In here and out there
By the time you get this edition of dfm, the calendar year will be nearly ended. Some of you will be
meeting with family and friends to celebrate Christmas, New Year, or simply to enjoy each other’s
company. Others will be standing post in some desolate part of the world, away from their loved ones.
As a civilian I struggle to imagine what it would be like to be separated from my loved ones for long
periods of time. The most I’ve ever been away for work is just a month, and my son had not come
along then. Unfortunately the nature of the job, or the mission at hand, means many ADF families
experience long periods apart, and the strain of this is one of the major challenges of Defence life.
The theme of this edition is, therefore, absence from home. In this edition we have ways and means
you and your family can better adjust to these periods apart, and adjust to the process of re-
integration on return. For those of you new to Defence, and yet to experience recurrences of long-
term absence, Maree Sirois has kindly allowed us to republish her article on what it is like for her
family during these times.
I wish you all the best for 2010 and for those of you posting into a new locality I hope it goes well.
Michael Hughes, Editor
The dfm website has moved!
dfm’s online presence is now on the Defence Community Organisation website.
All past editions of dfm are on the site, along with Darren’s articles, online only articles, and a list of
articles since the Summer 2007 edition.
Message of thanks from the Hon Greg Combet AM MP 3
Message from the Chief of the Defence Force 3
Bringing Hope 4
Message from Mick Callan, DGDCO 5
DCO Welcome Days planned for Defence families
in February 2010 7
National Curriculum update 8
The National Curriculum and Defence Families 9
Defence Families of Australia News 12
Northern Beaches Defence Families Playgroup 14
Bandiana Neighbourhood House Servicing the
Albury-Wodonga region 15
Extra! Extra! Register to read all about it 16
Helpful tools for families facing a period of absence from home 17
Life When Your Husband is Deployed for Six Months 18
Absence from home - what does the ADF
Mental Health Strategy offer you? 20
HMAS Darwin crew visit Orphanage in Sihanouk Ville,
The Army Aviation Training Centre and the Community 24
The Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project 25
Family InSight home visiting service 26
Defence families take on Triathlon Pink 26
Meet Kayak Jack - Defence family gives back to community 27
Truckasaurus’s Mercy Dash 28
Australians chalk one up for education in Tarin Kowt 29
ADF Blood and Organ donation 30
Army daubs up against cancer 30
Fundraising coffee morning for disadvantaged
children in East Timor 30
Our Lateral Transfer experience 31
Army Provides Stronger Support for Families 32
Families and the Middle East Area of Operations
(MEAO) Health Study 33
Timor-Leste Family Study 33
Got a Spending Plan? 34
Additional 13,300 ADF Dependants to benefit
from Family Health Trial 35
Helping families navigate the separation maze 36
Do you need to sit down and talk with someone
about how you’re feeling? DCO can help 37
ADF Members Have their Say in the Defence Attitude Survey 38
Special Needs Housing Assistance 40
Special Needs DVD for Defence Families 41
The Special Needs Project 41
DEFGLIS and Fairness and Resolution Joint Seminar 42
New action plan for women to benefit all ADF families 43
‘Lights, camera, action’ for Defence families 44
2010 Group Rent Scheme Adjustment 45
Assistance to members, and their families,
who have been on operational service 46
A Military Support Officer Abroad 47
Book Review - With Healing Hands: the untold story
of Australian civilian surgical teams in Vietnam 48
Straight to the pool room 48
Book Review - Looking Forward, Looking Back:
Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army 49
Book Review - Off to War: Soldiers’ children speak 50
DCO Contact Details 52
Message of thanks from the Hon Greg Combet AM MP, Minister for
Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science
As 2009 draws to a close, we reflect on the great contribution our ADF and its personnel
have made to our community, here and overseas. We recognise the increased operational
tempo and the often dangerous and difficult conditions in which our personnel are serving,
and we thank them for their significant contribution.
We also thank their devoted families and recognise the unique challenges they face. We commit to
assisting them as best we can when they are without their loved ones, especially during the festive
The Government is working very closely with Defence to improve the services we provide to Defence
families. The launch this year of the ADF Family Health Care Trial is one example of this.
The Government also recognises the need to enhance support offered to members who live apart
from their dependants. That is why we are working very closely with Defence to ensure that support is
I am conscious that there is still work to be done in this area but I am encouraged by the progress that
has been made.
I would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable festive season, and all the very best for 2010.
Message from the Chief of the Defence Force
As the Chief of the Defence Force, I want to thank all Defence men and women, and their families, for
their hard work and dedication this year.
2009 has been another very busy year for the ADF and I deeply appreciate the commitment and
enthusiasm of all our people and their families, who provide the love and support that enables our
ADF personnel to perform so well.
Once again, the ADF’s performance both overseas and here at home has been very impressive. I
couldn’t be prouder of our people and the great work they’ve done, and continue to do, on behalf of
While we ask a lot of our ADF personnel, we also ask a lot of their families.
My wife, Liz, and I know the life of a Service family can be complicated and challenging and
particularly so, at this time of year.
Some of you will not have your loved ones at home this Christmas. Our thoughts will be with your
families and all those Defence men and women deployed on operations over the festive season.
We look forward to their safe return and I hope you are able to celebrate together at a later date.
Many of you will also be packing up and moving to a new location. I wish you well as you settle in a
new place and make new friends.
To all ADF families, thank you for your strength, courage and sacrifice.
Liz and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, AC, AFC.
By Chaplain Christine Senini, Royal Australian Navy
Hello, and thank you for your time. HMAS SUCCESS is a week away from our homeport, returning
from EXERCISE NICHI GOU off the coast of Japan. News of the tsunami in Samoa and the
earthquakes in Sumatra is filtering in. I have just returned from the Ship’s Command Brief. We
may be diverted to provide aid to Samoa; it’s ‘early days’ but it’s likely to add from two weeks to two
months to our current back-to-back deployment.
Back in my cabin, I run through my own checklist: Research demographics, cultural traits, and
traditions for Samoa. What will we have to deal with after the tsunami; how will we be affected and
what resources will help? Do I have links to Church or aid organisations of use to the Operation?
What other tri-service assets will be there and need care? Will there be other Chaplains in the
area? What support is available for our families through the Defence Community Organisation or
National Welfare Coordination Centre?
My first priority: Ship’s Company. I take a moment to gather my thoughts and do a quick assessment.
Few like to hear ‘you are not going home’. We were scheduled to arrive at the beginning of school
holidays; this will have an impact. The Ship has a number of activities scheduled on our return: an
interstate ‘Adventure Ride’, sporting events, and many will have their own plans and commitments.
People will be disappointed. I do my rounds, talk with Ship’s Company, see how they are feeling.
There is disappointment, but there is an air of optimism, even excitement. We could bring hope to the
people of Samoa.
I am always impressed by the dedication and the enthusiasm of members of the ADF; and I am
always impressed by the support of their families. I see Mums looking after three or four young
children while Dad is away. I speak with ‘girlfriends’ and ‘boyfriends’ at the beginning of their
relationships, who desperately miss their partners; and I talk with parents whose son or daughter
has joined the ADF, and who want to know their children are safe and happy.
When I speak with ADF families, there are two things that stand out: they are proud of what their
husband, wife, partner, son, or daughter is doing; and they recognise that their loved ones want to get
out there and do what they are trained to do. ADF families understand the importance of being able to
serve, and the importance of bringing hope to others.
Christmas is not far off. The importance of Christmas for me, and for many other Christians, is the
birth of Jesus Christ. It is a story of bringing hope to the world, and that hope can bring an immense
feeling of optimism. It’s been a tough year for the world and whatever your faith, whatever you
believe, I pray that Christmas is also a time of hope and optimism for you. I pray that whether you
are out there serving at ‘the sharp end’; providing critical support, command, or training ‘behind the
lines’; or as a friend or a family member, you are keeping things going at home; that 2010 will bring
you many rich blessings and that together, we can continue to bring hope and optimism to others.
OP SAMOA ASSIST is a tri-service disaster relief operation. The RAAF provided the initial ADF response. HMAS
SUCCESS was re-tasked and returned to Fleet Base East as scheduled, in time for school holidays
Messages to the Troops
Australians are encouraged to send goodwill messages of a general nature to ADF soldiers, sailors, airmen and
women who are on operations around the world. Messages can be sent via fax to (02) 6265 1099.
Or via email to: email@example.com Alternatively postcards (not enveloped
letters or parcels) can be addressed to:
Messages to the Troops
Department of Defence.
Please note: This facility is not intended to accommodate the forwarding of parcels or correspondence intended
for individual ADF members.
Message from Mick Callan Director General Defence Community Organisation
It seems that we are starting the slide down to the end of yet another year. It’s starting to
warm up, the Melbourne Cup has come and gone and I’m sure that everyone’s kids are
counting down the days to Christmas.
It’s at times like Christmas when the unique character of the Defence lifestyle comes into sharp relief
when compared to the general community. A Defence family Christmas can be spent packing boxes
for the next posting. Defence kids finishing the school year may be facing the next school year
in a different city, in a different state. And we know that there are many families who will be facing the
holidays with a family member absent from their home.
Absence from home is an unavoidable fact of Defence life. Whether it comes from a deployment on
one of our many overseas operations, a spell of time at sea, a lengthy period of time on course or on
exercise – in many ways, the reason for the absence doesn’t make much difference. When a
family member is away, the rest of the family has to work out ways to compensate. This issue of dfm
therefore has some resources in it which I hope will prove useful for the many families who are
dealing with the absence of a loved one – such as resources available from DCO offices and
information from the Directorate of Mental Health on both Separation and the process of Coming
Home. Maree Sirois, the wife of a serving Naval officer has also kindly allowed us to reprint her essay
on Absence from Home, which may help those of you who may be new to the Defence family
get an idea of what lies ahead for those times apart.
I know I have said it before but I continue to be amazed and extremely proud of the great strength and
resilience our families continue to show. And unlike other resources, the strength of our community
actually increases the more people share in it. I would like to encourage all families to get involved in
their local community in some way – be it at a neighbourhood centre, a charity group, a kids group or
a sporting club. This issue of dfm has a new section in it titled, Your Efforts, where we celebrate the
wonderful commitment of those who have engaged with their community seeking to make things
better for other people. We can all draw inspiration from the Defence Family members that took on a
triathlon to support the fight against Breast cancer. Just as impressive is Chris Duffy, who by the
time dfm is in homes will be at sea in his effort to row from Launceston to Hobart in order to support
the organisation that has supported his family.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our families a very happy Christmas and a
wonderful New Year. I am looking forward to 2010 with all its opportunities and possibilities and I
hope that you all are as well. Travel safe, be happy and best wishes.
And the WINNERS are ...
In the Winter edition of dfm, we were blessed with a number of books to give-away to readers. Thanks
to all those readers who took the time to enter.
The ABCs of Australian Defence from Yourdefence (www.yourdefence.com.au)
Army – Sarah (Bruce, ACT), Joan (Nowra, NSW), Claire
(Duntroon, ACT), and Nicole (Townsville, QLD)
Navy – Kirsten (Hastings, VIC), JD (Darwin, NT), Andrew
(Normanhurst, NSW), Madeleine (Gungahlin, ACT)
Air Force – Rebecca (Blaxland, NSW), Kylie (Bentleigh
East, VIC), Michelle (Upper Kedron, QLD), Helene
A is for Animals from the Australian War Memorial - Kirsten (Hastings, VIC), Amber (Blackman’s Bay,
TAS), Hayden Kay (Banksia Park, SA)
Aussie Soldier - Prisoners of War by Big Sky Publishing - Caitlin (East Maitland, NSW)
Defence Community Organisation
We know that the Defence lifestyle can bring many and varied challenges, but it also brings
extraordinary opportunities other families may never experience. The Defence Community
Organisation is eager to work with families in building the capacity of the Defence community
to enhance those opportunities and to help families take advantage of the possibilities that come with
being a part of the Defence team.
Digital Student Portfolio
~ Captures children’s achievements over the past year
~ Lets children take this to their next school
~ An updated version is available from REDLOs
~ Any queries contact: DP Builder Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Going Solo - Dealing with Absence in Defence Families DVD The Sapper Pat Series
~ This DVD outlines different strategies and ideas that have been shared by ADF families to assist
during periods of service related absences. This DVD is free and will soon be available through DCO.
The Sapper Pat Series
~ Aimed at young children, the three Sapper Pat books provide an easy-to-understand picture of how
life might look for mum or dad while they are on deployment. The books are free and are available at
your local DCO office.
DCO is keen to help your family achieve self reliance.
For your nearest DCO Office call the Defence Service Centre on 1800 Defence (1800 333 362).
Or you can email any questions to email@example.com
DCO website is http://www.defence.gov.au/dco
DCO Welcome Days in February 2010
By DCO HQ
During the key post-in cycle of January and February, many Defence Community Organisation (DCO)
offices will host welcome day events for Defence families who have recently moved. These events
provide families an opportunity to meet with other families, as well as learn about their new local
community, including support services and local organisations. The events listed below are current as
of late November 2009. Please see the DCO Events website for up-to-date information on events held
by DCO offices in your location, or contact your local DCO Office.
DCO Events: www.defence.gov.au/dco/community_events.htm
Planned events, where information is available, are as follows:
Event Where and When Details
Community groups and organisations will showcase services available
Albury / Wodonga Gymnasium and surrounding grounds, to Defence members and their families. The Army Logistics Training
Welcome Gaza Ridge Barracks, North Bandiana; Centre will also provide a displays representative of school training.
Friday, 12 February 2010; 4pm to 8pm There will be entertainment for the children and a BBQ tea. An RSVP is
not required. Contact: DCO Albury Wodonga on 02 6055 2130 or email
The event will include morning tea and information from community
Amberley Welcome Venue to be advised; Thursday 4 organisations and Defence groups. In addition, you will have the
February 2010, 1000 - 1200 opportunity to meet other new families to the area. Members and their
families are welcome to attend. Please RSVP by 1 February. Contact:
Nadine on 07 5361 1678
The events will include afternoon tea and information from community
Brisbane Welcome Two welcome events held at the DeGIG organisations and Defence groups. Please RSVP by 25 February.
