In this non election year, ADSO concentrated its lobbying on improving its relationship with the Government, Opposition and all political parties and independent MPs and Senators, the media and Australian people to keep our issues alive. This was achieved primarily by our Canberra Lobby Team’s regular meetings and briefing with the appropriate Ministers, politicians and media complemented by ADSO’s individual partners’ direct access to the Government/Parliament and its relevant Departments (Defence, Veterans’ Affairs, Social Services and Health) and participation in DVA’s Consultative Committees – Ex-Service Organisations Round Table (ESORT), Prime Minister’s Advisory Council (PMAC) , Younger Veterans – Contemporary Needs Forum) and National Aged & Community Care Forum.
In the main, ADSO performed successfully, particularly by way of its active participation in achieving positive outcomes affecting the ADF’s serving and younger veterans’ communities. In that regard, the many thousands of ADSO Partners’ members in the veterans family and in many cases a direct association with the serving ADF Services (Navy, Army and RAAF) and Units (RAR, RAAC, SAS, etc) and DFWA’s in-service virtual members played a key part in that success. That is because of the feedback many of them provided on the issues that concerned them most. It brought into stark relief that all ADF members and their families do have a voice and, when mobilized, decision-makers in Parliament are left with little option but to listen and take notice.Increasingly they and the media have come to accept ADSO as a major representative voice of the Defence Family.
Despite these successes in 2015, many of our objectives are still works in progress and remain to be resolved. The barriers we face with the Government/Parliament are in the main disagreements either in principle or facts, their financial austerity restrictions and/or higher national priorities.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2016
In this election year we will return to Fair Go Campaigning along similar operational lines we successfully applied in the 2013 Federal election. That means the re-activation of our Action Groups and public awareness promotions in all Federal electorates.
Our ADSO team, now numbering 13 ESO member organisations, is finalising its 2016 campaign strategy and operational plans. A key plank of the strategy is to continue to protect and where possible improve entitlements and to foster the wellbeing of serving and former ADF members and their families. In this we will: seek to be inclusive and work with other national ESOs; remain non-partisan; and provide an independent and unified voice on behalf of our Defence Family.
In broad terms our targeted objectives are outlined. Specific policies and plans for each Objective and relevant Fact and Briefing Sheets are being prepared for release in late January 2016.
Without your support, ADSO would not exist to provide a collective voice that even the most senior of decision makers within Government concedes is not only loud and powerful but is reasoned at the same time. Increasingly they and the media have come to accept that ADSO is a major representative voice of the Defence Family.
Your feedback and willingness to be an advocate for our objectives and, most importantly, to join our Action Groups will be critical in 2016 when we engage with all the sitting MPs and those candidates standing for election. Please encourage others in your family and social networks to support us in any one or all of these ways: keeping in touch, volunteering and/or donating to the Campaign.
Who to Call? Anyone needing help now or at any time of the year should immediately contact a 24-hour telephone counselling hotline (some detailed below), or you can request a welfare check to be conducted for a friend by contacting your local police station.
• Veterans and Veterans Families Counseling Service (VVCS): 1800 011 046 or (International: +61 8 8241 4546)
• Lifeline: 13 11 14
• Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
• ‘MensLine’ Australia: 1300 789 978
• Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
• Emergency Line: 000 or call 112 on a mobile phone
• Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), Naval Association of Australia (NAA), RAAF Association
(RAAFA), Royal Australian Regiment Corporation (RARC), Australian Special Air Service Association
(ASASA), Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA), the Australian Federation of Totally and
Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Service Men and Women, the Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia, Partners
of Veterans Association of Australia, Royal Australian Armoured Corps Corporation (RAAC), the National
Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association Australia (NMBVAA), the Defence Reserves Association (DRS), and
the Australian Gulf War Veterans Association.