The report to follow is related to my thoughts and I will understand if the Committee members may not be in agreement but I feel it is my duty as President of the Vietnam Veterans at Port Macquarie to voice my opinion.

The SAS soldiers who may lose their citations and awards, as far as I am concerned, is a joke. They were only following orders from those in charge, it would have sounded something like this "Do as you are told or lose all chances of advancement in this man's army". Very familiar even to Vietnam Veterans.

These awards should be stripped all the way down the ladder starting at the top. Again, it is quite apparent that the baggy arses again get shafted.

The problem as I see it, if the Afghan civilians that were killed (their words) get compensation, do our soldiers get compensation for their families also? (All part of the job description).
As you are aware, a lot of the families of servicemen go to multi-cultural schools.

How are they going to handle the abuse and taunts? Like the Vietnam Veterans (called "child killers"). Starts all over again.

I could put more on paper, but it might be best to leave it at that.

We have our Pension and Welfare Team who are working extremely well with an influx of younger veterans and senior veterans making appointments. There could be an influx of younger veterans requiring help owing to the circumstances at the moment. If we can help these younger veterans with their problems, we may be able to prevent suicides.

There are a lot of comments from civilians who have no idea as to the effects of army life or the decisions that flow from the top to the bottom.

The meeting with Mayor Pinson (about our office location) went very well. She was very understanding of the problems arising around the running of our office.

She indicated that she had very little idea of the cost of running the office and no understanding that the staff are all volunteers. She understands that there is no grant assistance from Government Departments for office rental costs.

She has taken this on board and will have discussions with her members regarding our situation. Present also at the meeting was Jodie from Soldier On, Amber from Open Arms who explained their situation and problems that have arisen concerning their organisations.

At the meeting we were assured that if we wish to have another meeting with the Mayor it would not be a problem. Further discussion will be in the New Year but at the moment it sounds promising that she might be able to assist.

An invitation to the Mayor to attend our office on a Thursday in the New Year for a barbecue lunch, which I am pleased to say was accepted.

BILL WAGNER, President

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