Community Centre on Monday 1 Contact: Pat or Rosie on 07 3354 0500
March, and Friday 5 March; 1530-1700
This fun and entertaining evening is designed to assist partners of ADF
Brisbane Welcome Gaythorne RSL, Wednesday, 10 March; personnel new to Brisbane to learn about personal confidence,
for partners newly 1930-2130 confidence in looking for work, and confidence in linking with both their
arrived in Brisbane civilian and Defence community. RSVP will be required by 25 February
2010 to Pat or Rosie on 3354 0500
Come down to Kambah for a pancake breakfast. In addition to the play
Canberra Welcome Kambah Adventure Playground, equipment at the Adventure Playground, there will be balloon
Kambah Adventure Playground, 0900 - modelling, face painting, patting paddock, and Dance Central will be
1200 on Saturday 27 February performing. A number of local organisations will also be there to show
what Canberra has to offer. Please RSVP by 17 February. Contact:
DCO Canberra on 02 6265 8777 or email
Morning tea will be provided with information available from local
Nowra Welcome - HMAS Albatross - Kookaburra Flats community groups. Please RSVP by 5 February. Contact: DCO Nowra
Albatross - Tuesday 9 February 2010, 1000 – on 02 4421 3855
Morning tea will be provided with information available from local
Nowra Welcome Day HMAS Creswell - Banksia House - community groups. Please RSVP by 5 February. Contact: DCO Nowra
- Creswell Wed 10 February 2010, 1000 – 1200. on 02 4421 3855
Come along to a meet and greet with Defence families, Defence
Singleton Welcome DC Hall Infantry Drive Lone Pine Service Providers and Community Support Agencies in the local area.
Barracks Singleton. Thursday 4 Please RSVP by 29 January. Contact: 02 4034 6973 or email
February 2010, 1000 – 1200 DCO.HunterRIMS@defence.gov.au
Sydney Welcome A morning tea with children’s entertainment, jumping castle, clown and
Randwick Barracks, Avoca St, music. Information available on local community support services and
Randwick. Tuesday 2 February 2010. local reps will be attending. Please RSVP by 27 January. Contact:
1030 - 1230. Family Liaison Officer on 02 9393 3314 or email:
Come along to this event and meet with Defence Service providers and
Tamworth Welcome Family Relationships Centre Tamworth local Community Agencies. Please RSVP by 3 March. Contact: 02
Corner Bridge and Hercules Street 4034 6973 or email DCO.HunterRIMS @defence.gov.au
in Tamworth West. Tuesday 9 March;
1000 – 1200
The event provides Defence families in the Townsville area with an
Townsville Welcome Geckos Family Centre, Lavarack opportunity to obtain information on Defence and community-based
Barracks Townsville, Saturday 20 services available within the Townsville region as well as meet with
February 2010, 1500 - 1800 other Defence families. In addition, there will be military displays, rides
and activities for children, sausage sizzles and more. An RSVP is not
required. Contact: Celeste Rodgers or Jessica Stark on 07 4753 6539
Free entry to the museum, guided tours, afternoon tea and information
Williamtown and Fighter World Museum (next door to stalls from a range of local community and Defence organisations.
Newcastle Welcome RAAF Base Williamtown), Friday 5 To RSVP contact DCO Hunter. Please RSVP 29 January. Contact: 02
February 2010 at 1500. 4034 6973 or email DCO.HunterRIMS@defence.gov.au
National Curriculum update
By the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)
Managing change is a normal part of a child’s development, and moving schools is one of
the common challenges for children in ADF families. This article discusses the role of the
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and how it relates to
the transient nature of Defence life.
Moving can be a very positive experience for children and their families. But changing schools
between states or territories can present challenges including the need to adapt to different curriculum
programs and learning environments.
In 2008, the Government announced a plan to help address these issues. A decision was made to
develop a national curriculum that will help Australian students and Australian schools compete
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is responsible for the
development of a national curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 12 (K-12) in specified learning areas.
ACARA will also develop a national assessment program and data collection and reporting program.
The national curriculum is currently being developed in the learning areas of English, mathematics,
science and history (in the first phase), and geography, languages and the arts (in the second phase).
The national curriculum (in the first phase) will be taught in schools from 2011. Children and young
people from kindergarten to year 12 across the states and territories will be taught lessons based on
the same curriculum from this time. It is important to know that implementation will not be finalised in
2011. It will take a number of years to complete the implementation process. Schools will be able to
adapt the curriculum to suit the particular demographics or special features of their school population
to ensure effective learning outcomes for students.
In developing the national curriculum ACARA is working collaboratively with a wide range of
stakeholders including teachers, principals, government, state and territory education authorities,
professional education associations, business/industry, community groups and the public. There are
four stages in the development of the national curriculum. In the first stage – the ‘curriculum shaping’
stage - a broad outline of what the curriculum will look like for each learning area in each schooling
year from K-12 is being developed. This stage will include widespread expert and public consultation,
and the information collated will guide the next phase – the writing of the curriculum. The writing
teams for developing the curriculum will then be selected from across Australia, and guided by expert
advisory panels in drafting curriculum documents. After wide consultation and refinement to the
curriculum documents, they will then be implemented in schools for teaching and learning. An
evaluation and review stage will follow to determine whether any modification to the national
curriculum is required.
A more detailed description of the national curriculum development process can be found on the
Drafting of the national curriculum for the first phase is underway. It is anticipated that the draft
curriculum documents will be available for widespread public consultation in early 2010 and trialling
across some schools. ACARA encourages involvement and feedback from all stakeholders and the
public during key stages of the curriculum development. To remain up to date with the development of
the national curriculum, please visit the ACARA website.
Editor’s notes: Many schools with high numbers of mobile students have specialised support or non-teaching staff to assist
students and their families. Defence funds Defence School Transition Aides (DSTAs) in some primary schools and Defence
Transition Mentors (DTM) in some secondary schools with large numbers of Defence Force families. Contact your local DCO
office for more information.
The National Curriculum and Defence Families
By the Manager, Education Policy and Special Needs, DCO
The work with ACARA is very good news. A national curriculum will assist and empower
Defence members when relocating to a new school and in negotiating educational choices
for their dependants. It will also reduce the level of anxiety experienced by students
especially in the secondary school years, as they will know that the curriculum is the same
and that they will be able to continue without suffering any disadvantage to any future career
However, we need to be aware that there is still considerable work to do in relation to:
Structural non-alignment between State and Territory education systems
Children will still have to adjust to different education systems.
Inconsistent age of entry into schooling
There are still different ages of entry to schooling.
Differences in the preparatory year curriculum
An example of this is the play based curriculum in Queensland and Western Australia compared with
the formal education in the remainder of the states/territories.
Disconnect in transition points between primary and secondary school
There is an inconsistency between the transition points from primary to secondary school across the
States and Territories which affects students who move either in Year 6 or 7.
High School Discrepancies
Each State and Territory has a set of rules and procedures relating to the awarding of a Year 12
certificate. There are considerable differences in the types of subjects and courses and methods of
assessing and reporting student achievement. A particular challenge for students transferring into
NSW at the start of Year 12 is that the Higher School Certificate course commences in Term 4, Year
DCO will continue to raise these issues with the Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and
Science, with State /Territory education systems, Principal Associations and local principals to
promote the need for change to make the implementation of the National Curriculum more effective
and to make it easier for Defence families. In the meantime, DSTAs and DTMs will continue to assist
students and families.
Celebrate Defence Bubs’N’Pets
Has your Defence family welcomed a new member to the fold recently? If so we want to know, and
we ask you to share a pic of your bundle of joy with the rest of the Defence family. High resolution
images preferred. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’ve a pet that’s as much a part of your Defence family as the two legged sentient kind then we
want pics of them too!
A pet from yester-year
Horrie was adopted by the 2/1st Australian Machine Gun Battalion as their mascot after Jim Moody
found Horrie in the Western Desert during World War II. The unit recently had a memorial plaque
unveiled at the Australian War Memorial.
Defence Families of Australia News
Defence Families of Australia (DFA) is a group formed to represent the views of Defence Families. Its
aim is to improve the quality of life for Defence Families by providing a recognised forum for their
views and by reporting, making recommendations and influencing policy that directly affects them.
You can contact DFA to represent you in an individual situation or to advocate on behalf of many
Message from the National Convenor
This will be my last message to you as Convenor as I will be leaving the position at the end of the year. It
has been a great honour to represent the wonderful families of the ADF over the past three years.
My heartfelt thanks to the National Executive for their support and to all of those in Defence who have
enabled me to represent ADF families. The process to select a new National Convenor is well underway.
Best wishes, Nicole Quinn DFA National Convenor
Farewell to National Delegates
DFA would like to warmly farewell three of our National Delegates. Annaliese McCammon is stepping down
from her position in the Northern Territory as her family will be posting out this Christmas. Nicole Dooley
will be stepping down from her position in South Queensland as her family will be posting overseas. Penny
Davison, North Queensland, will be stepping down at the end of the year due to family commitments.
Lastly we would like to farewell Cath Scott who has stepped down from the Communications Officer role.
Cath has played a central role in the development of our website and the rebranding of DFA. The DFA
executive would like to say thank you for the hard work and the valuable contribution these women have
made to DFA and to improving the lives of Defence families. We wish you all the best.
Members with Dependents – Unaccompanied (MWD-U)
With the issuing of posting orders DFA has received a number of calls around families seeking location
stability. Married with Dependants – Unaccompanied may be an option for your family when looking at your
posting options. Though it is extremely hard to be separated from your serving member partner, this policy
may enable you to address spouse employment or important schooling periods for your children. For more
information please check out the fact sheet on our website.
DFA has been appointed to the Timor-Leste Family Study (TLFS) Consultative Forum to represent ADF
families in the research of the effects of military service on the families of deployed personnel. This study
will examine the physical, mental and social health and wellbeing of families of ADF members who
deployed to Timor-Leste. The National Convenor attended a workshop conducted by the Centre for
Military and Veterans’ Health to start the process of developing the research questions for this important
study. DFA also presented to the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Affairs on the issues
concerning a modern ADF family. The purpose of this presentation was to ensure that the issues and
challenges that we as ADF families face today are accurately represented within the Veteran community
and policy framework.
Next Generation Navy (NGN) – Update from Chief of Navy
DFA recently emailed registered Navy Families a letter from Chief of Navy (CN) Vice Admiral Russ Crane.
This letter outlined the NGN Program and the CN’s commitment to keep families informed on the progress
of the NGN program. CN’s recent update focuses on his plan for changing the culture of the Navy as
outlined in a new booklet, Navy Values: Serving Australia with pride. To download a copy of CN’s Next
Generation Navy update, please visit our website.
Lateral recruit update from Camilla Kerr-Ruston
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has contacted me so far. Your support for this role
has been great and I look forward to meeting more of you. What have I been doing?
Citizenship - I have written a paper that was discussed at the DFA annual conference about the
problems spouses and children, 16 years and over, encounter having to wait four years for citizenship. The
Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, the Hon Greg Combet, is aware of the
inconsistencies and it is hoped that these will be addressed as part of future amendments to the
Immigration Act 2007. If you have had problems due to your citizenship please do contact me.
Questionnaire - A Lateral Families questionnaire will soon be available via the DFA website. The
answers and advice received through this questionnaire will form part of the information available on the
DFA website. Along with visiting various bases to talk to Lateral Transfer Families about their experiences,
the questionnaire information will be used to highlight problem areas.
If you have a group of Lateral Transfer Families at your base and would like to talk to me about your
experiences, please do email me.
Support and Information - I have also met with the Lateral Recruitment Officers for all three
services, DCO, and the ADF Financial Services Consumer Council. They also have been very
supportive of this role and we are working together to look at what and how information is supplied to
Lateral Transfer Families.
How can you be involved in DFA?
Registering on the DFA website is free and not only provides you with access to a range of information
relevant to defence families in your region, but also helps us to represent you by providing a strong voice to
Defence organisations and government. If you have recently relocated please update your details on our
website to ensure you receive the most relevant information.
Positions Vacant – North Queensland and the Northern Territory
We current have positions available for National Delegates in the above regions. If you live in either of
these Regions and wish to apply please see our website for more details. Remember, this is a Ministerial
appointment and a great opportunity to contribute to your life as an ADF Family. There are many ways you
can help DFA and other ADF families. There may be positions available for Senior Representatives in your
area or you may wish to contribute your skills and experience on projects, submissions or ongoing website
development. If you would like to know more about volunteering for DFA please visit our website or email
us. Email: email@example.com
Need DFA’s Help? Call 1800 100 509
National Convenor firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole Quinn Tel: (02) 6266 2768 (Office)
CP2-1-11 Mob: 0410 626 103
Dept. of Defence
Canberra ACT 2600
Communications Mob: 0438 545 133
ACT / Sthn NSW email@example.com
Julie Blackburn Mob: 0434 941 086
CENTRAL NSW firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Dryden Mob: 043 47941 086
WESTERN AUSTRALIA email@example.com
Debbie Yates Mob: 0411 795 028
Kym McKay Mob: 0458 481 528
Northern Territory firstname.lastname@example.org
Vacant Mob: 0438 498 895
South Australia email@example.com
Vacant Mob: 0433 405 774
South Queensland firstname.lastname@example.org
Vacant Mob: 0431 902 675
North Queensland email@example.com
Vacant Mob: 0458 287 691
Lateral Recruit Officer Lateral.firstname.lastname@example.org
Defence Families Playgroup
Northern Beaches Defence Families Playgroup (NBDFP) aims to provide a fun and
stimulating environment for babies and children up to the age of five years. It also provides
an opportunity to get to know other Defence families in the North Sydney area.
NBDFP is run every Thursday from 10am to 12pm. We also run during school holidays when we
welcome school aged children to attend. NBDFP is located about 20mins from North Sydney at 28
Field Battery Depot, South Creek Road, Dee Why.
Our Thursday routine includes inside/outside play, art and craft, story time, singing and morning tea.
