The Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicide

This memo is to make you aware of the Terms of Reference consultation process for the Royal Commission and to discount any media and social media reporting where veterans and families may not feel confident in making submissions.

The Royal Australian Regiment Association through its twelve Battalion Associations and the seven serving Battalions is urging veterans and families to make submissions direct to the Royal Commission to ensure that all veterans and families voices are heard.

The RARA will be making its own submissions. But we encourage anyone who has been affected, or a mate or a family member that has been affected, to make a submission to the Royal Commission here

Submissions will close of on the 21st May 2021 so we will all need to get cracking if we want to contribute.

Some key points that may assure you of the process: –

  • The Royal Commission is independent from DVA and the ADF.
  • While DVA, through the responsible Minister, is collecting feedback for the terms of reference, this will all be provided to the Attorney Generals (AG) Department, which then drafts the final Terms of Reference.
  • DVA does not “filter” or “block” submissions received. DVA is purely the administrator for submissions received which must be passed on to the AG.
  • Please do not send personal stories or experiences to the consultation at this time.

Purely as a guide but not necessarily complete at this time, as we the RARA consult further, the areas we are suggesting that need pursuing as a part of the TOR are:

  • The transition processes from signing on to separation and reestablishment into civilian society;
  • The current psychological enlistment standards and recruitment KPI’s;
  • The use of Mefloquine and other related drugs, its administration and impact;
  • The ADF management of wounded injured or ill members pre and post separation;
  • The ADF internal complaint process and chain of command management;
  • The failings and competency of the Military Legal Services Branch;
  • The counselling and support for members separating with less than 12 months service;
  • The DVA’s excessive use of contract labour (46%);
  • The competency of DVA’s claims processes re delays and disruptions, and
  • The ADF Leadership.

There will be more by the end date but purely to give you and idea as to some of the areas where we have had considerable experience and where we have identified major concerns and problems.

In conclusion, we encourage you all to participate if you feel that you have an issue that should be raised. This is going to be our only chance for many years to “make a difference” in particular for our younger veterans.

My personal view is that we must give this our best shot collectively to assist where we can to prevent suicide by our veterans. Please support this where you can and follow the rules in making submissions as advised on the website here.

Duty First

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The New Online Transport Claim Format

The Department wishes to alert ESORT members to an issue that we have recently become aware of, which you may also be receiving feedback from veterans about.

As you will be aware, as part of Veteran Centric Reform, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is working to provide a single online portal to provide services for veterans and their families.  This necessitates the transition of several MyAccount features to MyService.

The MyService transport bookings and reimbursement functions were released on 5 December 2020.  To allow reasonable transition from MyAccount, the features were not disabled in MyAccount until 27 March 2021.  A key change in the design of MyService allows for receipts to be uploaded against each expense item as a veteran lodges the claim.  While this means an additional step up front, it alleviates the need for DVA having to confirm receipt information meaning that reimbursements can be made sooner.

Shortly after release in late March, DVA was alerted to an unforeseen system limitation which causes an error when veterans are attempting to claim multiple trips concurrently.  This is an unintended outcome from the changes and DVA is working with Services Australia to correct it as soon as possible.  A 10-expense limit has been put in place by DVA on 27 March 2021 to ensure veterans can submit their transport reimbursement claims in MyService without encountering the error.  Please note there is no limit on the number of claims veterans can submit nor has there been any changes to the expenses that can be claimed including a range of transport types, parking, accommodation and where appropriate, tolls and meal allowances.  Based on online claims data for the first three months of 2021, DVA estimates that around three percent of claims lodged involved more than 10 expenses.

Based on feedback from veterans and their families relating to transport related claims, several changes are expected to be rolled out over coming months including making it easier to add new providers; being able to save a draft claim; bringing back the free-text comments box; re-working the remittance advice; providing an improved view of claims history; and providing more contextual information to support a veteran through the claim process.   Also, a user guide has been added to the MyService page on the DVA website to help veterans through how to complete a travel reimbursement claim.

MyService is designed to work seamlessly across different devices and browsers, something that MyAccount cannot provide. This means that veterans, their families and representatives can access DVA services using their mobile, tablet or computer and have a consistent online experience. MyService is also designed to meet whole of government guidelines for web content accessibility.  Improving online services is a priority for DVA and we will continue to listen to feedback from the veteran community to ensure glitches such as this are corrected as quickly as possible.

If you identify anything else we can do while the issue is being addressed, we welcome your feedback.


