form and allowed doctors to put him on Lariam.
His wife, Lavina, told news.com.au her husband has never been the same.
“He had three tablets over five days,” she said. “He suffers really bad memory issues and unfortunately only remembers bits and pieces (of the tours).
“He started getting really bad insomnia, then when he did sleep he dreamt about East Timorese people telling him to kill himself. At the time he was hallucinating and had visions and progressively over the years the anxiety and the psychosis has come along.”
Mr Salter’s case is the first public case the ADF has accepted responsibility for. He was administered the drug despite a history of depression, something doctors acknowledge should never have happened.
Mrs Salter quit her job to care for her husband full time. She calls herself his “security blanket” but there’s only so much she can do.
She said he was devastated when the ADF handed down its findings. He’s not alone.
“You have no idea how many (former soldiers) are so angry about this. For a lot of the guys, it’s shit because they’re made out now to be liars.”
She said they don’t care so much about acknowledgment but they do need help.
“These guys just want to live somewhere close to a normal life.”

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ADF personnel who served in East Timor were placed on a trial of Mefloquine, a drug to treat and prevent malaria. The results are still being felt today.

‘THEY WERE HANDING THEM OUT LIKE LOLLIES’
Colin McIntosh was an Air Force officer in Timor for seven months in 2002. He deployed with another anti-malarial drug, Doxycycline, but upon running out, was handed another pill.
He says he never signed a form and was not part of the Mefloquine trial, but he definitely took one tablet a week for six months. The effects were almost immediate.
“It manifested with binge drinking and I don’t hide that, but I got vertigo, a strange vertigo.
“I would be driving in a straight line and when a corner came up I would grip the wheel in terror trying to turn the corner. I couldn’t walk down the street without being near a wall. I was terrified of walking down stairs.”
It was a huge change for an officer who jumped from helicopters and feared nothing. He said the nightmares started shortly after taking Mefloquine, too.
“I’ve fought every snake, every bear (in my dreams). I’ve thrown myself out of bed to escape. They’re not as dark anymore but they’re still incredibly vivid.”
Mr McIntosh said Mefloquine was “handed out like lollies in East Timor”. He can’t understand why a trial would begin in — of all places — a warzone.
“Timor was the biggest deployment since Vietnam and some idiot thought he would trial a drug there. You don’t trial something in a warzone. You test guns, tanks, whatever, five years before you deploy and somebody thought it would be a smart idea to trial a drug there.”
He said he considers himself one of the lucky ones and that he does believe the brain recovers.
“I will not whinge as several hundred other military members throughout the world have paid the ultimate price for using this drug.”

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Lariam was given to soldiers once a week in Timor as part of a mass trial.

NEUROSCIENTIST LABELS FINDINGS ‘WOEFUL’
Dr Jane Quinn has studied the drug since losing somebody close to her as a result of exposure to Lariam. She now works as a scientific adviser to the Australian Quinoline Veterans and Families Association.
The lecturer from Charles Sturt University told news.com.au the ADF report was “woeful”. She is demanding an external inquiry.
“They took no external expert opinion whatsoever. They interviewed soldiers who were present in Timor and the people who were running the trials. They don’t seem to have interviewed anybody else.
“It’s a ‘he said, she said’ situation. I think that’s a significant problem.”
Dr Quinn is critical of the way the trials were administered. She said a culture within the Defence Force prevented soldiers from questioning the trial, even if they felt uneasy at the time.
“There was a requirement for a large proportion of troops to participate in order for the trial to be valid. There was a very strong encouragement for soldiers to participate. The term ‘strongly encourage’ in the military is really just semantics for a direct order.”
A friend and former colleague of Col. Martin’s — Chris Stiles — took his own life in August after asking for help.
“There’s no doubt people here have taken their own lives because of this,” he said.
“Others have tried, many families have been destroyed, people are in prison, or have threatened violence against others.”
Col. Martin does not blame commanding officers who took the drugs alongside soldiers and whose job it was to encourage personnel to join trials.
“The information they were given was insufficient. The risks were underplayed. I don’t know any commanding officer who would’ve put his troops at risk.”
He says what happens next is hugely important.
“Those who are affected are fighting for support, for diagnosis, for help.
“The DVA is saying that help is being given but that’s not true. The first step should be recognising the problem — saying ‘there is a problem we see the problem, we understand that people need help’. They’re not even doing that.”