We have special arts and craft for special occasions. We hold an Easter egg hunt and if we are good
we even get a visit from Santa at our Christmas party.
We have a babies area which includes playpen, bouncers, swing and lots of toys. There is also a
separate toddler area with slide, toys, books, puzzles and lots more. Lots of fun for everyone!
Every week we need you to bring a hat, for when we have outside play, a healthy snack to share for
morning tea, a drink for your child and $2 a week towards arts and craft.
Your first visit is free so why not come have a cuppa and check us out. We would love to meet you!
Contact: Danielle Armstrong (Coordinator)
Phone: 02 94535509
New Transition Support Services website:
Early planning and preparation will assist in achieving a successful transition from military to civilian life.
The Transition Support Services website can provide you and your family with information on:
• Separation Administration
• Education and Training
• Future Employment Support – CTAS
• Reserve Service
• Medical and Dental
• Compensation and Service Pensions
• Finance and Legal Matters
• Housing and Relocation
• Additional Support and Family Services
The website also has the list of Transition Seminar locations and dates. Partners of ADF members
are encouraged to attend.
Bandiana Neighbourhood House
Servicing the Albury-Wodonga region
By Jane Newman
The Bandiana Neighbourhood House is situated on the North Bandiana Army Base, and provides
activities, friendship and support to Defence and civilian families living in the area.
Moving yourself and your family to a new area is rarely an easy thing to do, and the Bandiana
Neighbourhood House is staffed and run by friendly, sympathetic people who are from the Defence
community and understand the challenges of Defence life. New families are especially encouraged to
access the activities and services offered by the House, which provides opportunities to network and
connect with others within the community.
The House is staffed five days a week so there is usually someone take your enquiries and provide
any information you may need. It is a great place to meet new people, network, learn new skills, relax
with other parents at playgroup, become involved in the community - new committee members always
welcome - and to use our excellent childcare services.
Friday Night Care;
Playgroup (new families are always welcome!);
School Holiday Activities;
Social Groups (eg. Craft ‘n’ Cuppa afternoons);
Information and Support; and
Personal Interest Courses (eg. cake decorating, drawing).
There is always something happening at the House, whether it’s school
term or school holidays. For more information contact the Manager or
check out our website.
Bring your talent to the house!
Do you have a talent or skill to bring to the House? We are always looking for people to run personal
Phone/Fax: 02 60552137
Address: Wattle Rd, Bandiana, Victoria 3694
A Bandi Story
Kaz and her family moved to the Albury-Wodonga area from England in
mid 2006. She was introduced to the house by a friend. Kaz had a talent
for cake decorating, which was soon discovered. After some friendly
encouragement, Kaz ran cake decorating courses for beginners at the
House. Since then, Kaz has gone from strength to strength and is now
running her own successful cake decorating business. What will YOUR
Find out about your local Community
Events & Groups
Groups: www.defence.gov.au/dco/ Community_groups.htm
Register to read all about it
Due to privacy restrictions, Defence Community Houses and other support groups
require ADF members, or their families, to contact the group to be added to a
If you would like to ‘opt in’ to receive your copy of locally produced Defence news, then please contact
the relevant group directly. If you are unsure of what groups operate in your area then contact your
local DCO office.
Many groups will have their contact details on the DCO Community Groups website.
Please see the following link.
DCO Community Groups: www.defence.gov.au/dco/community_groups.htm
Heading to the Top? Get The Top Ender
The Top Ender Defence Magazine, produced every two months, is created by Defence families
for Defence families in the Northern Territory. It has a distribution of over 3,300 to our Defence
families, members, units and wider community in Darwin, Palmerston and surrounding areas
in the Northern Territory. The magazine is filled with interesting Territory facts, great discounts,
competitions for the kids and a guide to what’s happening in Darwin.
The Top Ender is a non-profit publication, partially funded by the Family Support Funding
Program administered by the Defence Community Organisation, with the remainder of the operating
costs covered from the proceeds of fund raising and ad sales. This is where the support of
businesses becomes essential to the operation of the magazine.
The Top Ender calls upon you for editorial contributions and looks forward to your advertising support!
The Top Ender Tri-Services Magazine Inc.
PO Box 35874 Winnellie NT 0821
Phone: 08 8947 2657
Helpful tools for families
facing a period of absence from home
When one parent is preparing for a period of absence from home for work reasons,
be it deployment, exercise, training course, temporary posting or time at sea, there
are some tools available from your local Defence Community Organisation office
that can help your family prepare for the separation.
The new DVD ‘Going Solo - Dealing with Absence in Defence Families’, which we previewed in our last
issue, is now available from DCO. This DVD has been prepared to assist ADF members and their
families during times of the member’s absence from home, by outlining different strategies and ideas
that have been contributed by ADF families to assist during periods of service related absence. It
deals with the different phases of absence – preparation, staying in touch and reuniting – and gives a
lot of great ideas that families can use and adapt to suit their own circumstances. DCO can also help
you with ‘Parenting at Home and Away’, which is a booklet that is designed for parents, providing tips
and tools to enable parents to remain in contact with their kids before, during and after a
period of absence. It discusses how parents can learn to cope with being away from their children and
has useful tips for helping the children to understand the changing family dynamic. And as a special
treat for kids and parents alike, there are now three books available in the ‘Sapper Pat’ series. Sapper
Pat is a special teddy bear who is a member of 3 Combat Engineer Regiment, and the three
books look at different aspects of his life, on deployment, his friend visiting and on holidays. Aimed at
young children, the books provide an easy-to-understand picture of how life might look for mum or
dad while they are on deployment.
Life When Your Husband is
Deployed for Six Months
By Maree Sirois
When I talk to people about just how long my navy husband can be deployed for, sometimes
their response is, ‘Well I guess you knew what you were getting yourself in for when you
married him.’ I tell them that the world is a very different place from when I married him 12
years ago at only 22 years of age and that you cannot possibly know how you will cope as a
mother in those circumstances until you actually experience them.
My husband Mark is originally Canadian and I lived there for six years before he was able to transfer
to the Australian Navy seven years ago. How could I or anyone really ever imagine the events of 9/11
and that my husband would be on the first Canadian ship to deploy to the Persian Gulf just a few
months later when I was 25 weeks pregnant with our first child? He was flown back before the birth
when a replacement was found for him but for me that event stands out as the beginning of a new
stage in my life where I had to build courage and resilience to face more of life on my own.
And this time I think we all did really well, especially when you consider we moved across the country
only a month before Mark left and into our house only five days before. It was all this newness that in
fact helped us. Seven-yearold Joshua came home at the end of the first week of school and happily
announced, “I’ve found a best friend at last!” He did indeed find a lovely friend, who has a lovely
Mum, who has made a lovely friend for me. Only once did Joshua rage at his circumstances and the
injustice of not having Daddy around to play with his new Lego. “There are too many girls in this
house!” he yelled at me with tears streaming down his face. “And I’m not impressed that Daddy
missed my birthday!” Fair enough.
Five-year-old Robyn started school for the first time and wants to go even when she’s sick. She also
started swimming lessons and in the six months that Mark was away went from being afraid of putting
her head in the water to using her arms in freestyle. These significant achievements gave her the
confidence, and provided enough of a distraction, to face the long time without Daddy. Quite often
when he phoned every few weeks and I asked Joshua and Robyn if they wanted to speak to him
they’d reply, “No thanks. Too busy.”
It was the youngest of our family, Marguerite, who was the most eager to talk to Daddy and hear his
voice. (In the frantic days before his departure we didn’t think to install Skype on the computer so that
we could have talked faceto- face when he was in a port. Next time.) Marguerite, who turned three
during the deployment, had never known her Daddy to be away so long and although she couldn’t
comprehend time, was old enough to wonder what it all meant. After about four months she said to
me one day in the car, “Daddy’s not coming back.” I assured her that he was. “Naaaahh,” she said
and then laughed and talked about something else.
She did often want to talk about Daddy, seeking reassurance about his place in the family. A few
weeks after Mark left my parents came to visit and as Marguerite helped my Mum pull weeds out of
the garden she said, “Grandma? Do you love my Daddy? I love my Daddy.” When my Mum said that
she did, Marguerite continued, “Does Grandad love my Daddy?” My Mum assured her that Grandad
loved her Daddy and the pattern repeated itself for several more family members before she changed
the topic. My most memorable conversation with her was in the emergency department of our local
hospital where I took her one public holiday. As she lay in the bed, she looked at me through sleepy
eyes and said, “I miss Daddy. Your hugs aren’t big enough.” She had summed up his absence
perfectly and all I could do was agree.
There were of course many times when I could have done with a hug myself because of Marguerite
actually. During the last six months we found out that she has several medical problems and, visits to
the GP aside, I took her to five appointments with specialists during the deployment. I cried during
one of them and the poor old Doctor didn’t know where to look!
Thank goodness for my parents whom I called every day and at almost any time (except when they’re
playing golf!) to get the emotional support I needed. Not only does the distance work against Mark
and I communicating but, in addition, he has a very responsible job onboard and there is only so
much a person can give of themselves.
Soon after Mark left, feeling anxious about my circumstances, I was pressuring Mark to talk about an
issue until finally he cracked and said, “Stop Maree. I can’t talk about this. I CAN NOT do it.” It was
the reminder that I needed of how careful I have to be in prioritising what I tell him. That’s not to say I
didn’t let Mark know when Marguerite was sick for example, but I was mindful of the tone of my
e-mails, keeping them positive to show that I was in control.
The last time Mark sailed to the Persian Gulf his ship rescued several American naval personnel who
were injured, some fatally, when terrorists detonated bombs near the oil platforms the coalition forces
were tasked to protect. I tried not to think about such events during this deployment and I’m thankful
I’ve never travelled to the Middle East so that I have no visual images to reflect upon. When I get e-
mails from Mark telling me inconsequential things like what he had for dinner, I know to not even ask
what else he’s doing.
Mark is able to compartmentalise his life brilliantly so that when he comes home our house is not run
like a ship and I am never spoken to like I’m a member of the crew that works for him. Mark
immediately jumps in to help with the running of the house; changing nappies and emptying the
dishwasher. (I know; he is a keeper!) Multitasking is still a challenge though. One evening when
Marguerite was a baby, Mark was cooking dinner and I asked him to heat up her bottle while I
changed her nappy. It was too much for him and I remember laughing and asking him how it is that he
can control a naval ship during a war but can’t do more than one thing at a time at home. “Because
no-one’s going to die!” was his immediate response.
Mark brings laughter to our house and that’s what I miss the most when he’s gone. Several days after
he returned he played his favourite eighties music on the computer and as all five of us where cutting
loose and walking like an Egyptian with carefree abandon I realised that I actually felt relaxed
and wasn’t really thinking about anything, which for me is, well, unusual.
When I’m on my own my mind is constantly thinking about everything I have to do and the most
efficient way to do it, which does take its toll. Most deployments I am very industrious, eager that
Mark’s time away not be some black hole in my life, and then I’m so relieved to have him back I run
the house from the couch for a few days. At the three-month point of this deployment however, I kind
of hit a mental wall. From that point on I could only read simple books, watch romantic movies with
happy endings and planned my evenings around certain TV programs. At first I was annoyed and
shocked at my inability to do what I wanted to but then decided to just embrace the activities
(however brainless they might be) that were rejuvenating me enough to continue.
I wasn’t always this easy-going about the impact Mark’s absences have had on me since having the
children. One night, even the smallest complaint came tumbling out. “You get to go for a run
whenever you want to whereas I have to make sure three kids are happy before I go on a treadmill
inside our house!” Mark (who fully supported the purchase of said treadmill when our first two children
became too heavy for me to push in the double pram) listens compassionately during these outbursts,
reminding me of the three well-mannered, kind-natured and creative children that we have, which he
acknowledges is largely of my doing. There have been times when the kids have seen Mark as the
fun one and I’m the one who restores law and order, which isn’t fair to me. Mark has had to respect
the routines and expectations of behaviour I’ve established and find the energy to enforce them
because I sure have to regardless of how I feel.
A few years ago I read a biography about General Peter Cosgrove in which his wife described herself
as a dinosaur because she was part of a dying breed of women prepared to devote themselves to
their husband’s career. I’ve given this concept a lot of thought, particularly as I feel society has such
high expectations for mothers to achieve beyond their families. Where I’m currently living I have met
whose partners are away for weeks at a time on oil rigs or at mine-sites so Mark’s career choice has
barely raised an eyebrow. I’m pleased to have met these women who are not questioning their life
choices or their value to society because they’re too busy enjoying their lives as they are.
We are assessing our life all the time and for all the challenges that Mark’s work brings to us there are
also benefits; having a secure job and roof over our heads in these economic times, for example, are
certainly things to be grateful for. Before moving here I did some very fulfilling volunteer work that I
was able to pull back from when I needed to. I fall on my feet wherever we live and have experienced
more of life than I could ever have imagined. For now it works that I am indeed a dinosaur. Not a
small one that gets eaten though. Maybe one of those smart ones in Jurassic Park.
This article was originally posted on the Mamamia website.
Permission to reprint has been given by Maree and
Mamamia Website: www.mamamia.com.au/
Absence from home - what does the ADF Mental Health
Strategy offer you?
By Rob Sutherland, Directorate of Mental Health
Absence from home is a reality of service life. For some members and their families
this is a positiveand exciting time, for others this isn’t necessarily or always so.
ADF research indicates that on some operations, separation from family and friends is the greatest
psychological stressor, reported by about 53% of members.
We also know that it’s not just separation due to operational deployments that can be difficult;
courses, exercises and training activities can be just as difficult for members and families.
Defence provides considerable support to members and families to help deal with separations
including: support available through units, such as Unit Welfare Officers; and specialist support from
chaplains, psychologists, the medical system and the Defence Community Organisation (DCO).
Every ADF family has access to support and you should ensure that you know how to access it before
the member deploys – before you need it.
Probably the two most useful numbers for families while members are away are:
The National Welfare Coordination C entre 1800 801 026 (from overseas 61 2 9359 4842)
– they can contact any of the other support agencies required including chaplains and
DCO at any time, and
The All Hours Mental Health Support Line 1800 628 036 (from overseas 61 3 9282 7699) –
there is always a mental health professional to talk to at any time of the day and night.
