The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) shares news via this website, our social media pages and at events.
22 April 2021
RSL ANZAC AWARDS 2021
The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) today announced the recipients of the 2021 RSL ANZAC of the Year awards.
The ANZAC of the Year Awards are made annually ‘to recognise the efforts and achievements of up to seven Australians who have given service to their fellow Australians and to the community in a positive, selfless and compassionate manner.’
The nominations for the ANZAC Awards are assessed and selected by the National RSL ANZAC Awards Committee whose members include, Chairman – Greg Melick, RSL National President; Paul Singer, Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia; Peter Rush, Assistant Secretary Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet; former Senator, Margaret Reid and Phil Winter, RSL National CEO.
The 2021 recipients are:
- Mr Bill Collidge of Riverton, WA – in recognition of his many years of selflessness and extraordinary service in association with the WA Police Force and the RSL, supporting welfare and employment projects for veterans and their families, disadvantaged youth, Defence Force Cadets WA and the wider community of Riverton.
- Mr Denis Thompson of the Sunshine Coast, QLD – in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to provide support to veterans through the Cooroy Pomona RSL Sub-Branch, the RSL Queensland Sunshine Coast District and to the wider community of the Sunshine Coast.
The RSL National Board, on behalf of the League, have extended their congratulations to Mr Collidge and Mr Thompson.
RSL National President, Greg Melick said; “the award recipients exemplify the Spirit of ANZAC in the community through their dedication and commitment to the benefit of others. They are exemplars of community service and an inspiration to all Australians.”
20 April 2021
COMMEMORATING ANZAC DAY
When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of ANZAC Day services and marches across Australia last year, the nation united and rallied to Light Up The Dawn on driveways, balconies and front yards to let veterans know that their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Whether gathering for public services or participating in private reflections, this year Australians have a choice in how they honour the service and sacrifice of veterans on ANZAC Day.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, various RSL sub-branches across the nation will safely host numerous events, services and marches for the public to attend on Sunday 25 April.
Acknowledging that some people may still feel uncomfortable in crowd situations, RSL Australia encourages those people to again Light Up The Dawn and stream a digital dawn service at 6am through lightupthedawn.com.au.
RSL National President Greg Melick said, “Regardless of how Australians choose to mark ANZAC Day, the most important thing is to pause and reflect on those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation.
“As this pandemic begins to ease, we are grateful to offer people a choice in 2021 in how they pay their respects, whether at a Dawn Service, marching with their mates, or honouring our veterans with personal reflection.
“ANZAC Day 2021 holds special significance as it marks major milestones for all three branches of Australia’s armed services.
“The RAN marks 110 years since it was granted the ‘Royal’ title by His Majesty King George V, the Australian Army recognises the two million Australians who have served, and continue to serve, under the Rising Sun Badge for the past 120 years, and the RAAF celebrates 100 years of service.
“Our armed services have loyally and courageously defended our nation for more than 100 years and I encourage all Australians to place our servicemen and women – past and present – at the front of our thoughts this ANZAC Day,” Greg Melick said.
For a full list of RSL ANZAC Day commemorative services and more information about Light Up The Dawn, visit lightupthedawn.com.au .
19 April 2021
RSL WILL FULLY SUPPORT ROYAL COMMISSION
The Returned & Services League (RSL) reiterates its previous commitments to provide its full support for the Royal Commission established by the Federal Government to investigate the incidence of veteran and Defence personnel suicide.
RSL National President Major General Greg Melick said the organisation looked forward to providing input to the development of terms of reference, participate in hearings and continuing to provide advice and support to the Federal Government.
“The RSL and its veteran members will continue to provide support to find solutions that deal with the scourge of veterans’ suicide which impacts severely on the entire veteran community,” General Melick said.
“The issue of veterans’ mental health and veteran suicide is supremely important and must be addressed as a matter of urgency; the RSL are calling for immediate action with no further delay.
“As I have said on behalf of the RSL previously, less than one in four of the recommendations of the many previous inquiries into veterans’ mental health issues have been implemented, so the time for action is long passed.
“While the suicide rate in the armed services is well below the national average, among veterans, it is four times the national average. That is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.”
General Melick said the terms of reference should be wide-ranging and seek to determine all the factors contributing to the poor mental health outcomes experienced by veterans and the alarming incidence of suicide and attempted suicides. Veteran organisations like the RSL must be involved in establishing these.
“The sooner the Royal Commission is established, the sooner proper support can be provided to veterans and any interim recommendations should be implemented along the way, rather than awaiting a final report,” he said.
National media contact: Tony Harrison | email@example.com l 0417 318 178
30 March 2021
Greg Melick apologises to Julie-Ann Finney for comments he made in a recent private email, not intended for dissemination, but nevertheless published online by ABC News.