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Lisa Alward, the sister of Chris Stiles, holds a photograph of her brother. Chris took his own life after being exposed to Mefloquine in Timor

A Defence spokesman told news.com.au the ADF report was impartial.
“The Inspector-General Australian Defence Force (IGADF) is an independent statutory authority, separate to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) chain of command,” he said.
“The IGADF is an important mechanism through which possible failures in the military justice system can be examined. Previous inquiry reports have, where appropriate, been quite critical of the ADF which is testament to the impartiality of the IGADF.”
The spokesman said the inquiry found “no serious issues with information in consent forms and the “information provided in each trial was consistent with the known side effects of mefloquine as set out in the 1998 consumer medicine information for Lariam™”.
The ADF does accept that Mefloquine is associated with sometimes-permanent neuropsychiatric side-effects but a spokesman said it is “only prescribed by Defence as a third line agent when other anti-malarial medications are unsuitable”.
The Defence spokesman said any death by suicide is “tragic” and “the factors that contribute to someone dying by suicide are often complex”.
“Support is available to those who need it. Anyone who believes they, or someone they know, may be suffering should reach out and seek that support.”
For support and information about suicide prevention, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.


The Defence All-hours Support Line (ASL), a confidential telephone service for ADF members and their families, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 628 036.
Crisis support and confidential counselling is also available by calling the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) on 1800 011 046.

Defence Analysis - Ross Eastgate : RULES FOR SOME BUT NOT OTHERS

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Ross Eastgate

GIVE petty officials a job, key performance criteria and they will zealously prove their worth.
Take parking inspectors for example.
They are generally not the sharpest sandwich in the drawer, but let loose in public they will quickly return with a swag of infringement notices for those who may have even inadvertently contravened one of the multiple restrictions on public parking.
Not to mention the revenue generated by such penalties, or as they are politely referred to in South Australia as “expiation notices”.
That means a fine by the way.
Softens the blow apparently but not the cost nor the revenue.
Such expiations - sorry fines - are usually issued by local governments who rather than providing adequate parking spaces so people can attend to their legitimate business, create a regular income stream which can be easily administered by someone who is a knife short of a picnic.
Local governments set the penalties for their jurisdictions in concert with state governments who pass legislation vaguely worded to indicate how many penalty units apply to offences as trivial as, say, passing wind in a public place.
To increase revenue they then simply have to index penalty units according to whim without having to amend multiple legislation to reflect that increase.
Unlike the way federal governments index military superannuation and disability payments based on whatever is the lowest community determinant.
Australians have too many layers of government and associated public servants to administer petty rules and regulations without any obvious reciprocal benefit.
Never mind any service quality, feel the cost!
Not all of them apparently.
Recently the Gold Coast City Council moved to introduce compulsory drug and alcohol testing for all its employees.
It would be totally reprehensible to have substance addled GCCC employees implementing responsible council decisions.
However the Gold Coast City Council’s innovative substance testing regime will only apply to employees who have to administer its various rules and regulations, but not its mayor and councillors who make them.
It’s a bit like the ADF really.
Documents obtained by NewsLtd under freedom of information, show 420 soldiers recorded positive illicit drugs test readings between 2012 and June 2016
The ADF’s official ‘Recreational Drugs and Illicit and Prohibited drugs’ brochure, no doubt approved by its dysfunctional PR organisation declares a “zero-tolerance policy” on the use of illicit drugs by ADF members.
“This means that any member found to be using illicit drugs will be required to ‘show cause’ why they should be permitted to remain in the ADF,” it says.