The support of family and friends is often most useful and comforting while members are away from
home. Sometimes our usual friends and our families won’t seem to understand what we are going
through, but it’s important to not become isolated – perhaps unit gatherings, where you can talk with
others who do understand and who are sharing the experience, can help. DCO or your Unit Welfare
Officer should be able to help you get in touch with others.
Remember we can only help when we know what the problem is, so while your ADF family member is
away please keep in touch.
A range of helpful ADF Mental Health Strategy Brochures, which include dealing with separation and
coming home issues, are readily available from the Mental Health website or from the National
Welfare Coordination Centre (NWCC). www.defence.gov.au/health/DMH/i-dmh_factsheets.htm
The Separation Factsheet
When ADF members leave home on deployment the period of separation can be particularly stressful
for their loved ones. It is helpful to realise that the thoughts and feelings each person
in the family may experience are often normal responses to the stresses associated with separation.
Thoughts and feelings during deployment
Common thoughts and feelings can be associated with different stages of separation. The stages of
separation are pre-separation, separation, and homecoming.
Thoughts such as: Are they really going to leave me with all this? They won’t talk properly to me
about the separation. How am I going to cope? Their job must be more important than mine! Where
are they going exactly? Will they be safe? Feelings such as: restlessness, irritability, anger,
resentment, hurt, fear, and depression.
Thoughts such as: If I love them why am I relieved they have gone? I just don’t feel like mixing
socially just yet. What am I going to do with this hole in my life? Feelings such as: numbness,
aimlessness, anger, indecisiveness, overwhelmed, withdrawn, feelings of independence.
Thoughts such as: Why should I give that up just because they have returned? They don’t understand
the difficulties I’ve had. They think life here was exactly the same while they were away. They have
changed a lot. Feelings such as: excitement, happy but distant, resentful and wary at the same time.
Suggestions for coping with the separation
People can do more than they realise to help themselves.
People have found the following suggestions helpful:
Pre-Separation: Cry. This can be a way of releasing pent up emotions such as worry, upset and
uncertainty. Talk matters through. Disputes are sometimes a means of preparing for separation,
allowing emotional distancing. Try to resolve any problems or family conflicts before departure.
Discuss possible short and long term effects of separation on the family. Understanding and
reassurance can affirm trust and help resolve worries. Develop a support network
Separation: Share your concerns with others and don’t bottle things up. Try to solve those problems
you can deal with as this may boost your confidence. Enjoy yourself when possible (you have every
right to do so). Help and support others when you can. Helping others can help you by making you
aware that you are not alone. Allow yourself to be upset at times, but don’t allow the separation to
dominate your life. Ask for help; it may surprise you that more often than not people like to lend
Homecoming: Be aware of your expectations. They might not be realistic. Accept that everybody in the
family will have personally changed. Be careful and avoid making insensitive statements. Renegotiate
relationships and roles. Be patient with each other and be prepared to accept change. Accept that
family reintegration is a process of adjustment and will take time and effort. Be alert for delayed stress
Children may experience a sense of insecurity during a parent’s long absence. Their world ‘usually’
comprises a mother, a father and a home, which creates a strong basis for security. Remove one, and
the children have lost a part of their security. The effect of this can show up in many ways, often in
varying degrees of unacceptable behaviour.
Suggestions for dealing with children
During the separation children need added support and attention. Perhaps the most important step to
minimise adverse effects on children is to keep the absent parent a part of the family’s emotional life.
• Give each child some undivided attention, though admittedly this can be difficult for only one parent.
• Keep roughly the same rules for the children during Dad’s/Mum’s absence.
• Photographs of the absent parent can be kept beside children’s beds and used as part of the going-
to-bed routine, for example ‘say goodnight to Daddy/Mummy’.
• The absent parent should write separate letters to each child.
• Try to have letters arrive for young children as soon as possible after separation—perhaps by
posting such letters a day or two before departure.
What should I do?
If you or someone you know feels they need support during any phase of a deployment please do not
hesitate to contact the Duty Officer/Officer of the Day, a social worker, a chaplain, or a psychologist.
Coming Home Factsheet
‘Being away’ often means that changes have occurred, both in the person coming home and in those
who have remained at home. In this age of modern technology, communication back home may have
been taking place during separation.
Sometimes, however, this communication can be frustrating for all concerned because problems may
be shared, but neither person can effectively help in the other location. Therefore, it is important to
realise that although you may have been e-mailing, SMS texting or actually phoning each other, the
type and quality of the communication is quite different to seeing each other ‘face to face’.
Furthermore, although coming home is exciting, and obviously something you and your loved ones
and friends look forward to, it can also be stressful and will usually involve a period of readjustment.
This period of readjustment doesn’t have to be viewed as a ‘roadblock’ or ‘stumbling block’; it can
actually be used to build stronger relationships.
Expectations and Tips
Some things may have changed at home such as: roles could have changed, children grown, and
partners become independent in new or different ways. You also may have changed in your outlook,
your beliefs and your priorities. You may be looking forward to the ‘perfect reunion’, but remember
that perfection (just like beauty) is in the eye of the beholder and your partner may have different
hopes or expectations.
Two tips to remember are: ‘TAKE IT SLOWLY’ and ‘TALK AND REALLY LISTEN TO EACH
These tips are the building blocks for any relationship and they will help you get through. Other tips
• remember that people (including you) may have changed
• curb the desire to leap in and take over the reins
• acknowledge the good things your family and friends have done during your absence – limit any
• go easy spending your money – think and plan
• respect each other’s personal/emotional space (including the children’s); you will need to get to
know each other again
• sexual closeness may be awkward at first as your hopes and beliefs may be different to your
partner’s – talk openly and respectfully about this issue
• be patient with yourself, your family and your friends
• watch the language!
• previous problems may crop up again – do something about them this time.
• include your family in any socialising
• be prepared to give and take.
• with children, go slowly and adapt to the new rules and routines that are now in place.
• things that worked before may not work now – new strategies/techniques may be in place now, so
take the time to learn what they are.
For those at home
The returning family member or friend may have changed, and they may now be more sensitive to a
lot of things that were pretty ‘normal’ before. For example:
• they may be anxious or unsettled in crowds, in the rush and throng of a city and amongst the noise
of a family
• they may feel threatened by your new friends or supports, and wonder how they can fit back into
• they may want to take back all previous responsibilities. A few extra tips are – avoid scheduling too
many things or activities, go slow and be patient. Remind them that they are still needed and are still
important to you.
If you identify readjustment problems talk to someone early so that guidance or assistance can be
provided to you and your family as soon as you need or want it. You can talk to your doctor, padre, a
social worker or psychologist – you and your family have a wide range of assistance available to you.
Where to seek help
If you require immediate help for a life-threatening situation, call 000. Your chain of command is a
primary resource that can provide advice, referral and support. Other than in an emergency situation,
contact your local ADF Medical Centre or Psychology Section. Navy personnel can seek help through
their divisional system, local Alcohol and Drug Program Advisor (ADPA) or can directly contact their
local Alcohol and Drug Program Coordinators.
Mental Health Resources
Local Medical Centres: Your local medical officer can provide immediate assistance and referrals as
Psychology Support Section: All Psychology Support Sections offer after-hours, critical incident support
through the local Duty Officer/Officer of the Day.
Defence Community Organisation
DCO provides services 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year round including public holidays.
During normal business hours the first point of call is the Duty Social Worker or Military Support
Officer. Outside these core hours and on Public Holidays, calls should be directed to NWCC on 1800
801 026 or if calling from overseas +61 2 9359 4842.
Chaplains: There are Chaplains connected to all units in Australia who can provide support and
Lifeline (131 114): If you, or a friend, need to talk to someone about a problem immediately, you can
call Lifeline for the cost of a local call.
Veterans and Veterans’ Families Counselling Service (VVCS): This service is available to veterans of all
deployments and their families. VETLINE – 24 hour emergency line (1800 011 046).
ADF Mental Health Strategy All-hours Support Line (ASL): The ASL is a confidential telephone triage
support service for ADF members and their families that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
(1800 628 036) (FREECALL within Australia) and (61 2 9425 3878) (outside
Australian Defence Force Mental Health Strategy (ADFMHS)
HMAS Darwin crew visit Orphanage
in Sihanouk Ville, Cambodia
In October this year, sailors from HMAS DARWIN spent a day at “Enfants de Sihanouk Ville”; an
Orphanage in Sihanouk Ville, Cambodia. While conducting maintenance to buildings and equipment
within the orphanage, the sailors also took time out to play games and perform music for, and with,
the kids. The photos were taken by Evan Murphy.
Want to see other great photos of the ADF in action at home or overseas?
Check out the Defence photo gallery website: www.defence.gov.au/media/download/index.cfm
The Army Aviation Training Centre and the Community
By Warrant Officer 2 Mick Heaney and Lieutenant James Decarrado
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is estimated to affect 1 in 160 Australians, and it is a
lifelong developmental disorder that varies in severity. It impairs a person’s ability to
communicate and relate to others and has a dramatic impact upon the lives of friends, loved
ones and families. While there is no cure for autism, and its cause is not known, research
shows that early intervention therapy can make a difference.
The Autism Early Intervention Outcomes Unit, (AEIOU) – is a not-for-profit organisation and the
only one of its kind in Queensland that provides preprimary school children with full-time autism-
specific early intervention. AEIOU has centres in Brisbane, Toowoomba and (and opening soon on
the Sunshine and Gold Coasts), making it available to assist the military community. As a not-for-
profit organisation, AEIOU relies on local assistance to continue providing such beneficial service.
The Army Aviation Training Centre (AAvnTC) maintains a constant lookout for means to assist
members of the local community. Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Corps (RAEME) soldiers
from the centre were in high spirits when they discovered a unique way to assist local children
diagnosed with autism. AEIOU was opening a centre in Toowoomba, and they needed help!
This centre, the first of its kind for regional Australia, was opened two years ago. When they required
help getting established the Army Aviation Training Centre answered the call by raising funds and
utilising RAEME soldiers who volunteered to use their skills in a community project. Since then, the
opportunity to lend a hand has been seized by numerous staff and students from the centre. Members
from the Rotary Wing Aircraft Maintenance School (RAMS), under the coordination of Warrant Officer
2 Mick Heaney, have undertaken a large variety of construction and maintenance tasks at
Toowoomba AEIOU. Most recently they boasted a brand new RAEME crafted gazebo for the children.
These tasks were made possible by dedicated fundraising and support from the members of AAvnTC.
In September this year, children and staff of AEIOU Toowoomba visited AAvnTC to thank their heroes
and make a presentation in gratitude for the centre’s ongoing support. They had a chance to see the
aircraft at RAMS, climb on board a fire truck and interact with the soldiers.
Congrats from DCO Darling Downs
Warrant Officer Mick Heaney’s wife Dianne was the first Principal of the AEIOU Centrein Toowoomba,
which opened in October 2007. Dianne Heaney utilised the Personalised Resume component of the
DCO SWAPP programme when applying for her first position with AEIOU, and this year Dianne was
appointed the AEIOU Queensland Director of Education. The Staff at DCO Darling Downs
congratulate Dianne on her success, and wish her well with her career at AEIOU.
Quotable quotes from RAEME members working on the project
‘Completing this project was very rewarding;I enjoyed the experience to help out a great
organisation’ Craftsman (CFN) Laing
‘A great experience to be a part of a team that helps with such a great community project. Very
fulfilling’ CFN Hunter
‘The kids were cool!’ CFN Ylagan
‘It was great to go out and help the community’ CFN Foreman
‘It’s great to know I am part of a Defence Force that not only helps out with other countries but also
helps out small communities in our own backyard. Extremely worthwhile project’ CFN Goulding
The Australian Peacekeeping
By Nicola Mallik
The sacrifices of peacekeepers sometimes go unnoticed, but peacekeepers are the ones
who safeguard, repair and build communities overseas, just as Defence families work to
keep things together at home when a loved one is away. The Australian Peacekeeping
Memorial Project (APMP) is dedicated to building a memorial for Australian peacekeepers –
military, police and civilian – on Anzac Parade in Canberra. But just like dozens of
peacekeeping and peacemaking operations around the world, we can’t achieve our goal
without the help of the ADF family.
Who are peacekeepers?
Australia has a long and proud history of peacekeeping, and the ADF has been actively and
continuously involved in peace operations for over sixty years, starting with the very first United
Nations operation in 1947. The Peacekeeping Memorial on Anzac Parade will honour those
who served with UN-commanded missions as well as coalition arrangements, such as the Regional
Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. All up the memorial will
list over 60 peacekeeping operations from the past 60 years, with future peacekeeping operations to
be added as they progress.
Play your part in history
The APMP has unveiled an inspiring and fitting design for the peacekeeping memorial, and a site had
been approved for the new memorial at the southern end of Anzac Parade. However, the APMP
needs to raise around $3.5 million before construction can begin and the memorial is dedicated on
Australian Peacekeepers’ and Peacemakers’ Day, September 14, 2012. If you have served on a
peacekeeping mission, or want to help commemorate the service of Australian peacekeepers, then
join the APMP today and pledge your support. See the APMP website for further details on how to
donate and assist with the project’s activities.
A numbered edition of a new “Peacekeeper Bear” is now available, with proceeds going towards the
construction of the peacekeeping memorial. The bear comes dressed in Australian camouflage
uniform with a cute peacekeeper beret.
What does Peacekeeping mean to you?
The APMP have kindly provided dfm with its own bear to give to a reader. If you’d like to be in the
running for the bear, then send us a letter or email, and in 100 words or less, tell us what
peacekeeping means to you. The competition is open to all ages, though obviously we will factor that
into account. The winner’s miniessay will be published in the next edition. Entries close 13 January.
Family InSight home visiting service
By Debbie Thompson/Anne Marie Gibb
Family InSight is a volunteer home visiting service in which volunteers offer regular support
to families with at least one child under five where the parents are experiencing isolation, are
under stress, or having difficulty with their parenting roles.
