NEW legislation introduced into Federal Parliament will provide better recognition of the unique nature of military service and further acknowledge the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families.
The Government’s Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019 will establish an Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, and as part of a wider recognition package, a card and lapel pin will be provided to veterans.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said it was a project he has been working on with ex-service organisations since becoming the Minister almost 12 months ago.
“The Government has introduced this legislation to provide a formal way for all Australians to show their appreciation to the men and women who secured the freedoms we enjoy today and to their families who have supported them,” Mr Chester said. “I have consulted extensively with the ex-service community on the development of this Bill, including discussions with our 5-Eyes counterparts in the United Kingdom who have put in place similar measures.
“The covenant, card and lapel pin will allow the community — whether they are employers, businesses, community groups, veteran or sporting organisations — the opportunity to recognise the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our nation. “Our government is committed to putting veterans and their families first and this legislation is part of a greater suite of measures we are putting in place.
“This Bill will create a separate Act to provide symbolic recognition for all veterans, and does not change current entitlements.
“Importantly, the Bill before Parliament includes a statement requiring the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to adopt a beneficial approach when interpreting legislation and applying a fair, just and consistent approach to veterans’ claims. It’s part of our ongoing efforts to transform the culture of DVA.”
The Government has received a positive response from businesses which are supportive of the recognition program. The covenant includes an oath, which all Australians will be encouraged to take at community commemorative events, and is underpinned by the new Veteran Card and an Australian Veteran Lapel Pin and a Reservist Lapel Pin.
It is amazing what a dedicated Minister can do in just 12 months. We are still trying to work out what a veteran is!