ESORT Secretariat

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Army News Edition Issue 1487, 29 April 2021

In this edition of Army News


  • HERE TO HELP: Army assists with clean-up in WA after Tropical Cyclone Seroja – Page 4

  • ANZAC DAY: Soldiers and officers head home for the special occasion – Pages 8-9
  • FUTURE READY: Chief of Army Symposium special lift-out – Pages 11-18


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Photo of the Week


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Latest RARA SA Infantryman

Hot off the press, Infantryman for April 2021 Infantryman April 2021

December 2020, Infantryman December 20.11.2020

August 2020 here Infantryman 12.8.2020

April 2020 Infantryman April 2020

and, December 2019  Infantryman December 14.12.2019

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TPI and DFRDB Inquiry

See the latest update here

TPI and DFRDB Senate Inquiries

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Latest media releases from Minister Chester – Supporting the Wellbeing of Veterans and Their Families

Chester release – Supporting the wellbeing of veterans and their families

Chester release – Veteran Central opens for business

Media Release The Hon Darren Chester MP

Chester release – Better transition outcomes for veterans

Chester release – Appointment of interim National Commissioner welcomed

Chester release – Practical steps to support veteran mental health

Chester release – Free Suicide Prevention Training for the Veteran Community

Chester release – Veterans’ views sought to shape future engagement

Chester release – 70 years since the start of the Korean War

Chester release – Census night 2021 will count our veterans

Chester release – Health and Stimulus packages support veteran community

Minister Chester media release – Veterans to be counted on 2021 Census

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National Servicemen in Combat

An interesting read    National-Servicemen-in-Combat

Courtesy Dave Wilkins OAM and 5RAR Website

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DFRDB Matters


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Back Issues of the Infantryman

This is the current issue of the Infantryman

Infantryman August 2019

Below for April 2019

Infantryman April 2019

Below for December 2018

Infantryman December 2018 FINAL

Below for August 2018

Infantryman August

Below for March 2018

Infantryman final 2 March 2018

Below is December 2017

Infantryman December 2017 Dec 4

Below is the August 2017 issue

Infantryman August 2017

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Film posted by John Neervoort

I have posted a number of videos on Youtube of film that I took on 6RAR’s second tour in 1969-70. Each video is about 5 minutes long.  There is no commentary, just appropriate sounds of aircraft/guns/armour and background music. I originally did these for the National Vietnam Veterans Museum so they could be used on a free standing TV operated by the viewer alongside the museum item on display (eg, film of guns firing next to a 105mm howitzer).

One special film is when I went on a flight with Jade 8 (between operations) and witnessed an airstrike by Canberra bombers from the air. Years later after contacting Chris in Texas, he said he had taped the cockpit conversations between the Forward Air Controller (himself) and a flight of Canberra bombers on a similar airstrike. I have included that to add to the authenticity. I believe the film of the bombs dropping from the Canberra is unique in that can only be done from the perspective of a Forward Air Controller.

Vietnam War Aussie Armour

Vietnam War Aussie Artillery

Vietnam War Aussie Airstrike

Vietnam War Aussie Infantry

Vietnam War Aussie Hueys

Vietnam War Aussie Navy

Vietnam War Aussie R&C Vung Tau

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Regimental Dinner 2018

Yet again, a highly enjoyable and successful Dinner with fabulous food, great friends and wonderful comradeship.

A selection of photos below


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Latest Photos from the RARA SA

Greek Night – 4 May 18.

A highly successful evening with more than 65 guests enjoying a feast provided by Tim, Tas, Con & Sia.


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RARA SA Wine Tasting 25 March 2018

What a great afternoon of eating drinking and generally making merry with wonderful friends along with our two very learned wine experts in William Smidmore and Mike von Berg.  Of course without the wonderful team of workers who made it all happen and come together  and of course the Caterers who did a fabulous job and making life a little easier for the team – if I mention names then sure as eggs somebody will be left out and we cannot let that happen.    

So a great day had by all. Cheers. Mrs. Vice (aka Lynn Graham)

And photos – courtesy of Penelope & Bruce Forster – below, as always, click on photos for better viewing and captions.


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RARA SA Regimental Dinner 19 Aug 2017

Here are a few photos of our highly successful dinner.  As always, by selecting a photo you will be able to view a better photo as well as the caption for it.

And some nostalgic memories of our May 2013 Regimental Dinner


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Two Items Worth Revisiting

Click on the image for improved viewing, 1967 I think.


Join Army

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RCB Update

Please view the latest news on the RCB campaign here RCB Update

There is an extensive history to this campaign under the Advocacy tab (above).

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The Casualty List

The Casualty List has been off line for some time, here it is revived.

Note by clicking on the sub-headings, unit or coy/pl for example, you can then filter your searches.

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Infantryman Editions

Here is the April 2017 edition Infantryman April 2017

You can view the November 2016 edition here Infantryman November final 16.11.2016

the August 2016 edition here Infantryman August

and the April 2016 edition here Infantryman+April+2016

There are numerous excellent articles and a list of activities at HQ for the foreseeable future.

Archived Infantryman are under the Infantryman tab.

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Pocket Book for National Servicemen

Courtesy of the 5RAR website, here is some historical information which may help revive a number of fading memories

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