Pity the same strict prohibitions didn’t apply to those personnel who were required to take experimental anti-malarial drugs in an operational environment, trials authorised and supervised by a variety of bodies under the purview of the ADF surgeon-general.

LARIAM
Those now claiming to be affected by allegedly flawed mefloquine and tafenoquine trials, many who weren’t subjected to even basic testing to ensure they were suitable to undertake them can legitimately ask why those who administered them shouldn’t be asked to ‘show cause’.

Struggling with mental torture

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Ross EastgateOPINION - ROSS EASTGATE, Townsville Bulletin

September 30, 2016

HERE’S a must attend event for your diaries if you are in Sydney on October 13 — a Thursday as it happens, so it is not ominous.
It’s the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation annual fundraising dinner, whose objective is to “decrease distress, disability and the causes of depression and anxiety in the legal profession”.

The foundation works to highlight issues of mental illness in the legal profession, including among law students, graduates, practising lawyers and judges.

Tristan was a University of New South Wales law graduate, a writer and comedian diagnosed with clinical depression in 1998, who committed suicide by drug overdose on October 28, 2004, aged 26.

Now that we media commentators are actually allowed to report unnecessary, senseless deaths as suicide, it was courageous of Tristan’s colleagues to describe his death as such. But then again they are lawyers and legal descriptions are allowed to be more brutal.
Lawyers are not the only profession to commit suicide.

Among the most at risk groups are doctors, dentists, veterinarians and other professionals who understand the easiest mechanisms to end their lives.

Anaesthetists are a particularly high risk group, though one can only wonder why.

Children of Vietnam veterans also have been identified as high risk, as those of us of that generation can only painfully testify.
Experience now tells us all military combat veterans sit in that identified high risk group, and we all despair as we try to identify causes, triggers and determine how we can prevent that. A close mate who blew his brains out in his lounge chair having been diagnosed with the degenerative Huntington’s disease might be easy to understand, but the 30-year-old high-achieving Vietnam veteran’s anaesthetist daughter is more difficult to comprehend. Here in Townsville we watched but didn’t comprehend how an East Timor veteran pleaded for help before ending his life a few weeks ago.

Speak to any surviving veteran and each has a story of a mate, a sibling or a mate’s partner or child who has suicided.
And we continue to struggle to understand why.

Thank goodness for the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation. However, questions have been raised about its choice of guest speaker, current Australian of the Year and former Chief of Army David Morrison.

In the wake of the alleged Jedi Council scandal, Morrison crucified a senior officer who denied any involvement, and was initially cleared of any involvement before Morrison decided to sacrifice him and his career on the altar of the dysfunctional defence PR organisation. While the affected individual has continued to protest his innocence, most notably in Sydney’sDaily Telegraph, he has also admitted he has been consumed with what the medical specialists describe as “suicidal ideation”.

He had been treated disgracefully by Morrison, and the ADF hierarchy has done nothing obvious to defend him.
He’s probably not alone.

If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 131 114.

DVA's Peer to Peer Support Network Program Pilot

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The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has partnered with two consortiums, located in Sydney and Townsville, to conduct a 12 month pilot program to train ex-serving Australian Defence Force members as volunteer Peer Mentors to help their Peers suffering from a mental health condition.

Evidence shows that individuals experiencing mental health challenges who are well-supported have a sense of control in their health management, can envisage a path to wellness, and are more likely to complete the recovery process.

This recovery path can be aided by complementary support from peers, with whom the ex-service member can identify as having experienced military service and made an effective recovery from similar challenges.

The Townsville-based pilot program is being delivered by Mental Illness Fellowship North Queensland in alliance with Mates 4 Mates and Supported Options in Lifestyle and Access Services (SOLAS). RSL DefenceCare in alliance with St John of God Richmond Hospital is delivering the pilot program in Sydney.

The pilot programs will conclude in 2017 and be independently evaluated.