Family InSight employs a coordinator to recruit, train, supervise and support volunteers and link them
with a family whom they visit weekly in the family’s own home. Volunteers must attend a seven week
training program and undergo a screening process before being linked with a family. Comprehensive
preparation of volunteers and continuing support from a coordinator enables the Family InSight
volunteer to support parents and their children. They can reassure parents by helping them to build on
their strengths, enhance their parenting skills and enhance well-being in family life. They can also
help isolated families to make friends, connect with their community, access and utilise community
Documented outcomes for families involved in Family InSight include:
· Improved parenting skills
· Reduced social isolation
· Increased parental self esteem
· Improved immunisation rates
· Increased social support networks
· Families linked to wider community
· Improved outcomes for children
· Reduced risk of child abuse and neglect
· Reduced risk of violence
Contact: Family InSight
Phone: 02 4961 0700
Defence families take on Triathlon Pink
In September this year, Defence family members took to the water and track to complete in Triathlon
Pink at Sydney Olympic Park to help raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The
teams were ‘Hooray for Boobies’ and ‘Samanda Cougars’, and they crossed the finish line in 44th and
59th place. Together, the teams raised over $1500 to assist the Foundation conduct research into the
prevention, treatment and cure of breast cancer.
Meet Kayak Jack - Defence family gives back to
From Army Pilot, to a publican in a small Tasmanian town, to full time dad of three children
five years and under, you would think Chris Duffy and his wife Erin had done it all. Yet the
Duffys have embarked on something totally different again, and something very personal to
Chris and Erin, both Army Reservists and former regulars, are putting their heart and soul into raising
$50,000 for the St. Giles Society, a not-for-profit organisation based in Launceston, Tasmania, where
the Duffys now live: an organisation which provides special needs care for children and adults with
Jack Duffy, the youngest of Chris and Erin’s three children, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy spastic
quadriplegia at the age of six months. He is now three and cannot sit on his own, feed himself or
speak. Despite this, he is a happy and loving little boy who brings so much joy to his family and
everyone he meets.
Chris and Erin feel that they have been given so much support by St. Giles and their local community
that they want to give something back. So they have recently announced “Kayak Jack”, where Chris
will kayak 585 kilometres from Launceston to Hobart down the east coast of Tasmania, aiming to
raise over $50,000 for the St Giles Society.
Chris has been training hard for their big trip which will take place from 6 to 18 December 2009. Jack
will accompany Chris for an hour per day and Chris’s kayak is being fitted out to accommodate him
The Duffys have been overwhelmed by the support they have received already from the wider
Defence community as well as their local Tasmanian community.
‘We have been blown away by the amount of support we have received, ranging from emails of
encouragement to pledges of donations. Some people we haven’t seen for years are even flying
down to Tassie for the event which is just amazing,’ Chris said.
Former Army Officer Tim Byrne who owns Providence Consulting based in Canberra has sponsored a
stage worth $1,000. He was at the Australian Defence Force Academy a year below Chris and a year
‘Tim’s sponsorship is a great example of the generosity of people. Not knowing either Erin or I closely,
it was extremely generous of him to offer this sponsorship up. Being a former Orford boy, he is
sponsoring the stage where I am kayaking past that area on the East Coast’, Chris said.
‘A group of my mates from my pilot days have chipped in to take a stage sponsorship as well, and
Erin and I are just so appreciative of this support’, Chris said.
Another friend who joined the military with Erin in 1994, Emily Kennedy, has been heavily involved in
organising and running the event. Emily is currently a Navy reservist and she and her husband have
also sponsored Kayak Jack through their Tasmanian business, Andrew Kennedy Photography.
Erin is the backbone of the administration, logistics and organisation for the event, putting all her
Army Officer skills into good use. Erin transferred from the full-time Army to Reserves in only February
this year after finishing a posting as Senior Military Recruiting Officer for Tasmania. Chris is still active
in the Army Reserve doing work with Indigenous Affairs.
‘Jack’s condition is so severe that he is guaranteed care from St Giles. The reason we are doing this
is so that the kids who aren’t so critical can still get the help they need and that’s why we are working
so hard to reach the $50,000,’ Chris said.
All donations go directly to the St Giles Society.
Visit the trip’s website to follow the progress of Kayak Jack.
Anyone can donate – and no matter how big or small your donation,
it will help Kayak Jack reach his target of $50,000. An amount which will make
a massive and positive difference in the lives of children with disabilities. The trip
website has information on how you can give.
It started innocently enough; a friend asked if I’d be riding in the upcoming Woodford Classic. The
‘Classic’ is both a mountain bike race and marathon, where entrants ride or run the fire trail from
Woodford to Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. The races are conducted by NRMA
CareFlight, a charity that relies on community support to provide air ambulance services to the people
of Australia. Yep, seemed like a great event to be involved with. A quick check of the NRMA
CareFlight web site gave me all the info, but it was the ‘volunteers wanted’ box that caught my
attention. It occurred to me that by volunteering my time and energy, I could make a bigger
contribution to NRMA CareFlight, than if I raced only. I’d never been a ‘volunteer’ for a fund raising
event so I checked the volunteer box and e-mailed my details. After a little negotiation regarding my
availability, I was booked for two days of volunteer work. The first day was race set up, whilst the
following day, Sunday, I’d assist with hosting the race. Being my first ever volunteering experience, it
was with some trepidation that I arrived at the Blue Mountains National Park for race setup. I was
nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect. I feared that I wouldn’t have the skills or knowledge to make
a useful contribution. Steeling myself, I approached the NRMA CareFlight staff hoping they’d be
gentle with me. Their warm welcome did much to alleviate my nervousness and self doubt. I joined a
group who were busy erecting temporary fencing along the race route. My childhood farming
experience immediately came to the fore. It wasn’t long before someone threw me the keys to a
Toyota Troop Carrier, with instructions to fill it with hay bales for distribution along the track. Gee whiz
I must look responsible, and now I was drawing on my off-road driving experience. On returning, I was
handed the keys to a truck, again to move materials and equipment. Holy cow, I must be useful. If this
kept up, I could be flying a CareFlight chopper soon. Lunch came and went and by late afternoon on
that first day we had completed most of the set up jobs. It was at this time that a mountain bike
was placed into the wooden bike racks installed on trucks, built to transport contestants’ bikes from
Glenbrook to Woodford. The bike didn’t fit. Oh no, this was a catastrophe! If the bikes couldn’t be
safely transported, the consequences for the race didn’t bear thinking about. Darkness was about to
engulf us, we were in the middle of a National Park without the luxury of light, power or even mobile
phone reception, and the race was to start the following morning. I suggested that with power,
I could use my circular saw to trim each and every slot. Faced with a potential disaster, the plan was
quickly adopted. Thankful that I’d driven down in Truckasaurus - my trusty old Hilux - instead of riding
my mountain bike as I had initially considered, I tore off home. An hour later Truckasaurus returned,
loaded with tools and equipment. I could hear a generator chugging away, power leads had been run
out, and lights set up. After a test cut, I started trimming the racks, whilst another volunteer marked
the timber, and other team members held lights, adjusted leads, removed off-cuts and manned the
barbeque. After an age of noisy and dusty work we’d trimmed all the racks. We all breathed a sigh of
relief. I did, because I still had 10 fingers.
The day of the race brought fine weather. As the first contestants arrived at Woodford, the tension
and excitement began to build. I’d never seen so many mountain bikes in one place before. I’d also
been issued with my ‘Official’ T-shirt so I got to strut around, look important, and discuss mountain
biking and bikes with an air of expertise that I didn’t deserve. After chatting with riders and catching up
with Defence colleagues who were participating, I assisted with rider registration. I then held the sign
beckoning riders in the 50-59 year old category to assemble for the staggered race start. I called them
baby boomers, which they seemed to prefer. I had to laugh when I overheard a lady tell her husband
that he’d better win given the cost of his bike. He didn’t respond, and I don’t think she was joking. Still,
it was a nice bike, and probably worth a few days of the silent treatment.
After watching the race start, we packed the marquees, folded the tables, loaded participants’ luggage
into the Rural Fire Brigade vehicles and drove to Euroka Clearing to await the finishers. There, I was
in charge of the luggage station and spent many happy hours trying to match participants to their
bags. Spirits were high so despite waiting for me to locate their bag, no one complained, plus I got to
practice my rugby passes when I returned their package. A number of contestants approached me to
say that they’d had a great time and were very impressed by the quality of organisation for the event. I
chatted with one of the NRMA CareFlight pilots, an ex-Navy helicopter pilot who had recently joined
the team. He gave me a run-down on the NRMA CareFlight service, a tour of the helicopter
simulator/trainer, and explained how he travels the country for NRMA CareFlight.
The races were a great success. Many of the contestants’ families had arrived at the finish to join in
the fun, enjoying lunch from one of the many food stalls, riding the carnival rides, inspecting the Rural
Fire Service fire trucks and checking out the NRMA CareFlight chopper. On a personal level, I had a
great sense of achievement and satisfaction, which was ironic given my initial reservations about my
ability to be a useful volunteer who could make a difference. I learned that skills are useful, but the
‘right attitude’ and a willingness to get in and give it a go are all that you really need. I discovered that
volunteer work not only benefits organisations like NRMA CareFlight, and by default the Australian
community, but also the volunteer. I definitely got more out than I put in. I had a great time and
promised the CareFlight staff that if I’m around next year, I’d love to be involved in the 2010 ‘Classic.’
Next time, though, I’ll help set up on Saturday and ride the race on Sunday. That’s got to be a win-win
Australians chalk one up for education in Tarin Kowt
In August this year, Australian Army engineers helped refurbish the Tarin Kowt Boys’ School, earning
the thanks of the Governor of Oruzgan province, Assadullah Hamdam.
The original school has been refurbished and a new building has been constructed, containing 21
additional classrooms. The development also includes complete site services, new ablutions, a
generator, and a new septic system and water tower.
Oruzgan Director of Education, Malem Rahmattulah Khan, stressed the importance of such facilities.
‘Education is like the eyes … if a man does not have eyes then he doesn’t know where he’s going,’ Mr
‘So by this school their eyes will be open … we want more schools like this so that our society can
receive a good education.’.
Army daubs up against cancer
In August this year, the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Gillespie launched the Army’s support to
the Blue September organisation at the Royal Military College to raise awareness of cancer in men.
Soldiers at the launch had faces daubed blue, Blue September’s signature mark for males.
Lieutenant General Gillespie, who has been personally affected by cancer, said the Army was largely
populated by men and encouraged soldiers to ‘face up to cancer’.
‘Take action and go see your GP. By finding cancer early, you have a better chance of beating the
disease,’ said Lieutenant General Gillespie
ADF Blood and Organ donation
By Major Gary Schulz
Fundraising coffee morning for disadvantaged children in East Timor
RAAF Base East Sale and St Marks Chapel held a fundraising coffee morning in August to support
disadvantaged children in East Timor. $400US was raised in donations for the Sisters of St Paul of
Chartres, who will distribute these funds to Sunday school children throughout East Timor.
The base has been helping with this cause since 2006, and organisers are very grateful for the hard
work and kind donations that made this a successful coffee morning.
Contact: Flight Lieutenant Dean Quilty, Chaplain (OIC)
Phone: 03 5146 6174
It is the 80th anniversary of blood collection services in Australia, with the Government
designating 2009 as the Year of the Blood Donor.
It’s a little-known fact that the blood donated in Australia is as likely to aid ADF troops in need
overseas as it is to be used domestically, with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS)
providing blood to Defence since the ARCBS took over the Army’s blood and serum preparation
centres in 1945.
Defence is proud to support the Australian Red Cross Blood Service through the Club Red blood
Unfortunately, when it comes to organ donation, Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the
developed world. In 2004 Australia had 10.8 donors per million compared with 34.6 per million for
Spain. You can help save lives by registering your consent to become an organ and tissue donor. A
single organ donor can potentially save and improve the quality of life of up to 10 other people.
If you do wish to become a donor, then you are encouraged to make your partner, family or friends
aware of your decision to donate.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, has strongly encouraged ADF
members to consider becoming donors.
‘Your consent to donate your organs in the event of your death is the kind of selfless decision that will
help save many lives,’ he said.
Want to give blood?
For more information
call 13 14 95 or visit the following website.
To find out more about organ donation, please see
the following website.
To register as a donor please register your details
at Medicare Australia
Our Lateral Transfer experience
By Nicole Mankowski
Well I guess it all started the evening before my husband deployed from the United Kingdom
(UK) with 1 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment to Iraq in 2007. I had been pressing him to
apply for a transfer to Australia as I heard rumors that this was possible and, myself being
Australian, I felt ready to return home after 15 years in the UK.
However, my husband Mark was really enjoying his job in the RAF and finally applied just to keep the
peace between us. He had heard that only pilots were recruited and that they would not be interested
in his branch. I guess he was not expecting anything to come of his email, but once he had touched
down in Iraq there were about six emails from the ADF and I am not sure who was more shocked -
him or me.
Shortly after he left for Iraq I found out I was expecting not one baby, but two! While we were
digesting this information and worrying about me going through a high risk twin pregnancy while Mark
was in Iraq for the most of it, we got an interview date for the Australian Army. This date just
happened to fall in his mid-tour break and so off we went with little information about what to expect.
On the interview day with my huge round belly it was obvious why we wanted this change of life. We
explained to the board that we wanted our children to grow up in my home country and have their
grandparents around them, and also for my own support while Mark spent time away. We received an
offer on the day and we knew it was the right decision to make.
Our babies arrived eight weeks early and, in between the chaos of all that goes with the arrival of twin
babies, we were excited about our upcoming move. It was difficult leaving our long-term friends
behind and my husband’s family, but now we have made new friends and our UK friends are starting
to drift over for a holiday too. I spent 15 years in the UK and Europe and loved every moment but
once we knew we were having children it changed our outlook on life. It is great showing our visitors
about and shows exactly why we made this decision. Mark loves his new job and finds it just as
professionally satisfying as his UK Military career, which makes for a happy husband.
