Thursday, 26 October 2017
Veterans and Their Families
I seek leave today to present a response by representatives of the defence and veterans community to the first ministerial statement on veterans and their families.
I present the response. In the first ministerial statement on veterans and their families, I set out a challenge to the veteran and ex-service organisations to provide a response with a single voice. While this is not a response from all sections or all ex-service organisations, I commend those who have contributed to this response and their engagement with the government on my statement. The government thanks the Defence Force Welfare Association and the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations, including the RSL, for providing me with this response. It is a very good first step in engaging and representing the views of the wider veterans community. The same will be done next year, and I look forward to tabling a response and also outlining the government's position on this response that the ex-service organisations have provided the government.
On indulgence—I haven't had the chance to read the defence community's response to the ministerial challenge; I've only just received it. But I would say in very, very brief comments that I certainly value my engagement with the ex-service community and I think the best outcomes are served if everyone is pulling in the same direction and coordinating their response. Government and opposition can only get the policy and the policy settings right with a vibrant ex-service community that does give free and frank advice. So I certainly look forward to considering the defence community's response to the ministerial challenge and my ongoing engagement with them.