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About the Peer to Peer Support Network Program?

The Peer to Peer Support Network Program will facilitate recovery of ex-service members with a mental health condition through linking them with a trained volunteer Peer Mentor and supporting that relationship. The volunteer Peer Mentor, from the ex-service community, will have experienced a mental health condition and recovered sufficiently to provide insight and support to a peer.

The program will match ex-serving members as mentors and peers in a 3 month (minimum) 1 on 1 peer mentoring relationship. It is envisaged five to six face to face visits will take place over the three month period.

Peer Mentors will be fully supported throughout the program.

Who is eligible to be a Peer Mentor?

Ex-serving members may volunteer as a Peer Mentor.

The volunteer Peer Mentors will have experienced a mental health condition and be recovered sufficiently to provide insight and support to Peers who are on their own recovery journey.

Confirmation of selection as a Peer Mentor will occur after completion of, and appropriate participation in the three day training course.

How will Peers be matched with Peer Mentors?

The matching process is a key ingredient of a successful Peer to Peer Support Network Program. Matching is not only about having a Peer Mentor with a lived experience of mental illness and relevant military background, it is also about developing mutual trust and respect between the Peer Mentor and the Peer requiring support.

When will Peer Mentor Workshops be held?

Peer Mentor workshops are being held in Sydney from 5 until 7 October and in Townsville from 11 until 13 October.

How to get involved?

If you are interested in taking part as a Peer Mentor or a Peer and would like further information on how to become involved, please contact RSL DefenceCare on (02) 8088 0388 (Sydney) or Mental Illness Fellowship on (07) 4725 3664 (Townsville).

Opinion - A Fatal Lapse in Safety

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Ross Eastgate

ROSS EASTGATE, Townsville Bulletin - 22 September 2016

BUDDHISTS believe karma is the sum of one’s actions in thought, word or deed in successive states, which decide one’s fate in the next. Put another way, bad karma may suddenly return to affect you in totally unexpected ways.

Last week the Defence Dysfunctionettes who run the ADF media and PR organisation scored an unusual orchestrated coup.

The Weekend Australian’s defence editor had been taken to the Middle East Area of Operations to observe RAAF F/A-18 aircraft in action against Daesh, ISIL or whatever it is being called this week.

The resulting article was well presented, but nonetheless conveyed the intended corporate message to Australians that the RAAF was observing all the conventions of “civilised” war with overriding safety mechanisms to ensure they would not engage targets which might result in unintended casualties.

Except that night, Australian-time, RAAF aircraft participated in a coalition strike which mistakenly attacked a Syrian army position resulting in multiple casualties – an own goal. Subsequent reporting suggested those safety mechanisms failed.

The Australian Government was backed into the embarrassing position of having to apologise to the Syrian government for these unintended though – according to the Defence Dysfunctionettes’ message – perfectly avoidable deaths.

It’s not as if Iraqi and Syrian skies are unknown to the ADF.

The Australian Flying Corps first deployed to Iraq, or Mesopotamia as it was then known, in March 1915, one month before the Anzacs landed on Gallipoli. RAAF helicopters deployed for UN peacekeeping to the Sinai in the early 1970s, and have been there almost continuously ever since.

For Australians deployed as UN military observers or other peacekeeping roles, the local protagonists are not enemies.

The peacekeepers’ role is to observe and impartially report to the UN Security Council so that greater intellects can attempt to solve the never-ending problems.

There is generally affection throughout the Middle East for Australians based on a century’s military involvement, but that will have been sorely tested by last weekend’s events.

The Defence Dysfunctionettes have other pressing issues – many internal – including the ongoing consequences of the flawed anti-malarial trials which have left sufficient individuals with adverse residual issues to raise serious questions as to their conduct.

Surgeon General Tracey Smart’s assurances to the Townsville Bulletin the same day The Australian’s RAAF story appeared have done nothing to convince those most immediately affected that those trials and their consequences were, have been and are now being treated appropriately.

