Whilst this is primarily a real estate website, I will, from time-to-time, put articles here that relate to my time as a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, especially where military and former military personnel are being treated with contempt. This is one of those articles. It was written by Gordon Wright on Monday 27 June 2011…
Only weeks ago a Senior Constable by the name of Damien Leeding was killed during a robbery at a tavern only a kilometre from my home. The out-pouring of grief and support for the family of the policeman from the media and the community was extraordinary, with a over a million dollars raised for the family by businesses and the general public.
During the interval between the killing and the burial of the policeman, two more Australian solders died whilst on overseas deployment. Apart from a brief mention on the news, there were no collections for the family, and only a brief consolatory comment from the Prime Minister.
I do applaud the public for their support of Damien Leeding, but unfortunately from the response to the deaths of the soldiers, I can only conclude that military people are being treated as second-class citizens. The same politicians that give the troops a pat on the back for their excellent work, are the same politicians that treat ex-service people with contempt when they retire after many years of faithful service.
Military life is very unique, and when soldiers die they do so without the luxury of well-equipped hospitals, and their family close by. Isn’t it time to treat the people that have laid down their lives, and their human rights in the defence of this great country, with equal respect?
Sixty-Minutes last week ran a story on the soldiers that returned to Australia with horrific injuries, and were classified as Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI). However as an example of their tough spirit, they were reducing their individual issues by training for the Paralympic Games. One soldier mentioned the support the government was giving him with his studies, but unfortunately what the government will not tell the TPIs, is how they will be discriminated against once they leave the service. Their pensions will be eroded over time, and should they die, their family is only entitled to 5/8ths of the soldier’s paltry pension.
But instead of these feel good human interest stories, the media needs to get off their collective butts and tackle the major issue that affects all military personnel… the government discrimination against our own military personnel, past and present. The people that give the most in support of freedom in our great country, are the ones that receive the least support from its citizens, media, and the government.
The whole Australian culture was built upon a ‘fair go,’ except it seems, if you chose to protect our way-of-life.