Minister’s Message

 

A Message from the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Welcome to the May edition of ENews.

The South Australian National War Memorial resulted from a competition conducted by the South Australian Government in 1926. It was the second competition because all the entries from the first competition were lost in a building fire. The advertisement for the second competition read:

The National War Memorial to be erected by the state government, representing the community generally, is to be for the purpose of  perpetually commemorating the victory achieved in the Great War, 1914-1918, the supreme and personal sacrifice of those who participated in that war, and the national effort involved in such activities.

On Anzac Day this year I was again privileged to attend the Dawn Service at the Memorial and to lay a wreath in honour of all who have served our country in all wars and peacekeeping operations. Sadly, the Great War was not the only war Australians have had to fight. This year was particularly poignant because, for the first time, I attended in my capacity as Premier and as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

As I joined thousands of South Australians to observe a moments silence early on Anzac Day, I reflected on a passage from Les Carlyon’s book, The Great War. Describing a group of Australians resting on the Somme on the Western Front, he wrote:

They were good at war but in a way that offended the keepers of the orthodoxies: lots of dash, not much discipline away from the battlefield. They were good at war but they didn’t want to stay in the army once the fighting ended. They were all volunteers. This was an interlude, not a career. When it was over they would go back to being commercial travelers and science teachers, farmers and bank clerks.

They were just ordinary people who did amazing things.

Anzac Day 2018 continued a very important year in our history that both commemorates the important battles fought by Australian service men and women 100 years ago, and celebrates the end of the Great War. I look forward to sharing these events with you as members of a community that has given more than any other.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Colonel Susan Neuhaus CSC (Ret’d) on her selection to deliver the commemorative address at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial this year. Susan’s selection is fitting recognition for her military service in the Australian Army that included deployments to Cambodia, Bougainville and Afghanistan and represents appropriate acknowledgement of her continued involvement addressing veterans’ health concerns as Chair of the Repat Foundation, a member of the Veterans’ Health Advisory Council and as an ambassador for the Defence Reserves Support Council.

Susan delivered an inspiring address that can be found on the Veterans SA website at http://anzaccentenary.sa.gov.au/2018/04/as-a-mother-i-recall-with-great-clarity-kissing-my-own-two-daughters-good-night-before-i-left-for-afghanistan/. On behalf of all South Australians I congratulate Susan on her selection for this honour.

On Friday 20 April, I was delighted to open the Partnership Hub at The Jamie Larcombe Centre at Glenside alongside Jamie’s Mum, Tricia. The Hub offers the opportunity to facilitate greater coordination across the ex-service organisation community to assist members of the veteran community, their families and carers, to achieve better outcomes in the areas of health and well-being, advocacy, welfare and transition. It also offers the opportunity for better integration, collaboration and innovation in the care and treatment of veterans and their families with mental health conditions. I encourage all ex-service organisations, or those with an interest in coordinating their efforts to improve outcomes for veterans in South Australia, to contact the Hub Coordinator, Mr Justin Brown, to discuss opportunities available at the Hub.

I acknowledge that the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Coral and Balmoral is fast approaching and I am looking forward to attending the commemorative service with His Excellency, the Governor of South Australia, and many Vietnam veterans on Saturday 12 May. Operation TOAN THANG I (Complete Victory) claimed the lives of 26 Australian soldiers with more than 100 wounded. Only one of those killed was over the age of 30. I encourage all who are able, to attend the commemorative service at the Torrens Parade Ground.

I am also looking forward to attending the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemorative Service on Friday 1 June. Since entering politics I have held a deep interest in both Aboriginal and Veterans’ Affairs. This year I will attend this service as the Minister for both portfolios, something I am very proud of and I will continue to work hard to ensure issues facing both communities are addressed and outcomes achieved.

As the government is now settling into its work I expect to be able to update you in the coming months about progress regarding our election commitments including employment opportunities for ex-serving personnel in defence industries, data collection to better inform government decisions regarding the services provided to veterans’ and commemoration projects underway.

Thank you all for your service.

 

Hon Steven Marshall MP

Premier of South Australia