Sitting here a year after arriving and starting our new life we both agree it was the best decision for
our family and would recommend it to anyone thinking about a life change. Our girls, now 20 months,
love being outdoors and Australia makes this possible all of the year without having to wear snow
suits. We have a much bigger and more practical house and feel very lucky to be here. My girls love
the beach and watching their daddy surf and Mark loves picking up a bottle of wine on his way home
at our local vineyard. I love the scenery and all the Adelaide Hills has to offer for families. Our move
was all taken care of and we had help every step of the way. A guaranteed job on the other side and
a great three month holiday on our way out here. When we think back it was a brave thing
to do, getting on a plane with five month old twins and emigrating, but it was worth every sleep
We have found the military support networks really great and everyone so friendly. I am involved with
the Woodside Defence Families Association (WDFA) and we also have a great Twins Group in the
local area too. Being an Australian myself I always remembered what a great country this is and we
look forward to moving about as a family and experiencing even more great places to live in a great
country we now call home.
What is the Lateral Transfer program?
The Lateral Transfer program recruits serving or recently ex-serving foreign military personnel with
specific qualifications and/or experience that are directly transferable to the ADF, with no, or minimal,
conversion training. For more information see the Defence recruitment website.
There is an informal social group for lateral transferees in the Darwin area. Please contact DCO
Darwin for more information. See the back cover for contact details.
Stronger Support for Families
By Kloe Croker and Lieutenant Colonel Nicole Sadler
‘The Army People Plan acknowledges the important role families play in
supporting Army personnel throughout their careers, and their influence
on morale, recruitment and retention.’
Families of Army members will soon have extra support under the newly developed Army People Plan
2009- 2018. Army recognises the important part families play in supporting Army personnel
throughout their careers, and families are an important part of our workforce. Some of the key themes
of the Army People Plan aim to reduce the impact of Service life on families, to provide appropriate
balance between work and a person’s family and other interests, and to support the development of
programs to improve the resilience of Army families.
Army is working to make communication to both its members and their
families more efficient. One aim is to increase the number of families attending
the pre-deployment briefs as these briefs provide valuable information.
The development of these initiatives was influenced by the feedback obtained from Army personnel
and their families through the ADF Families Survey and Defence Attitude Survey.
Army is working to make communication to both its members and their families more efficient. One
aim is to increase the number of families attending the predeployment briefs as these briefs provide
valuable information on what to expect during the deployment and support services available.
Army has several initiatives in place to try to reduce the impact of deployments on family life. Although
the standard time for deployments has recently increased from six to eight months, this change is
designed to support individuals to be at home for longer periods between deployments. There is a
requirement for at least a 12 month respite for individuals between deployments, and most individuals
should have a respite of at least 16 months between deployments. Furthermore, there is a
requirement for there to be at least a three month period between return from operations and being
moved from their home location on courses or exercises.
Another important aspect of Army making competitive employment offers to attract and retain
personnel includes offering a package with the least amount of impact on Service families and
allowing for a healthy work-life balance.
This work-life balance strategy creates supportive, healthy work environments for members and
assists them to maintain a balance between their paid work commitment and their personal,
community and cultural responsibilities, interests and obligations.
To ensure that this method is effective Army will be:
Identifying and communicating
- the roles and
responsibilities of supervisors, the individual and
families in achieving acceptable work-life balance;
Identifying and removing barriers (real and perceived)
to the implementation of policies and initiatives which
support the achievement of an acceptable work-life
Reviewing flexible work arrangements currently
in place and how they are accessed, in order to
evaluate their relevance and accessibility to Army
personnel at all levels.
For further information on the Army People Plan 2009-
2018, which includes the development of a work-life
balance policy, please contact Lieutenant Colonel
Families and the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO)
By Professor Sandy McFarlane
The Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health (CMVH) is undertaking a Middle East Area of Operations
(MEAO) Health Study and we are seeking the assistance of families of ADF personnel and veterans
who have recently deployed, or will deploy, to the Middle East to encourage members to complete the
MEAO health surveys as part of the Study.
Our experience with ADF personnel and veterans is that it is often their husbands and wives who are
the ones who take the major responsibility for the health of the ADF personnel and veterans in their
family. That is why we are appealing for their help.
One of the challenges with this type of research is that some members of the ADF have a robust view
of their own health and are relatively unconcerned about any health risks that they have or may have
in the future, which could be to their long-term detriment.
The Study aims to get a clear picture of the benefits and risks associated with the particular
experiences of deployment, exposure to potentially harmful agents, and to highlight the assistance
that ADF personnel and veterans might be able to access on return from their MEAO deployment.
As many of the MEAO personnel and veterans as possible need to complete the surveys to ensure
that the most comprehensive capturing of the health impacts of deployment is gathered, including
those personnel and veterans who have no health complaints.
The information gathered from the initial surveys as part of the Study will be followed up with ongoing
surveys in coming years to get the most comprehensive picture of the health and well-being of
deployed personnel over time.
The second stage of the MEAO study will look at ADF members before they go to the Middle East
and then on their return, with some participants being asked to undertake physical, biological and
We look forward to the support of families of ADF personnel and veterans who have deployed, or will
deploy, to the MEAO to encourage completion of these surveys - for the benefit of ADF personnel and
veterans, their families, and the ADF more generally.
Defence continues to make a significant contribution to the health and welfare of ADF members by
funding a series of studies that aim to better understand the benefits and risks associated with
deployment to the MEAO.
The CMVH sits outside of Defence.All information gathered from this study is confidential and will not
be released to the Department of Defence or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
The MEAO Health Study is due to begin in early 2010.
Contact: Professor McFarlane
Phone: 08 8303 5364
CMVH Website: www.cmvh.org.au
Timor-Leste Family Study
By the Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health
The Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health (CMVH) is undertaking a major study that aims to benefit
the families of ADF personnel who deployed to East Timor.
A consortium led by CMVH at the University of Queensland, and managed by UniQuest, is
undertaking the Timor- Leste Family Study to investigate any impact of deployment on the families of
ADF personnel who deployed to East Timor.
‘This is the first time the intergenerational impacts of service from a recent deployment have been
examined. The study will provide invaluable data on any differences in the physical, mental and social
health of the families of ADF members who served in East Timor,’ said Alan Griffin, Minister for
CMVH hopes that as many as possible of those families contacted to take part in the sample study
will participate. The study aims to help guide future policy on Government support for the families of
All information gathered from the Timor-Leste Family Study is confidential and will not be released to
the Department of Defence or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
For more information on the Timor-Leste Family Study, see the link on the CMVH website (URL listed
Contact: Dr Annabel McGuire
Phone: 07 3346 4960
CMVH Website: www.cmvh.org.au
Got a Spending Plan?
By Tony D’Aloisio, Chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
Whether the economy is booming or in decline; whether you have lots of
money or just a little; everyone can benefit from having a spending plan.
In this article we look at how you can release some extra money by creating a spending plan and how
this can help you start investing or clear some debts.
What’s a spending plan?
Managing your money can be boring. The word ‘budget’ suggests you need to cut back and limit your
lifestyle. But don’t think of it as being a budget - think of it as a ‘spending plan’. Budgets or spending
plans allow you to free up your money so you can spend it on something really worthwhile.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re saving for the short term, such as for a pair of sun glasses, or the
long term, such as if you want to start investing: the way to find extra money is by having a plan.
What’s in a spending plan?
When you’re setting up your spending plan, look at the things you need – the essentials, such as
housing and food – and those you simply like to have, or want. And think about your plan as
Make sure you don’t cut out all the wants. If your plan’s too hard to stick to it’s not going to work.
A good place to start is the online Budget Planner at the ADF Financial Services Consumer Council
(ADFFSCC) website. This is a comprehensive tool that you can save to your home computer as an
Excel spreadsheet. Or you can simply make a start by tracking your spending for a week or two. Start
writing down where every dollar goes and then have a think about what expenses you can remove
and turn into savings.
Captain Irvine’s spending plan
Captain Irvine has always wanted to take his family on a trip to the Whitsundays but he’s never had
the extra money to do it. When his salary increased recently he decided to put the extra portion into a
special savings account. He set up a direct debit and thus couldn’t be tempted to spend it.
In just under a year he had over $3,000 in the account and was able to take his family on a truly
memorable holiday. And he had no credit card debt hanging over his head at the end.
Starting to invest?
How you manage your investments is an important part of how you manage your money. If you’re
able to implement your spending plan, or if you already have some money set aside, you should think
about how you can invest that money.
What you invest in depends on how long you can invest the money for and how comfortable you feel
about different investments.
Investments are usually divided into two main types:
income and growth. Income investments like cash management trusts and government bonds give
you an income from earning interest, but usually your original investment doesn’t increase in value.
Growth investments like shares or property may give you capital growth over the long term, so that,
as well as earning income, your original investment may increase in value.
Before you invest, you should always consider what your goals are. Having goals helps you to pick
the right investments for your timeframe and work out what investment risk you are prepared to take
For more information on investing and how to getting professional advice go to the ADF Financial
Services Consumer Council website.
Worried about your debts?
Before you start thinking about saving for a new car or starting to invest, look at your debts. A pending
plan can help you reduce your debts by putting a system in place for you to follow.
For example, imagine someone with $5,000 in credit card debt who only pays the minimum
repayment each month and who spends $200 on going out with friends on the weekend. If this person
reduced his spending to around $50 per weekend and put the rest towards paying off his debt, he
could pay it off in just over a year and save around $15,000 in interest.*
Genuine help with budgeting is often available free of charge through independent financial
counsellors. There’s no highpressure selling, and a financial counsellor will help you put a plan in
place. The FIDO website has a list of financial counselling organisations.
Call the ASIC or visit their consumer and investor website, FIDO. You can also email ASIC with topics
of that interest you. Phone: 1300 300 630
Tony D’Aloisio is the Chairman of the Australian Securities and
Investments Commission (ASIC)
*Assumes a minimum repayment on $10 or 2% per month,
interest rate of 18.5%, repayments of $450 per month and no
longer using the card.
All hours Support Line
(1800 467 425)
A confidential information and referral line available 24 hours a day,
seven days a week for serving ADF members who are away from their home town
and are uncertain of where to go for medical treatment. This
number does not replace 000 if you require immediate help for a life-
A 24/7 mental health support and referral service. Personnel can call when they
are in crisis due to a personal, work or family issue, or just to discuss
mental health concerns. They will be provided with confidential advice on
options for support. The service is available to Australian Defence Force
Members, Cadets, and their families on a 1-800 toll free number from fixed
lines and an ‘02’ number for callers from overseas.
- 1800 628 036Free call within Australia)
Additional 13,300 ADF Dependants to benefit from Family
1800 - I’m Sick
The ADF Family Health Trial has commenced in Stage 2 locations, benefiting a further 13,300
Defence dependants. Approximately one quarter of Defence dependants are now eligible to register
for the trial. The Stage 2 locations are Darwin, including Alice Springs and Nhulunbuy (NT), Broome
and Kununurra (WA), Townsville, including Tully (QLD), and Puckapunyal (VIC).
Flexible models of delivery for the medical benefits have been implemented to ensure that ADF
dependants are able to access free basic medical care from within their community.
The unique demographic of each location has been considered in implementing a suitable model for
accessing the medical benefits. Defence families are encouraged to visit the ADF Family Health
website and to view the medical model applicable to their location. The ADF Family Health website
address is listed below. The trial also has provision for dependants to claim up to $300 each for non-
cosmetic dental services, which can be accessed at any dentist in Australia.
Dependants registered for the trial are issued with an ADF Family Health Card which will enable them
to submit claims electronically at most dentists, up to the capped amount. In instances where
electronic claiming is unavailable, dependants will be expected to pay the account and claim the
The ADF Family Health Trial is one way the Government is supporting Defence families as they
support our Defence men and women.
For more information see the following website and follow the links.
Helping families navigate the separation maze
Relationship breakdown and family separation can be a challenging time for those
involved, and the many issues associated with separation can become
My family is separating – what now? is a new online support product that helps families find
information about the emotional, financial and legal issues they may face during and after separation.
It also connects them with relevant support services within the family law system, in both metropolitan
and regional areas of Australia.
The tool is a ‘one-stop shop’ for families, providing information about parents’ financial situations, care
arrangements for their children, legal rights and obligations, and how parents can look after their own
emotional wellbeing and their children’s. Other topics include government financial assistance, and
mediation and family dispute resolution services.
My family is separating – what now? also offers specific information and advice to grandparents
raising grandchildren and people who may be affected by family violence.
Families can search for information, advice and support services through four pathways: emotional
support, financial support, legal support and family violence support.
My family is separating – what now? is a valuable resource that helps families make informed
decisions about their individual situation and issues.
You can view My family is separating – what now? at the following website.
Defence assistance to a former partner
Upon the breakdown of a relationship, the former partner of a Defence member may be entitled to
some financial assistance from Defence for moving expenses. Please see the Pay and Conditions
Manual for more information
Do you need to sit down and talk with someone about how
you’re feeling? DCO can help
Defence Community Organisation (DCO) Area Teams include professional Social Workers who are
able to provide social work assistance to ADF families on a broad range of issues. Assistance
provided includes assessment, brief interventions and referral to specialist community services for a
range of issues including:
• Parenting issues
• Relationship issues
• Social isolation
• Work issues
Families of ADF members wishing to make an appointment with a Defence Social Worker, contact
your local DCO Area Office. On-call Social Workers can also be contacted out of hours (24/7) through
the base Duty Officer.
DCO Social Workers are able to refer clients to other agencies or programs to achieve the best
solution or outcome to any issues clients approach them with. If you are experiencing problems it may
also be helpful to consider sharing or seeking some information exchange with another party such as
another health care professional (Psychologist, Medic, Chaplain), a member of your local Regional
Mental Health Team, other agency providers, your CO, or family members.
You and your relationship
Relationships need ongoing work and unexpected issues can impact significantly.
Plan for finding time: relationships need ongoing maintenance. Need to stay connected in your
Talk things over with each other: you won’t always think and feel the same way - at times you will
have different thoughts and feelings and different ways of dealing with them.
