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Premier’s Message – August 2019

Welcome to the August edition of Veterans E-news.

The recently released Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, ‘A Better Way to Support Veterans’, (https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/veterans/report), contains a number of recommendations that will benefit the veteran community well into the future.

I wish to thank the South Australian Veteran community and the Veterans Advisory Council for raising their concerns about the suggested recommendations. Sufficient time has been allocated to discuss the report at the inaugural Veterans’ Ministerial Council meeting on 23 August 2019.

I have also requested Veterans SA to engage with officials at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs through the Commonwealth, State and Territory Committee forum to address some of the concerns raised, and to seek clarification as needed. I encourage those with concerns to forward them to Veterans SA through its website link at https://veteranssa.sa.gov.au/productivity-commission-review-feedback/ 

As we prepare to commemorate Vietnam Veterans’ Day on August 18, I encourage everyone to spare a thought for the 18 soldiers killed at the Battle of Long Tan that we commemorate on this day, and for the 521 who were killed and the more than 3,000 wounded throughout the Vietnam War. I am advised that the recently released movie ‘Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan’ is worth seeing. While the terminology used may not be entirely accurate and some artistic license has been taken by the movie’s producers, it does provide those who have no experience of war a sense of what Australia’s most fiercely fought battle of the Vietnam War was like.

In a recent article, Karl Quinn described the ‘…Battle of Long Tan as both famous and little known. To military historians it is hugely significant, a demonstration of Australian grit and determination in the face of insurmountable odds. But to the general public it barely registers.’ Please take a moment on Sunday August 18 to remember our Vietnam Veterans.

During my recent holiday catching up with family and friends overseas, I took the opportunity, accompanied by the Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Brandis, and Department of Defence representatives, to visit the Australian War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London.

I found this visit particularly poignant as the memorial lists 23,844 towns; the birth places of Australian servicemen and women who died in the First and Second World Wars. The memorial also lists 47 battles in which Australians were involved in these two conflicts.

It is a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifice made by the more than 100,000 service personnel who have died while fighting for our way of life and is an indication of the esteem with which our fighting men and women are held in far off places. But perhaps the most significant takeaway is the fact that no corner of Australia was untouched by these two calamitous events and the need to ensure we will remember them. I recommend the memorial to anyone traveling through the United Kingdom.

On behalf of all South Australians, thank you for your service.


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