Thursday, 8 December 2011                                                                                                            VA111


The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today announced the new membership of the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Ex-Service Matters (PMAC), to advise the government on a new wave of younger veterans and their families.

“To ensure we continue to meet the needs of contemporary veterans, and to provide an up-to-date understanding of issues facing the modern fighting force, the Council will be reshaped with several new Members appointed,” Mr Snowdon said.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Colonel Andrew Condon CSC (Ret’d), Mrs Julie Blackburn, Major Matina Jewell (Ret’d), Ms Dannielle Kitchen and Mr Michael Callan.”

Colonel Condon is the CEO of Sydney Legacy and undertook 26 years of service in the ADF including operational service in Iraq and East Timor. He was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 2007 for his role in evacuating Australians from Lebanon during the 2006 civil war.

Mrs Blackburn is the National Convener of Defence Families of Australia. She is a member of the Consultative Forum for the Timor-Leste Family Study and the wife of a Royal Australian Navy serviceman.

Major Jewell, a former UN peacekeeper, is Ambassador of the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans’ Association and was a member of the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary.

Ms Kitchen is the young widow of Corporal Richard Atkinson, of Tasmania, who lost his life in Afghanistan. As an advocate for Defence personnel and their families, her views of the responsiveness of DVA and Defence to the needs of ADF families will be important in shaping future government policy.

Mr Callan was appointed as the Director General, Defence Community Organisation, looking after the welfare of Defence families, in 2007. Prior to that, he served in the ADF for 20 years as a military officer. Mr Callan is an ex-officio Member of PMAC.

“Each Member offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in contemporary ADF matters and I encourage their full and frank views on Council matters in the coming years,” Mr Snowdon said.

“In addition to the reappointment of Dr Allan Hawke AC as PMAC Chair, five other first Council Members have been reappointed for a further term of two years: Ms Anne Pahl, The Hon Graham Edwards, Commodore Nick Helyer MBE RANR (NSW), Mr Phil Pyke and Mr Kenneth Kipping AM.

“I thank them for their ongoing commitment and look forward to working with them again.”

Mr Snowdon thanked the outgoing Council Members for their invaluable contribution and said they had addressed some important and complex matters during their tenure.

“I thank Brigadier Keith Rossi AM OBE RFD ED (Ret’d), Mrs June Healy OAM, Mr Robert Black AM RFD, Mr Frank Benfield OAM, Brigadier Neil Weekes AM MC (Ret’d), Mr Peter Hind OAM MACTM, Ms Gail MacDonell OAM and Ms Donna Reggett, for their contribution to the Council and wish them all the best in their futureendeavours,” he said.

The Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Ex-Service Matters was established in 2008 to advise the Prime Minister and Government on strategic and complex matters affecting the ex-service and defence communities.

The Council comprises 11 Members. New Members will serve for a period of three years and will attend their first Council meeting on 15‑16 December 2011.

For more information on PMAC and details of existing Members visit

Interviews with new PMAC board members can be arranged through DVA Media.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

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