Communicating openly helps you and your partner understand your differences and can lead to fewer
misunderstandings and a clearer path to decisions and actions.
The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has
recently developed a range of DVD resources titled “Keys to Living Together” which are designed to
assist couples and families. These will be available free of charge from DCO Area Offices in the
Each of the DVDs includes written material with suggested strategies for strengthening relationships
and for dealing with issues that couples and families commonly face. Suggested communication tips
and strategies from FaHCSIA for resolving differences follow:
Make eye contact
Express your views
Make ‘I’ statements
Understand each others point of view
Tackle issues before they become problems
Focus on keeping your relationship with your partner strong
Pick the right time (not when tired and stressed)
Attack the problem (not each other)
Use the speaker/listener technique
Reach a conclusion (decide on what to do)… this will probably involve a compromise
Dealing with the unexpected
Dealing with a crisis can be stressful for you, your partner and the rest of the family members
Challenges may seem insurmountable but can strengthen family relationships Understand that men
and women often handle problems/issues differently and have different ways of dealing with stressful
situations Remember that disagreements are a normal part of a healthy relationship and don’t have to
be a bad thing… see them as a learning opportunity. They can lead to more understanding and make
you a stronger unit Remember the importance of having respect for each other
ADF Members Have their Say in the Defence Attitude
By Amy Kelly
Defence families offer essential support to serving members. Therefore,
Understanding the relationship between ADF members, their Service conditions and
their families is vital to ensuring Defence helps members to have satisfying work and
personal lives. The Defence Attitude Survey (DAS) is the primary tool used to collect
important information about the attitudes and opinions of Defence personnel on a
range of issues.
The focus of this article is to provide insight into the opinions of ADF members, which specifically
relate to their ability to balance work and family, the impact of Service life on family, and satisfaction
with Service life. Results include data from the 2008 DAS as well as the first new and improved
version of the DAS, which was completed in August 2009.
The first administration of the revised 2009 DAS collected data from 3,807 survey participants, and
resulted in an encouraging increase in response rates. Of the 10 percent of personnel asked to
participate, 40 percent of Navy, 44 percent of Army, 51 percent of Air Force, and 59 percent of
Defence Civilians responded. Of particular note was the increase in responses from Army members,
up by 14 percent in 2009.
How do Defence senior leaders know what’s important to the average ADF member? The revised
Defence Attitude Survey (DAS) provides a great opportunity for members to comment on what they
really think about Service life and how it impacts on their family.
Balancing the Service way of life with families
Achieving a balance between work and family commitments is often challenging for ADF families.
Overall, results have remained relatively stable with regards to the amount of time the job takes up
and the impact this has on members fulfilling family and personal responsibilities.
Compared to previous years, 2008 and 2009 saw a lower percentage of survey participants indicating
they had spent too much time away from home due to the requirements of their trade or pecialisation.
However, Navy and Army members who participated in the survey were more likely to agree that they
spent too much time away from home when compared to those from the Air Force.
Results also suggest that locational stability continues to be important to ADF members, with over 60
percent of survey participants agreeing they wanted more locational stability.
The results of the DAS contribute to the development of initiatives aimed at improving support
provided to Defence members and their families, and evaluate new and existing personnel policy in
areas such as conditions of service, job satisfaction, family mobility, career management and
Examples of initiatives that have been informed by the DAS include:
Development and evaluation of a $3.1 billion package for ADF recruitment and retention
The re-evaluation of remuneration packages for ADF personnel.
This year, the DAS has been extensively revised to make it simpler and quicker to complete, to
improve the speed at which the data is collected, and enhance the overall use of the data in all
Defence people strategies. Furthermore, the DAS is now being conducted three times a year, and is
administered entirely online to a 10 percent sample.
These results from the DAS are very informative and continue to
highlight the impact that family support has on our serving members.
The impact of postings on children’s education and spouse employment also continued to be an
important issue. Approximately half of the survey participants agreed that postings had a negative
impact on their children’s education. Similarly, almost two thirds of those who participated believed
postings were negatively impacting on their spouse’s employment.
Perceived family support for Service careers
The DAS results indicate that families continue to provide a solid foundation of strength for serving
members. Of particular reassurance, family endorsement for ADF members remains solid, with over
three quarters of participating Service personnel agreeing that their family strongly supports their
Service commitment and satisfaction
The 2009 DAS results revealed that the majority of those who responded to the survey were satisfied
with their job. Also very encouraging was the high proportion of survey participants who believed their
work made an important contribution to the Service (Navy 74 percent, Army 72 percent and Air Force
Consistent with previous years, the majority of participants in 2009 spoke highly of their Service to
friends (Navy 76 percent, Army 74 percent and Air Force 85 percent) and were proud to tell others
they were a member of their Service (between 75 percent and 84 percent). Defence sponsored
childcare, free medical and dental, spouse employment assistance and subsidised housing also
continue to be very influential factors relating to decisions to keep serving or not.
Have your say in the new online
Defence Attitude Survey
The next administration of the new and improved Defence Attitude Survey (DAS) will be available
online during February 2010. As an ADF member or Defence APS employee, if you are selected to
participate, please take the opportunity to contribute to your Defence organisation.
If you have any questions or comments about this project, contact the Defence Attitude Survey
Helpline by phone or the Defence surveys section by email or mail.
Contact: Defence Attitude Survey Helpline
Phone: (02) 6127 2606
Contact: Defence Surveys
Brindabella Park ACT, 2600.
These results from the DAS are very informative and continue to highlight the importance of family
support to members and the wider Defence community. The DAS helps us to measure the importance
of the issues affecting serving Navy, Army and Air Force members and ultimately allows for more
relevant personnel policy development to support ADF members and their families. Thank you to all of
the members who took the time to complete the 2008 and 2009 DAS. Your contribution is vital in
allowing us to create the type of organisation you want to work in. Further DAS results can be found
on the following Defence website.
Special Needs Housing Assistance
By the Manager, Education Policy and Special Needs, DCO
When a dependant with special needs has particular housing requirements these will
be identified in the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) Dependant with Special
Needs (DWSN) letter.
When a member applies to Defence Housing Australia (DHA) for housing assistance, they should
provide a copy of the DCO DWSN letter indicating their particular housing requirements.
DWSN Policy Principles
Housing modifications identified by a suitable specialist or occupational therapist will be considered by
Defence under the following DWSN policy principles:
a. Defence and the member have a shared responsibility in meeting the housing needs and costs for
b. Housing assistance for DWSN is normally assessed at the time a member is posted; and
c. Defence does not normally undertake modifications that significantly alter the structure of a house.
For dependants with mobility issues typical modifications include the installation of handrails or grab
rails and replacing steps with ramps. For dependants in wheelchairs, modifications to bathrooms,
doorways - such as changing a normal door to a sliding door or reverse the way the door opens - and
the removal of carpet may be necessary. As access requirements will vary in each residence, an
occupational therapist assessment is required before significant modifications would be undertaken.
Dependants who are diagnosed with a severe allergy to dust mites may require a residence with
minimal or no carpet. Before the removal of carpet can be undertaken, a specialist report is required
that demonstrates that a comprehensive allergy test has been conducted. The specialist should
indicate the severity of the allergy and identify what measures should be taken to mitigate the
allergy risk in the home.
A dependant may require conventional taps or door handles to be replaced with lever taps. Before
such modifications are undertaken a specialist report specifying this requirement is needed.
A dependant may require the temperature in the home to be regulated. If a residence is not currently
fitted with air conditioning, Defence will install a portable window mounted air conditioner purchased
by the member. The purchase of an air conditioner is the member’s responsibility.
A dependant may be unable to share their room with a sibling for medical reasons – such as for
severe night time asthma or night time tube feeding. A dependant may also require an additional
room in the residence to accommodate medical/disability equipment required for their care. However,
a child’s behavioural issues would not normally be a basis to alter a member’s bedroom entitlement.
An additional room can also be provided for the carer or guardian of a dependant with special needs.
However, the carer or guardian must be recognised as a dependant of the member in accordance
with the requirements in the ADF Pay and Conditions Manual.
Are you Posting this year?
When you move, a ‘Review of Assistance Measures’ is all about the type of services or supports that
are currently being received – such as speech therapy, low level house, hand rails in bathroom – and
what services and supports will be required in the new location. The Review of Assistance Measures
is not about the disability or diagnosis.
The review is about helping to identify those services which will be disrupted due to your Service
posting. It can also be used to identify any additional help like extra travelling time, specialised school
placement or a preposting visit.
If you require further assistance or advice please contact your local DCO office.
Special Needs DVD for Defence Families
By Margaret Fisk
To celebrate 15 years of supporting families with special needs, the Defence Special
Needs Support Group recently launched a new DVD.
Packed full of useful information and stories from Defence families, this DVD provides an insight into
the extensive range of programs offered by the Defence Special Needs Support Group (DSNSG). For
example, do you know that there is a national respite program or do you know how a posting plan can
assist your family? Well the DVD has the answers to this and much more.
The DVD has been in the making for nearly 12 months and was the result of feedback from new
families joining our group. After consultation with these families and our Coordinator Team, the idea
for the project and what should be covered was put in motion.
Copies will also be available at Defcredit branches and will be given out as part of the Recognition of
Special Needs process or the Review of Assistance Measures through the Defence Community
DSNSG would like to thank dfm for distributing the DVD, the Department of Defence, Edinburgh
Military Tattoo and Defcredit for their assistance with funding. We would also like to thank those many
families who shared their stories
By the Manager, Education Policy and Special Needs, DCO
At the recent Defence Special Needs 15th Birthday celebrations, the then Minister for Defence Science
and Personnel, the Hon Warren Snowdon, announced that the Defence Community Organisation
would establish a taskforce to investigate ways to improve the consistency of recognising disabilities
between the different states and territories and to improve the level of services for dependants of ADF
members with a special need.
The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) is
currently undertaking consultation with key stakeholder groups to assist in the development of a
National Disability Strategy.
The project will be tracking special needs families through the current posting period to identify any
challenges faced during this period. All special needs families who are relocating will be contacted
by Defence email in the New Year and provided with more details of the project and invited to
participate in a short survey. In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact me via the email
address below and I will address these concerns.
Any information provided will then de-identified to safeguard your privacy, and will then be collated
and presented to FaHCSIA for ongoing discussions with the States and Territories - the ones that can
make the change happen.
Contact: Joan Gilbert
DEFGLIS and Fairness and Resolution Joint Seminar
By Rose Hays, Fairness and Resolution
The inaugural Defence Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) seminar
was held in Canberra in early October as a joint venture between the Defence
Fairness and Resolution Branch (FR) and the Defence Gay and Lesbian Information
Service (DEFGLIS). The seminar, which was sponsored by Defence, was described
by participants as a major step in achieving cultural change.
The seminar’s aim was to explore how well Defence is progressing in providing an equitable
workplace in which gay and lesbian personnel are welcome and supported, as well as to evaluate
support and services available to Defence personnel who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or
transgender, and to identify areas of potential improvement.
Invited speakers included Director of Conditions Information and Policy Services, Ingrid Singh,
Director General of the Defence Community Organisation, Michael Callan, Director Joint Health
Support Agency, Group Captain Michael Seah and Federal Agent Delia Quigley, who presented on
the Australian Federal Police’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer Network, which she chairs.
‘It is difficult for some members to understand the difficulties surrounding the life journey of others,’
Agent Quigley said.
‘Diversity is about acceptance, not mere tolerance.’ One participant, Corporal Elissa Croker, said that
it was vital that everyone understood homophobia was unacceptable.
‘It not only affects us, but also our heterosexual colleagues who have family and/or friends in the
GLBT community. This negativity impacts on everyone’s capability,’ said Corporal Croker.
DEFGLIS Chair Chief Petty Officer Stuart O’Brien ended the seminar saying, ‘Fairness and
Resolution and DEFGLIS have shown that the ADF has embraced diversity within and shown the
wider community how inclusive the ADF has become.’
Contact: Rose Hays, Fairness and Resolution Branch
Phone: 02 6127 2963
New action plan for women to benefit all ADF families
A new action plan has been developed to better support ADF women to balance
their career and family life.
The Chief of the Defence Force Action Plan for the Recruitment and Retention of Women will ensure
that women joining the ADF have a workplace that provides the conditions of service and flexibility
they need to support their circumstances. And while the plan is aimed at improving recruitment and
retention of women, it will have benefits for all ADF members.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said that he hoped the Plan would
position the ADF as an attractive employment option for women.
‘I want the ADF to be a workplace that is renowned within Australia as a place that values its female
members, and provides them with conditions of service that support, enable and encourage their
personal circumstances whatever they may be,’ he said.
The Plan is a result of the findings of a series of roundtables, which were held during the past 18
months with serving women members, and the work of the CDF’s Women’s Reference Group.
Several themes emerged from the discussions, in particular the need for better support to allow
members to find a balance between their career and family commitments.
The Action Plan will introduce:
• a range of mentoring, coaching, and networking programs
• an education program for senior and middle managers on the need for a more gender balanced
• new flexible work policies and options eg. purchasing additional leave and providing parents the
opportunity to work part-time, where this is possible, within two years of the birth or adoption of a
Access to a broader range of childcare arrangements, including out-of-hours care, is also being
investigated. Defence recognises the need for all ADF members to be able to build productive and
rewarding military careers without sacrificing any personal commitments to their families. This is an
essential part of ensuring Defence retains the best people.
To achieve this, the new Action Plan will build on a foundation of work that already provides flexible
working arrangements including:
• temporary home located work
• variable working hours, and
• part-time leave without pay
The Action Plan will also look at the barriers to the recruitment of women, and strategies to help
support ADF members when their career needs are competing with their family demands.
ADF families are the most important supporting element to the ADF’s members and their mission.
Making military life and family life strongly linked is a crucial step in the ADF evolving to become more
in line with modern Australian society. As major milestones are reached in CDF’s Action Plan, dfm will
continue to keep you informed.