No amount of attempted intimidation by those entrusted by the Defence Dysfunctionettes with enforcing an opposing view will sway those who have experienced otherwise.

Perhaps they should pause to ponder the advice offered by current Australian of the Year, former Chief of Army David Morrison: “The standard you walk past is the one you accept.”

DVA e-news - September 2016 Issue

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Veterans' Affairs e-News is a regular service provided by the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Training for DVA advocates

Find out about the new Advocacy Training and Development Program. It’s an updated version of the very successful TIP (Training Information Program).

Advocates are volunteers who provide support, advice and help to current or former veterans and their families in completing DVA forms and accessing benefits and services.

Visit the DVA website for more information HERE

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ESO Round Table Summary August 2016 Meeting

DVA’s ESO Round Table (ESORT) is a regular forum where national ex-service organisations meet with DVA and discuss current issues of concern and interest to Australia’s veteran community.

A full summary of the ESORT meeting is available HERE 

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First World War exhibition launched in Townsville

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, launched the Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience travelling exhibition in Townsville on Friday 2 September. READ MORE

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Praise for volunteer veterans

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan praised veterans who volunteer their time to support other veterans with mental health issues as he toured the Peer to Peer Support Network pilot program in Townsville earlier this month. READ MORE

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Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS)

A free and confidential counselling service for Australian veterans, peacekeepers and their families. For more information on VVCS services and eligibility, please visit the VVCS website or phone 1800 011 046.

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Click here for a new subscription to DVA e-news

Tehan Media Release - Streamlined processing reduces red tape for veterans

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Dan TehanMinister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the Government had cut red tape which meant veterans’ claims would be processed faster.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has reduced the requirements for liability for five medical conditions, reducing the time taken to process around 600 claims a year.

There are now 13 medical conditions streamlined for acceptance of liability under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).

If a veteran’s doctor diagnoses one of the 13 conditions, DVA can accept it as service-related which means less paperwork and reduced processing time.

Mr Tehan said DVA was moving to a more client-focused model and examining further streamlining options.

“Our veterans have told me that reducing DVA claims’ processing times and making the claims process easier to complete were important improvements,” Mr Tehan said.
“Streamlining the liability component of claims for these medical conditions, once diagnosed, will reduce the amount of paperwork required by veterans and doctors to link them to military service.
“This change will also mean DVA can focus on ensuring veterans have access to appropriate medical care, rehabilitation and compensation for their service-related health conditions.
“This is part of a broader process to reduce the time taken to process claims and make the claims process easier and more stress free for our veterans.”
A list of medical conditions streamlined under the VEA and MRCA is attached.

 

DIAGNOSED MEDICAL CONDITION

STREAMLINED LIABILITY FOR CLAIMS UNDER VEA

STREAMLINED LIABILITY FOR CLAIMS UNDER MRCA

(RECENTLY ADDED) Chondromalacia patella

NO

YES 

(RECENTLY ADDED) Internal derangement of the knee

NO

YES 

(RECENTLY ADDED) Malignant melanoma of the skin

YES 

YES 

(RECENTLY ADDED) Pterygium

YES 

YES 

(RECENTLY ADDED) Tinea of the skin

YES 

YES 

Achilles tendinopathy and bursitis

NO

YES 

Acquired cataract

YES 

YES 

Non-melanotic malignant neoplasm of the skin

YES 

YES 

Plantar fasciitis

NO

YES 

Sensorineural hearing loss

YES 

YES 

Shin splints

NO

YES 

Solar keratosis

YES 

YES 

Tinnitus

YES 

YES 

 15 September 2016

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Government response to Senate Inquiry Report on Mental Health of ADF members and veterans

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The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, said the Government would increase mental health support for Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and veterans.

Dan Tehan

The Government Response to the Senate Inquiry Report on the mental health of ADF members and veterans was tabled in the Senate today 16th September 2016.


