Epping RSL sub-Branch President’s Message,January-March 2018
As we approach a new year it is an opportunity to look back at aspects of the past as well as looking to the future, perhaps to glimpse changes that may impact upon our life and our relationship with others.
As a result of the open and public inquiry into the operations of the RSL State Branch chaired by Justice Bergin, which concluded late last year, we have witnessed uncomplimentary publicity as evidence given at that time exposed some irregular or perhaps unlawful procedures of the administration within State Branch. Such publicity has been felt by members of all sub-Branches who have been shocked to learn that such malpractices have extended over some years. The public enquiry has concluded its investigation and we await, early in 2018, the publication of the report of those proceedings which will comment upon the disclosures at those hearings and possibly report on certain actions that may have been illegal and outside the constitution of league. Currently, as an immediate result of some of the revelations of that inquiry, we at sub-Branch level are experiencing changes in the operation of State Branch as it modifies or abandons previous operational practices. It is certain that the operations of sub-Branches and the relationship between State Branch and the sub-Branches will be quite different beyond 2018. With any such changes that occur it is still important that we continue the spirit of cooperation within the ranks as we expand our welfare programs and not forgetting the spirit of Anzac of mates helping mates.
February 19th next will be the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin by the Imperial Japanese Air Force during WW2. It was a day of awakening when the war in the Pacific reached our shores. That day, about which much has been spoken and published, is significant in the history of Australia. At that time Australia was ill-prepared and far from being in any position to protect its shores, should an enemy so choose to invade. If the enemy would really have understood the parlous state of our home defences then we might have been subjected to extended attacks far more intense that the 18 months of air strikes across northern Australia. It was for such a possibility that the media of the day was so heavily censored.
The Asia Pacific Region represents a large surface area of the earth which is surrounded by many sovereign nations, several of whom have mutual free trade agreements with Australia; but at the same time there are rumbles of territorial ambitions, and alignments to secure unto themselves food and energy resources, all of which contribute to subtle tensions between nations. Change is the ever-present vigour that has driven and shaped our society since the beginning of time and with an appreciation of our history, whilst having an awareness of the present, with the courage for continuing peace into tomorrow, our nation can continue to enjoy its relationship with neighbours in the pacific ever conscious that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. With the potential that the alliances upon which our nation has previously enjoyed may not be as predictable into tomorrow, may mean that peace in the region will have to be reflected in the Australian national budget for defence and of the composition of our defence forces. It is imperative that our nation continues to be supportive of our defence forces, who like our forebears, in previous confrontations to world peace, demonstrated a tenacity of the challenge and perseverance to the preservation of peace. We remember our mates in the permanent forces and in the reserves who are our frontline. Let us not forget them and their personal efforts in the defence of our nation.
John K Curdie OAM