National defence is the first responsibility of our government and always has been.
Our common defence is also a universal civic obligation of Australian citizenship and therefore a responsibility of every Australian.
These governmental and universal civic responsibilities include making sure that:
our defence force is adequately resourced and equipped for the tasks we, the Australian people, expect and commit it to do on our behalf;
our defence force is employed and deployed properly in the national interest;
the tasks we commit our fellow Australians in the ADF to do are not endangered, undermined or otherwise made more difficult by careless or reckless public debate or behaviour, or treacherous actions, by any Australian;
the men and women serving in our defence force are properly looked after by us during and after their service (including long afterwards if they are wounded, injured or ill as a result);
their families are adequately supported and compensated should the men and women of our defence force be killed in action or when training for war at other times; and
their families are also adequately supported generally in recognition of the unique conditions and stresses that defence force service has on the whole family of the people involved.
As set out below, Australians from all walks of life can support our national defence efforts directly and indirectly in various ways.
Send a message to our diggers and their families
Australians and others wishing to send general messages of thanks and support to members of our defence force serving overseas in our common defence, or to their families in Australia, can use the following Department of Defence email links:
These are collective addresses and are not suitable for you to send messages to individual defence force personnel or their families.
Some of your messages (without identifiable attribution to you) may also be reproduced in defence force newspapers.
Since 1986 Defence Families of Australia (DFA), previously known as the National Consultative Group of Service Families, has worked to assist the families of defence force members and to provide a national forum to express their views.
The DFA is sponsored by the Department of Defence and assists in advising Ministers, senior ADF officers and departmental officials of the effects on families of government and defence force policies.
Their website may be found at http://www.dfa.org.au/index.php and their national office in Canberra can be contacted on 1800-100-509.
The Defence Reserves Support Council (DRSC) works within the broad Australian community to enhance the availability and efficiency of defence force reservists as both part-time military personnel and as civilians from across our whole community.
Particularly through the council's liaison with, and participant membership from, peak employer organisations, the ACTU, other national organisations and the community in general.
The DRSC is a three-tiered organisation comprising an executive, a national council, and State, Territory and in some cases regional committees.
The work of the council is supported by Reserve and Employer Support Division in the Department of Defence. The division also administers various programs targeted at eradicating or minimising difficulties between a reservist's civilian and military employment obligations.
The DRSC website may be found at http://www.defencereservessupport.gov.au/defence-reserves-support-council.aspx and their national office in Canberra can be contacted on 1800-803-485.
Their focus is on giving those who have served our country the dignity they deserve and the chance to do and be whatever they choose.
It also assists with the care and rehabilitation of commando and supporting personnel who have been wounded or injured. These comprise around half of our casualties from the Afghanistan War and some of these wounds and injuries have ended the military careers of the soldiers involved.
The Trust operates on the principle that the families of these dedicated Australians deserve peace of mind that, should the worst happen, they will be cared for near to their normal standard of living. And that the start in life their children would have received had they not lost their father, or had he not been wounded, is still going to be there.
This work seeks assistance and donations from all Australians.
- The Australian Veterans PTSD Network on Facebook was set up by the Department of Veteran Affairs in late April 2011.
The network's facebook page may be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Australian-Veterans-PTSD-Network/137276826365412
The page incorporates links to the relevant parts of the DVA website, such as:
the various programs available for PTSD sufferers at http://www.dva.gov.au/health_and_wellbeing/health_programs/vvcs/services/Pages/group.aspx
the veterans and veterans families counselling service (VVCS) at http://www.dva.gov.au/health_and_wellbeing/health_programs/vvcs/Pages/index.aspx
- In late August 2012 a facebook page was set up for "Australians disgusted by the consistent media and governmental bias against past and present members of the Australian defence force".
- The ADA has had no involvement in the establishment or operation of this page but generally supports the stated motivation of its founders.
- We will continue to do so while discussion on the page remains responsible, objective and helpful to informed public debate.
- Their facebook page may be found at http://www.facebook.com/AustraliansDisgustedByTheMistreatmentOfOurMilitary
Help with defence force personnel or veterans matters
Many organisations are dedicated to helping current or former defence force personnel and their famiies. Key ones include the:
Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA);
- Returned and Services League (RSL);
- Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Servicemen and Women (TPI);
- Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (http://www.dva.gov.au/health_and_wellbeing/health_programs/vvcs/Pages/index.aspx and 1800-011-046);
- Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA); and
The Australia Defence Association, on the other hand, is the national public-interest watchdog organisation for strategic security, defence and wider national security issues.
While we naturally protect the confidentiality of any contact with us by ensuring it is conducted on a strictly one-to-one basis, we are not an ex-Service or other welfare organisation.
Our FAQ pages explain in more detail why it is not our role, nor are we resourced or staffed, to assist individuals or their families with welfare matters.
We also take great care that any involvement by us does not hamper the provision of individual assistance by the relevant welfare organisation.
Where the issue involves current or future defence capability matters generally we help such welfare organisations with their public advocacy efforts or with their lobbying of governments and others.
Welfare of defence force families
Specific enquiries about welfare or administrative matters concerning the families of defence force members are generally best directed to the nearest office of the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) within the Department of Defence.
Your telephone directory should provide a local office-hours contact number.
Within the DCO, the National Welfare Co-ordination Centre (NWCC) provides a 24-hour point of contact for the families of defence force members deployed away from home on operations or major exercises.
NWCC contacts are:
- telephone: 1800-801-026 (24-hour and toll-free from landline telephones)
- website: http://www.defence.gov.au/NWCC/