"The Senate Inquiry Report’s recommendations emphasise the importance of accessing help early which is consistent with the Government’s approach to supporting our ADF and veterans," Mr Tehan said.

"The Government is getting on with the job of ensuring ADF members and veterans who face mental health challenges can access the mental health services they require.

"Since July 1 this year the Government has made free mental health treatment available to all current and former permanent members of the ADF for a range of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and alcohol and substance use disorders.

"The Government has committed $6 million to establish a Phoenix Australia institute for world-leading experts and research to improve mental health treatment and reduce the burden of post-traumatic stress among our veterans.

"We have announced an additional $3.1 million to further extend access to the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service.

"There is additional support available now to ADF members, veterans and families, and I encourage anyone who has concerns about their mental health or the mental health of someone they know to ask for help."

Mr Tehan said the Government had also engaged the National Mental Health Commission to analyse the effectiveness of suicide and self-harm prevention services provided by Defence and DVA.

The Government Response to the Senate Inquiry Report can be found HERE   

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Tehan Media Release - Addressing mefloquine concerns

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Addressing mefloquine concernsDan Tehan

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has established a dedicated mefloquine support team for our serving and ex-serving community.
In its response to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Report on Mental Health of Australian Defence Force (ADF) Members and Veterans, the Australian Government committed to additional support for current and former ADF members who have been administered mefloquine.

The Government will:
- establish a formal community consultation mechanism to provide an open dialogue on issues concerning mefloquine between the Defence Links Committee and the serving and ex-serving ADF community;

- develop a more comprehensive online resource that will provide information on anti-malarial medications;

- establish a dedicated DVA mefloquine support team to assist our serving and ex-serving ADF community with mefloquine-related claims, which will provide a specialised point of contact with DVA; and

- direct the inter-departmental DVA-Defence Links Committee to examine the issues raised, consider existing relevant medical evidence and provide advice to the Government by November 2016.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Dan Tehan said the Government was committed to supporting veterans and ADF personnel who were concerned about possible side-effects of taking mefloquine.

"Any former member who was administered mefloquine by the ADF and is concerned about possible side effects, can lodge a claim for a condition that they think was caused by mefloquine. As part of the claims process for the condition, DVA can arrange an appointment with an appropriate medical practitioner and meet the costs of any required medical report," Mr Tehan said.

"Current and former ADF personnel can also access free mental health treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, as well as alcohol and substance use disorders, without having to prove it is service related. From 1 July 2016, eligibility for this treatment has been extended to all past and present fulltime members of the ADF who served one day or more, regardless of when they served, or the nature of their service.


"The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service provides free, confidential, nation-wide counselling and support for eligible current and former ADF members and their families. The VVCS can be contacted 24/7 on 1800 011 046.


"My message to veterans and ADF personnel is if you are worried about how you are coping or feeling, then seek help early. If you know someone and are worried about them, speak up and ask them if they are OK."

The Government has announced it will establish the first of 12 Suicide Prevention Trial Sites in North Queensland — home to a large ADF and veteran community — with a focus on veterans’ mental health.


Additionally, the National Mental Health Commission will review suicide and self-harm prevention services available to veterans and ADF members.

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Opinion - Senate Inquiry will not fix the problems

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OPINION - ROSS EASTGATE, Townsville Bulletin
September 15, 2016

Ross Eastgate

A senate farce is not the answer.

PAUL Keating derisively dismissed the Senate as “unrepresentative swill” but he may well have added “unaccountably irresponsible”.

Rogue senator Jacqui Lambie has successfully moved to establish an independent inquiry and investigation into the performance of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs – especially in relation to crisis (sic) in Australian Veterans’ health and rising suicide rates.

The motion was supported by South Australian Nick Xenophon, the self-appointed senator for everyone and everything and tyro senators Victorian Derryn Hinch and West Australian Rod Culleton.