“I apologise for any distress that may have been suffered by Ms Finney and hope that she can share her personal story at a soon to be convened Royal Commission,” Mr Melick said.
“I confirm RSL’s several previous and recent commitments to working with the Australian Government to support whatever body is established, including a Royal Commission, to deal with the scourge of veteran suicide”.
26 March 2021
RSL WILL FULLY SUPPORT ROYAL COMMISSION
The Returned & Services League (RSL) will fully support the establishment of whatever body is approved by the Australian Parliament to deal with the scourge of veterans’ suicide including a Royal Commission.
RSL National President Greg Melick said while the majority of the RSL favoured a standing commission into veterans’ suicide, which in effect would be a standing Royal Commission with powers to follow up its own recommendations, rather than a ‘one off’ Royal Commission, all members would fully support any like body approved by Parliament.
General Melick called for immediate action with no further delay.
He said veterans and veterans’ organisations were tired of their needs being subjected to political processes and that the collapse of bi-partisan support for an enduring commission was both unfortunate and disappointing.
“The issue of veterans’ mental health and veteran suicide is far too important to argue over”.
“The RSL’s wish is for politicians of all persuasions to start contributing to solutions to veteran mental health issues,” he said.
“As has been noted in the current debate, less than one in four of the recommendations of the many previous inquiries into veterans’ mental health issues have been implemented, so the time for action is long-passed.
General Melick said the sooner the Royal Commission or like body was established, the sooner proper support could be provided to veterans.
“Please, establish it immediately and let us move forward including a commitment to implement any interim recommendations rather than awaiting a final report” he said.
UPDATE FOR MEMBERS
22 March 2019
ACNC revokes direction
For the past 12 months, under direction of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), the board of RSL National has been working to modernise its governance and financial controls.
The board is now pleased to report that the ACNC direction has been revoked by the Commissioner as it is ‘no longer necessary or appropriate’.
The ACNC notes that RSL National has undergone ‘significant changes to its leadership and governance … and has entered in to a voluntary Compliance Agreement with the ACNC. This provides confidence in the Charity’s commitment to implement the governance changes required to address the non-compliance, which in turn, contributes towards restoring public trust and confidence in the sector’.
The board is committed to pursuing important reforms aimed at rebuilding public confidence in RSL National’s operations, including the appointment of three independent directors and the election of a new national president.
UPDATE FOR MEMBERS
5 March 2019
The national board of the Returned & Services League of Australia has accepted the resignation of RSL NSW President James Brown as a national director.
The interim chair of RSL National John King said RSL NSW will be invited to nominate an alternative director to maintain the state’s representation on the national board.
“We thank James for his contribution and look forward to welcoming a new director from RSL NSW,” Mr King said.
“In the meantime, RSL National has started a nationwide process to elect a new national president.”
UPDATE FOR MEMBERS
15 January 2019
Police investigation and regulatory compliance
In early 2018, at the direction of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC), the board of RSL National commissioned an independent review of the national office’s governance and compliance processes.
This review identified the need for significant modernisation within RSL National to improve accountability and transparency. The reforms include formalising a strategic direction for RSL National, appointing compliance, finance and audit specialists to the board, and holding a forensic investigation of RSL National accounts and Trusts over the past five years
The RSL National board subsequently commissioned a financial audit for the years 2009-2014.
The board provided the findings of this audit to the ACNC and also to police for further investigation and cannot make further comment on the findings while a police inquiry is ongoing.
In the meantime, the board of RSL National has been working closely with the ACNC to fulfill its directions, including:
- A strategic plan has been established,
- Governance frameworks are being refreshed,
- A board charter and code of conduct are being laid out,
- An audit committee is being established to scrutinise financial statements, and
- A board renewal process is underway with three independent directors to be appointed this year.
The volunteer board has committed to a large amount of work through 2019 to rebuild public trust and confidence in the RSL National operations.
Part of that work has been to reorganise staffing of the national office in order to reduce administrative costs and focus on the best interests and welfare of Australian veterans and their families.
The restructure, supported by the state and territory RSL Branches, has streamlined the national office to a small number of employees who provide secretariat and management support to the National board and various committees, such as the National Veterans Affairs Committee.
This consolidation allows RSL National to strengthen its advocacy role at a Federal level and focus on driving important policy and systemic reform in support of veterans and the wider Defence community.
The role of RSL National
The RSL National board is made up of the national President and representatives of each State Branch. RSL National is a public company and separate legal entity. Its role is to develop strategies and policies with the principal purpose of promoting the interests and welfare of serving and ex-serving men and women of the Australian Defence Force and their dependents (specifically, as per the Objects of the RSL, laid out in the Constitution).
The RSL functions as a federation, with each State and Territory operating separately to provide support services to veterans and their families.
To access news from State and Territory Branches or seek assistance in your location, contact details are available at RSL Branches