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National E-News – January 2020

From the President

Dear Members,

Welcome to 2020 which I expect to be a defining year in the history of DFWA!

Significant for a number of reasons, namely:

  • My call in the recent Camaraderie for the membership to contribute to the call for Option B – the future of DFWA.
  • The myriad number of issues that we as an organisation are being called upon to contribute our knowledge to and enthusiasm in addressing them on behalf of our membership and all in the veteran community.

Yes, DFWA is in for an exciting year. 

Ex-Service Organisation Round Table

The first ESORT meeting for 2020 is planned for 27 February. The following issues are carry-over items from ESORT meetings of 2019 and are already on the Agenda for this meeting:

  • ADF Firefighter Exposure to Toxic Chemicals.
  • How DVA and ESORT can better focus on supporting vulnerable veterans.
  • BEST grants and the immediate future of advocacy.
  • Time delays with handling of DVA payments.
  • Lemnos Commemorative site update.
  • Partner Service Pension – is this Income and asset tested and taxable.
  • Single Treatment Pathways.
  • Meeting dates, and
  • Mefloquine and neuro cognitive program information sheet.

Please advise any items that you believe warrant being placed on the Agenda for this meeting by 17 February 2020. Download the format for an agenda item here.

DFWA Issues

DFWA specific issues that have been flagged for consideration in 2020 include:

  • DFRDB Ombudsman’s Inquiry Report. Its findings are, in a word, disappointing. To add to this disappointment is the ‘Letter of Apology’ to the DFRDB members. This letter is signed by both the CDF and the Secretary of the Department of Defence. DFWA will respond to this Letter and to the Ombudsman’s Inquiry report.
  • Review of TPI Benefits Report. KPMG was commissioned by DVA to undertake a review as a result of concern raised by the TPI Federation. The TPI Federation has carriage of this matter but DFWA will follow the issue closely.
  • Hearing Aids. There will be a meeting early in 2020 at which the concerns of the ESO community regarding ‘hearing aids’ will be discussed. We need a volunteer to represent DFWA at this meeting please.
  • Productivity Commission Report. We believe that the government’s decisions on the recommendations of this report are to be announced in the 2020 Federal budget.
  • Access to MSBS employer preserved benefits.
  • ADF Firefighter Exposure to Toxic Chemicals.
  • Supporting vulnerable veterans.
  • BEST grants.
  • Immediate future of advocacy.

I would appreciate hearing comments or suggestion on the above or other issues that need to be addressed. Email me at

As I said 2020 is an important year for DFWA. A defining year for our future and in many ways the future of the veteran voice to government.

Take care,

Kel Ryan

Consider Donating

The Defence Force Welfare Association advocates for issues affecting current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, including: health and wellbeing, compensation schemes, superannuation and retirement benefits, and Defence Force remuneration and pay cases

Please consider donating to the Association. Your donations will enable this important policy advocacy on behalf of current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, as well as their families.

Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant

‘The Covenant’ ( has been a focus of DFWA for over 10 years now.  It finally passed into law in late 2019. The Covenant is intended to create an awareness within the Australian community of the unique nature of military service. An explanation of the ‘unique nature of military service follows:

ADF members may be ordered to kill other human beings, either personally, or indirectly by ordering or enabling other ADF members to do so.

ADF members may be ordered to do things that may result in them being killed or severely wounded, or to order or enable other ADF members to do those things.

ADF members may be subject to severe penalties, including imprisonment, for not following those orders.There are also penalties for other infringements such as being late or using insulting language.

ADF members are not employees so do not have the same employment protections as the rest of society. They may not join a union and are unable to negotiate pay and conditions.

The training ADF members undertake is designed to instil an instinctive obedience and to prioritise the team over individual needs. These instincts become ingrained, part of their personality—part of who they are as people.

Military Service is fundamentally unique.  The reciprocal obligation this places on the State is as inescapable as it is enduring.

If DFWA achieved anything in 2019 year it was ‘The Covenant’. It will feature in all papers and submission we make in the future. This to focus the attention of the parliament and bureaucracy on why it is action not words that we seek on behalf of all in the veteran community.