Human headline Hinch represents the Justice Party and as his maiden speech demonstrated seems to regard the Senate as just another captive radio audience.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’s Culleton may forfeit his place if certain unresolved matters result in a criminal conviction. Lambie is an army military police veteran.

Her battles with DVA are well documented and there is a personal element in her desire to pursue the organisation.

Her chief-of-staff Rob Messenger is a RAAF veteran. He is also a political opportunist, having flirted with a range of options including the Palmer United Party after having been dumped by his Bundaberg-based state electorate when he resigned from the LNP to sit as an independent.

He, like others, understands the publicity opportunities from the inquiry but he will also understand it will be unlikely to achieve anything.

In 2014 Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer directed his then senators to move for an inquiry into Queensland’s Campbell Newman-led LNP government. It was typical Palmer vindictiveness with as much chance of success as his other endeavours.

The Senate’s most experienced clerk, Harry Evans, warned Senate inquiries had no powers to summon either federal or state parliamentarians or government officers to appear before them.

He also advised such inquiries might invite federal or state officers to appear but should do so through the relevant minister. The Newman government simply ignored Palmer’s inquiry and it descended into farce.

It didn’t help the chief inquisitor was then PUP senator Glen Lazarus whose break through or bust football skills did not translate into forensically skilled interrogation.

Given her usual bluster former military policeman Lambie will no doubt prove just as unequal to the task. Nor is the Turnbull Government likely to yield its ministers or public servants, particularly those from DVA to suffer Lambie, Hinch and Culleton’s amateurish scrutiny. The inquiry will simply become a public forum for veterans to air their grievances, real and imagined.

Since it can reach no conclusions nor make sustainable recommendations it will simply dash the hopes of those veterans who have such high expectations for its success.

There is no doubt there are deficiencies in the way this and other governments have and are addressing veterans’ health needs. Every suicide is one too many but a public senatorial stunt will do nothing to prevent even just one more. Veterans’ needs need more than pointless political posturing.

 

Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence & Trade - Inquiry into suicide by veterans and ex-service personnel

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This Senate Inquiry was successfully moved by Senator Jacqui Lambie. Here are the details. You are encouraged to make a submission.

250026 1On 1 September 2016 the Senate referred the following matter to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 March 2017:

Submissions to this inquiry close on 7 October 2016.

In terms of setting expectations, the committee emphasises that it is not in a position to address individual claims of rehabilitation or compensation for veterans and ex-service personnel. The committee's focus is on the broad issues raised in the terms of reference of the inquiry.

Terms of Reference

Inquiry into suicide by veterans and ex-service personnel with particular reference to:

  1. the reasons why Australian veterans are committing suicide at such high rates,
  2. previous reviews of military compensation arrangements and their failings,
  3. the Repatriation Medical Authority’s Statements of Principles, claims administration time limits, claims for detriment caused by defective administration, authorised medical treatment, level of compensation payments, including defence abuse, as contained in all military compensation arrangements,
  4. to investigate the progress of reforms within DVA,
  5. the administration of claims by DVA and the legislative or other constraints on effective rehabilitation and compensation for veterans, and
  6. any other related matters.

Submissions. 

How to make a submission
The committee invites individuals and organisations to send in their opinions and proposals in writing (submissions)

Preparing a submission to an inquiry

You can view all submissions here

Committee home page

Committee  Members:

Chair - Senator Alex Gallacher ALP SA

Deputy Chair - Senator Chris Back LPA WA

Senators - Sam Dastyari ALP NSW

               - David Fawcett LPA SA

               - Scott Ludlham AG WA

               - Claire Moore ALP QLD

The committee recognises that this inquiry will deal with matters which could be distressing for some persons. Persons interested in the inquiry who are seeking support or information about suicide prevention are able to contact a number of organisations including:

Lifeline on 13 11 14;
the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service on 1800 011 046; and
MensLine on 1300 78 99 78.
Committee Secretariat contact:

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
Department of the Senate
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3535
Fax: +61 2 6277 5818
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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