Finding more information
You can find further information on existing Flexible Work Arrangements in Defence Instruction
(General) Personnel 49-4 – Flexible work arrangements for members of the Australian Defence
Force. Further information on the Action Plan can be found at the following website:
‘Lights, camera, action’ for Defence families
By the DHA Communication team
A new DVD produced by Defence Housing Australia (DHA) and Defence Families of
Australia (DFA) will provide DHA staff with a better understanding of the stresses of
WHO EVER HEARD OF A THAT COULD HELP YOU MOVE
In the DVD, Nicole Quinn, National Convenor for DFA and a Defence spouse for 13 years, speaks
openly and frankly about the demands on modern Defence families. Nicole also discusses common
issues that Defence families face, as well as the role that DHA plays when it comes to moving
‘As the spouse of a serving member, my family and I have moved countless times,’ says Nicole.
‘Sure, it gets easier as you go, but we certainly didn’t know what we were doing the first time
around… any extra advice and help that DHA can offer, particularly to new Defence families, can
make all the difference to a family at such a stressful point in their life’.
The DVD is an initiative of DHA, and is a positive step in building a stronger relationship with Defence
families. According to DHA’s Australian Capital Territory Regional Manager, Howard Faulks, it
provides staff with a valuable resource.
‘The DVD will become a valuable part of our education program, which will provide an important
background for new staff members and a reminder for existing staff,’ said Howard.
‘One of the key elements that Nicole talks about is the change in Defence lifestyle and the needs of a
modern Defence family. An understanding of these changes is critical in maintaining and improving
our level of customer service.’
The DVD is expected to be distributed to DHA Housing Management Centres across the country
over the next few months.
2010 Group Rent Scheme Adjustment
by the Personnel Policy and Employment Conditions Branch
The Group Rent Scheme (GRS) will be updated in April 2010 to keep pace with the
Australian rental market. It is a long standing policy for Defence to subsidise 50% of
the national cost of members’ rent. Defence is currently subsidising more than the
intended 50%, and the aim of the GRS changes is to assist Defence in achieving the
What are the changes?
The timing of the 2010 adjustment has been brought forward to April. This completes the program to
move the GRS adjustment closer to the time when the rent paid by Defence increases at the
beginning of January each year. This program has seen adjustments move from November
in 2007, to July in 2009, to April in 2010. From 2010, increases to GRS contributions will occur
annually during the March-April timeframe.
The amount of increase in member contributions is not yet known. This will be calculated once the
rent paid by Defence for Service housing has been increased in January 2010.
Additionally, from next year Defence will start actively working towards achieving its 50% contribution
How will I be notified how much my contribution will change?
Defence provides a minimum six weeks notice of GRS adjustments. Notice of the amount and exact
timing of the next GRS adjustment will be provided by early March 2010. This notice will be provided
to members through release of a Message to all units and publication of a DEFGRAM.
Information on the adjustment will also be published on the Defence Pay & Conditions intranet and
internet sites, in the Service newspapers and in the Autumn edition of Defence Family Matters.
Defence is committed to keeping families informed of changes to ADF employment benefits,
particularly when the serving member is away from the home. If you would like to learn more about
GRS changes, lease access the Pay and Conditions (PAC) website (see ad on bottom right).
Alternatively, by registering with the Defence Families of Australia website, families can access
information on changes to the ADF employment offer, including GRS, as they occur.
Assistance to members, and their families, who have been
on operational service
Feeling stressed, tired and alone? Do you feel you are unable to cope with the ups
and downs of being in a relationship with a veteran or peacekeeper?
VVCS CAN HELP
We can equip you with the skills to cope with life’s challenges and assist you in maintaining a positive
relationship with your partner.
Did you know you are eligible for VVCS counselling services if you are:
a partner of a veteran or peacekeeper;
a partner of a current serving ADF member who has operational service;
a war widow/widower;
an ex-partner of a veteran or peacekeeper within five years of separation; or
a partner of an ex-ADF member with a mental health condition as a DVA-accepted disability
individual, couple and family counselling;
after hours telephone crisis counselling via Veterans Line;
programs designed specifically for partners including workshops on understanding PTSD,
anger management, self-care strategies and self esteem; and
Lifestyle Management Program – a residential program designed for veterans and their
We can help you work through issues associated with your partner’s deployment, adjusting to civilian
life and war-related trauma.
Relieve some of the stress on you and your family: call us today or visit our website.
VVCS Web: www.dva.gov.au/health_and_wellbeing/health_programs/vvcs
Phone: 1800 011 046
A Military Support Officer Abroad
By Lieutenant Lloyd Webb, Royal Australian Navy
From my time in Timor this year as part of OPERATION ASTUTE I gained a valuable opportunity to
experience the conditions under which our deployed personnel live and operate, and to witness a
rotation of battle groups in and out of the operational area. This also allowed me to have a first hand
experience of the expectations of members preparing to return home, and the different coping
mechanisms of new members managing family separation throughout their deployment.
In particular, as a Naval Officer, I have experienced a land deployment for the first time. This has
included spartan messing arrangements within the main compounds and those in field situations; a
lack of normal sanitary facilities; limited communications; and a requirement to conform to force
protection protocol. These restrictions place a major impost on the freedom which we take for granted
in our everyday living in Australia and highlight the sacrifices our servicemen and women endure to
meet our operational requirements.
As a Military Support Officer, this deployment experience allows me to present members and their
families more useful information on the expectations of a deployment. Having the opportunity to
communicate in the area of operations with other deployed members you become aware of the
variety of coping skills that our service personnel and their families use to manage what is often a
very difficult period.
On a personal side, I have been fortunate to have had opportunity to experience a wide variety of
activities whilst on deployment. There have been parades of the different nations’ personnel serving in
Timor Leste as they prepare for return to their home country; memorial services for our personnel who
have lost their lives serving in Timor Leste; the solidarity ceremony between the Timorese Police and
Army; the opportunity to view our soldiers training in the field; and the most important of all, to
experience a rebuilding of Timor Leste through self reliance and the help of external agencies like our
International Stabilisation Force.
Our service personnel should take great pride in their participation in this nation’s rebuilding as each
and every one of them has made a contribution through their unselfish dedication and personal
Lieutenant Lloyd Webb is a Military Support Officer at DCO Frankston
Straight to the pool room
By Darren Gallagher
Before I get into this, take a look around your lounge room. Do you see them? No? Well generally you
will not, but they are in your home I guarantee it. Those collectables that you are stockpiling. The port
decanters from decommissioned ships, the wooden crests from past postings or the photo with
everyone’s signature round the edge. There is the wooden name bar, the engraved mug, the hip
flask, the shot glass, the felt pennant and the all precious engraved pen set. Ah militaria, you can’t not
have it, and you generally can’t display it. So - along with your old rank badges, name bars, tie pins
and uniforms - you store them in a suitcase in the spare-room or the garage in that box that you didn’t
bother unpacking on this particular move.
‘Yep,’ you say to yourself, ‘I’m going to display that one day.’ - Are you? Are you really?
Please don’t get me wrong. My home is riddled with things that I don’t need. Certainly all of the above,
plus the graduation programs, course photos containing people whose names I have long forgotten.
Old hats, shoes and even a Zippo lighter from a unit I was with once....and I have never smoked. So
why do we need this stuff? If we have no intention to do anything with it, why do we keep it?
I was watching that great Aussie movie, ‘The Castle’ recently. What I love about this movie - well, one
of the things - is ‘The Pool Room’. The dad has his designated spot where the good things get put.
He’s not stowing them in boxes, he is getting them up there for all to see. Let’s also think now about
why we don’t have a ‘Pool Room’ of our own. Is it because we - as a service family - move so much?
It’s very conceivable to think that we spend so much time moving and so much more time saying,
‘One day I’ll put this stuff on display’, that we never really get around to doing it. Next thing you know,
you simply give up and sell your massive brass bell or Pace-Stick that you felt you ‘needed’.
So what to do then? We know there is nothing really stopping us from having a designated trophy
room in our homes, but it is a hard thing to set up while you are still in the service, isn’t it? It feels a
little premature to do it while you are still in, thus it is a waiting game and heck, those boxes in the
shed aren’t going anywhere. What we’d love to know is, if any of you out there have a trophy room,
and would you mind if we came to check it out. Let us know, or alternatively, snap a photo or two and
send them to the editor. You saved it all up, you may as well show us.
Book Review: With Healing Hands:
The untold story of Australian civilian surgical teams in Vietnam by Gary
McKay and Elizabeth Stewart
Published by Allen & Unwin, 2009
Reviewed by: Nicole Snyder
Nestled among more than 50,000 Australians who served in Vietnam during one of Australia’s most
politically divisive periods was a group of 450 volunteer civilian surgeons, doctors, nurses and
specialists who heeded the South Vietnamese government’s call to its allies for medical assistance.
With Healing Hands tells the story of the surgical teams who served in rotations from 1964 to 1972 in
Bien Hoa, Ba Ria, Vung Tau and Long Xuyen. With most of Vietnam’s doctors conscripted to fight, an
already stretched healthcare system faced collapse in the early stages of the war and later verged on
catastrophe when civilian and military casualties increased. The role of the surgeons, doctors, nurses
and specialists expanded from managing day-today civilian traumas to caring for wounded allied
and Vietnamese soldiers while working in basic conditions where electricity and clean water could not
be guaranteed and supplies were often procured by bartering.
Former rifle platoon commander, Gary McKay, and historian, Elizabeth Stewart, have brought to life
the stories of the volunteers that reflect their altruism to simply help because they could. The surgical
teams ended up filling greater roles as ambassadors and educators, and although their own lives
were sometimes at risk during battles, all volunteers who were interviewed said they didn’t regret
heeding the call.
dfm has one copy of With Healing Hands to give away to a reader. Email or mail dfm
by January 13 with the subject of Healing and your address
Looking Forward, Looking Back:
Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army by Christopher
Published by Big Sky Publishing Pty Ltd.
Reviewed: by Leila Fetter
It has often been said that an Army marches on its stomach. This may indeed be the case, but may
actually be more true to say that an Army marches on the experiences and traditions of generations of
To the outside observer, these can look like an incomprehensible, impenetrable mass of confusion -
in fact, even for someone who has worked in this environment for a number of years, the origins of
many traditions seem a mystery to the very people who are continuing them. Christopher Jobson’s
new book, Looking Forward Looking Back, gives light and clarity to this subject in a single handy
The traditions in the Australian Army have long-standing historical antecedents - from basic things like
uniforms, ranks and insignia to Unit formations and ceremonial accoutrements. Jobson has gathered
the facts together from a wide variety of sources and arranged them in an easily-comprehensible
order. So if you would like to find out the difference between a pace stick and a swagger stick, or if
you’d like to know the reason the Pioneer Sergeant wears an apron and carries an axe - all these
facts are explained and their history made clear. In many cases the historical antecedents of our
current traditions go back centuries, and having explanations of the origins and facts behind the
more bizarre examples is very helpful. It also provides a very interesting new perspective on the
history of warfare and how war fighting has changed over the centuries.
The book can be used as a reference book or simply as a worthwhile cover-tocover read - it is
interesting, entertaining, amusing and often extremely touching. There is a level of assumed
knowledge which is not always completely explained, and the amount of detail for entries varies quite
a lot, presumably being dependent upon the availability of information. These are very minor
criticisms, though - the book is well-researched and a gold mine of interesting facts and I would
consider it to be a very useful addition to any library on Australian military history. I hope that we can
soon add similar volumes on the culture and traditions of the Navy and Air Force, as this book clearly
demonstrate that any subject, if studied in sufficient detail, can be absolutely fascinating.
dfm has one copy of Looking Forward, Looking Back to give away to a lucky reader.
To enter the draw email or mail dfm with the subject of Looking Forward, including
your address details, by January 13.
Family member deployed & need Defence assistance for welfare or
family support services?
Then call the National Welfare Coordination Centre (NWCC). The NWCC is a 24/7 call centre that provides
the families of members who are away from home with a confidential central point of contact for the referral of
welfare and family support services.
Phone: 1800 801 026
Off to War: Soldiers’ children speak by Deborah Ellis
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, 2009 • ISBN: 9781741756791 • Reviewed by Michael Hughes
Long-haul truck drivers, engineers, miners, oil-rig workers, merchant sailors –
no matter the profession that takes them away, the fact a parent is away can
cause stresses and strain on the family left behind.
Military families, however, endure even greater challenges with these absences. Time apart is often
longer, with half year deployments common in times of increased operational tempo. And, added to
this burden, is the fact that a parent is often in a dangerous place, performing risky duties on behalf of
Off to War is a collection of interviews with children of military families from similar cultural
backgrounds, being from Australian, Canadian, or US military families. The children, aged from six to
18, tell the author how they feel about deployments, the impact it has on them and
the family unit, their thoughts and experiences during the times apart and together, as well as their
hopes for the future – both in the short-term and their own plans for their career.
In reading the book, you get a sense of the challenge of being in such a family. From the minor
inconvenience of having to do more around the house when mum or dad is away, through to the
worries and fears for parents as they go, and the sadness at their not being present, either
day-to-day or for the big moments.
The beauty of the book is that it gives an honest glimpse of what goes on in a child’s head during
these times. The children also candidly discuss what works for them, and what does not – so this can
also be of help to those who assist families.
Another advantage of the book is that children also describe methods their parents go to in order to
minimise absence related stresses. Techniques such as the making of gifts, performing charity work
for children in those deployment zones, or even simple things like giving a younger child a pillow with
Daddy’s “perfume” sprayed on it to remind them of their father.
One thing that stood out for me in the book was when children spoke of their own career desires,
almost to a person they wished to work helping others - such as being vets, doctors, nurses, medics,
or lawyers. It says a lot about military families that their children grow up wanting to give back to the
community, or engage in careers that have a higher purpose beyond simply salary.
dfm has three copies of Off to War to give-away to readers. To enter the draw please
email dfm by 13 January 2010. Winners will be announced in the Autumn edition of
CADET INFORMATION FOR FAMILIES
The Australian Defence Force Cadets is a community-based youth development organisation
of 22,000 cadets and approximately 2,300 cadet staff in 454 units and squadrons across Australia.
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