SBS INSIGHT – Are our soldiers equipped for the transition to everyday life?

SBS Insight
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – 20:30

Are our soldiers equipped for the transition to everyday life?

insight coming home plasma 1280x720

This week, Insight speaks with veterans to see how prepared they were for civilian life and what can be done to make it easier.



  1. John Holst (ex army 1973-77) says

    Too many returned serviceman and woman are slipping through the cracks, they miss out on help. We see the physical damage, not the psychological damage. Sometimes these signs don’t manifest themselves until later. How many returned diggers don’t know themselves the condition they are in, as a result they are left without the help they deserve.

  2. When the Wallabies aren’t doing well we look at sacking the coach. Why not this approach in the ADF? The manner in which the ADF can unfairly sack its soldier’s clearly cultivates unwellness in those who no longer serve. And, all Australians are entitled to an unfair dismissal, except soldier’s – why?

  3. M.J. Rollins says

    With respect to (i) Transition, (ii) post-discharge health and DVA related (Enormous) issues, we need the entire transition and post service system fixed.

    These ‘issues’ have very little to do with deployments – we need these issues (Deliberate-Systemic-Discrimination) fixed to cater for the 17 year old kid who in week one of basic training may be injured and kicked out on Med grounds…. you do that, and you automatically fix every down-stream ‘issue’ e.g. returned veteran’ issue.

    We need to have The Rule of Law re-applied, we need to remove Major-Generals, lawyers and senior public servants from their current roles in DVA, for it is those people who evolve and manage the current systems and operate as if they are at war with all ADF veterans.

    While the so-called ‘current systems’ appear to be modern and employ slick marketing and spin, the sad truth is, we have ‘systems’ still underpinned by inculcated, cushioned and intransigent senior able bodied officers (i.e. retired ADF 2 star rank) who in modern attire and speak, still operate as if they are English Lords of The Manor and we are their serfs.

    Like all cause-and-affect analysis or, scientific inquiry attempting to find the root cause of a pandemic, we collectively keep missing the fact, that 2 Stars, lawyers and APS insurance executives e.g. DVA’s MRCC, is the vector for all downstream system disease and cancer.

    To put all of the above in even simpler language, we need to cut off the snake’s head —- and that ‘snake’ is the DVA’s MRCC!!

  4. I totally agree with everything said tonight this show could have gone a lot longer and feel like it only touched the service. If you don’t photo copy your medical documentation you can not access it after you get out. Vet affares make it so hard to clame and for you to go back if your condition changes

  5. R. Marshall says

    Why aren’t DVA attempting to employ veterans? This could kill two birds with one stone. Veterans struggle to get work and DVA needs to have people with insight into what veterans are experiencing.
    Having dealt with DVA both on my own and now through an advocate I can feel the pain and frustration. Looking through my medical documents to find relevant information to submit claims bring me to tears. It’s tempting to give up rather than try and chase benefits that will likely be denied anyway.

  6. I worked for the old ‘Repat’ in the early 1970s. Many staff then were veterans …. wounded, amputees, ex POWs from places liie Changi, the lot. There was a strong culture of ‘looking after our mates’. Repat then ran general hospitals in all states and had a medical admin arm. I was a statistics guru and provided services across the portfolio: budget estimates, working with medicos on analysis of treatment regimes, forecasts of hospital bed demand. I was a young guy and not a veteran but had an air force reserve commission, and I got on well with these old warriors.

    At this time many ex WW2 & Korean War vets were still serving and I rubbed shoulders with them daily when on duty. I had a sense of connection with the veterans.

    After a notorious book, ‘Be in it Mate’ was published there was a Royal Commission (Mr Justice Toose), to which I testified about cost estimates and projections. …

    During this period I recall an order coming down from on high that from now on, veterans were not to be taken at their word. They had to prove to an exacting standard their claims.

    This I think must have been the beginning of the ‘DDD’ culture noted by Senator Lambie.

    Repat had a close, caring, family atmosphere then but over the years I understand that the proportion of veterans diminished, and the culture changed towards the ‘standard cool,aloof, disinteresed, inward looking Aust Public Service culture I observed for the rest of my PS career (leaving after 20 years, in 1989 after working in several other departments).

    I understand to a degree what these former soldiers have gone through.

    The military draws out and fosters leadership skill, self reliance and teamwork from its personnel. As a 20 yr old pilot officer, during a few months full time duty during my university ling vacation, I was admin officer of a recruit training squadron. I planned and ran the training program, scheduling lectures by senior officers, as well as outdoor training.

    When I joined the Aust Pub Svce in CBR as a new graduate,I was shunted in my first position into a dull boring job well beneath my skills. The APS had little clue of what I could have offered. This accords with the experience of some of the chaps who could only get menial jobs despite having high level organisational and management experience.

    The great WW2 generation faced no discrimination afeter discharge. There were many and employers with military experience plus govt policies favouring veterans. These people built Australia during the post war years.

    Long way to a question … but are veterans now employed by Veterans’ Affairs,helping out their mates? Or is the Dept staffed by the usual bored APS time watchers?

  7. In the words of Pauline Hanson “Please explain”
    Whilst serving an the RAR in Vietnam, I was considered responsible enough to care for the lives fellow soldiers and $1,ooo’s of dollars worth of equipment, yet after being discharged my civilian position actually gave me the keys to the stationery cupboard.

Speak Your Mind