Department of Veterans' Affairs (Australia)

The Department of Veterans' Affairs is a department of the Government of Australia, established in 1976, and charged with the responsibility of delivering government programs for war veterans, members of the Australian Defence Force, members of the Australian Federal Police, and their dependants. The Repatriation Commission's Day-to-Day manager is the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

For administration purposes, the department forms part of the Defence portfolio.[5] The Minister for Defence acts on behalf of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs within the Cabinet.

The head of the department is the Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs, currently Simon Lewis PSM,[4] who is responsible to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, the Minister for Defence Personnel, and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, currently the Hon. Darren Chester MP. The Secretary of the Department also has the responsibility of the Repatriation Commission.

Department of Veterans' Affairs
Department of Veterans' Affairs (Australia) logo
Department overview
Formed5 October 1976
Preceding Department
JurisdictionCommonwealth Government
Employees2,055 (at April 2013)[1]
Minister responsible
Department executive
Child agencies

Operational activities

The functions of the department are broadly classified into the following matters:[5]

  • Repatriation income support, compensation and health program for veterans, members of the Defence Force, certain mariners and their dependants
  • Commemorations, including promotion of understanding of Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and Vietnam Veterans' Day
  • War graves
  • Defence Service Homes


In carrying out its functions, the department administers the following agencies:[2][6][7][8]

Key legislation

The Department of Veterans' Affairs is responsible for administration of several key Acts:[9]

Key officeholders

Department secretary

The Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs is Liz Cosson, since May 2018. In addition to her role of departmental secretary, she is also the President of the Repatriation Commission and Chair of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.[10]

Below is a full list of the Department's Secretaries since it was established.

Order Official Official title Date appointment
Date appointment
Term in office Notes
1 Sir Richard Kingsland Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs 5 October 1976 1981 4–5 years served as Secretary to the Repatriation Department since 1970
2 Derek Volker 1981 14 November 1986 4–5 years
3 Noel Tanzer 18 December 1986 1 March 1989 2 years, 73 days
4 Lionel Woodward 1 March 1989 26 April 1994 5 years, 56 days
5 Allan Hawke 1994 1996 1–2 years
6 Neil Johnston 11 March 1996 30 September 2004 8 years, 203 days
7 Mark Sullivan 26 October 2004 2008 3–4 years
8 Ian Campbell 22 September 2008 5 July 2013 4 years, 286 days
9 Simon Lewis July 2013 18 May 2018 6 years, 46 days acting between May and July 2013
10 Liz Cosson 18 May 2018 incumbent

Other key officeholders

Other key officeholders in the department are the Deputy President of the Repatriation Commission, currently Major General Craig Orme; and the Repatriation Commissioner, currently Major General Mark Kelly AO DSC.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Australian Public Service Commission (2 December 2013), State of the Service Report: State of the Service Series 2012–13 (PDF), Australian Public Service Commission, p. 254, archived from the original (PDF) on 6 December 2013
  2. ^ a b CA 2107: Department of Veterans' Affairs, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 23 September 2013
  3. ^ Australian Government. "Budget Paper No. 1". 2013–14 Commonwealth Budget. Statement 6: Expenses and Net Capital Investment: Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 24 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b "The Secretary: Simon Lewis PSM". Department of Veterans' Affairs. Commonwealth of Australia. 11 July 2013. Archived from the original on 12 February 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Administrative Arrangements Order" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 18 September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  6. ^ CA 616: Australian War Memorial, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 23 September 2013
  7. ^ CA 4456: Office of Australian War Graves, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 23 September 2013
  8. ^ CA 225: Repatriation Commission [II], National Archives of Australia, retrieved 23 September 2013
  9. ^ "Legislation". Department of Veterans' Affairs. Commonwealth of Australia. 13 July 2009. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Ms. Liz Cosson AM CSC". Directory. Government of Australia. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Our structure". Department of Veterans' Affairs. Commonwealth of Australia. 5 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.

External links

Australia–Malaysia relations

Australia–Malaysia relations (Malay: Hubungan Australia–Malaysia; Jawi: هوبوڠن أستراليا–مليسيا) refers to bilateral foreign relations between Australia and Malaysia. Australia has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in Canberra. Both Australia and Malaysia are members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements and often participate in military exercises together.Occasional issues such as perceived Australian influence in Southeast Asian affairs, as well as the detention and execution of Australian citizens in Malaysia, further complicate relations between the two nations.

Battle of Ambon

The Battle of Ambon (30 January – 3 February 1942) occurred on the island of Ambon in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), during World War II. Japan invaded and conquered the island in a few days, facing Dutch, American and Australian forces. The chaotic and sometimes bloody fighting was followed by a series of major Japanese war crimes.

Battle of Buna–Gona

The Battle of Buna–Gona was part of the New Guinea campaign in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. It followed the conclusion of the Kokoda Track campaign and lasted from 16 November 1942 until 22 January 1943. The battle was fought by Australian and United States forces against the Japanese beachheads at Buna, Sanananda and Gona. From these, the Japanese had launched an overland attack on Port Moresby. In light of developments in the Solomon Islands campaign, Japanese forces approaching Port Moresby were ordered to withdraw to and secure these bases on the northern coast. Australian forces maintained contact as the Japanese conducted a well-ordered rearguard action. The Allied objective was to eject the Japanese forces from these positions and deny them their further use. The Japanese forces were skillful, well prepared and resolute in their defence. They had developed a strong network of well-concealed defences.

Operations in Papua and New Guinea were severely hampered by terrain, vegetation, climate, disease and the lack of infrastructure; these imposed significant logistical limitations. During the Kokoda Track campaign, these factors applied more-or-less equally to both belligerents but favoured the defender in attacks against well-fortified positions. The battlefield and logistical constraints limited the applicability of conventional Allied doctrine of manoeuvre and firepower. During the opening stages of the offensive, the Allies faced a severe shortage of food and ammunition. This problem was never entirely resolved. The battle also exposed critical problems with the suitability and performance of Allied equipment. The combat effectiveness of US forces, particularly the US 32nd Division, has been severely criticised. These factors were compounded by repeated demands from General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area, for a rapid conclusion to the battle. The demands were more to politically secure MacArthur's command than for any strategic need. In consequence, troops were hastily committed to battle on repeated occasions, increasing Allied losses and ultimately lengthening the battle.

Allied air power interrupted the Japanese capacity to reinforce and resupply the beachheads from Rabaul. This ultimately made the Japanese position untenable. There was widespread evidence of the Japanese defenders cannibalising the dead. In the closing stages of the battle, significant numbers of the defenders were withdrawn by sea or escaped overland toward the west and the Japanese base around Salamaua and Lae. The remaining garrison fought to the death, almost to the man.

The resolve and tenacity of the Japanese in defence was unprecedented and had not previously been encountered. It was to mark the desperate nature of fighting that characterised battles for the remainder of the Pacific war. For the Allies, there were a number of valuable but costly lessons in the conduct of jungle warfare. Allied losses in the battle were at a rate higher than that experienced at Guadalcanal. For the first time, the American public was confronted with the images of dead American troops.

Burma Railway

The Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, the Siam–Burma Railway, the Thai–Burma Railway and similar names, was a 415-kilometre (258 mi) railway between Ban Pong, Thailand, and Thanbyuzayat, Burma, built by the Empire of Japan in 1943 to support its forces in the Burma campaign of World War II. This railway completed the rail link between Bangkok, Thailand, and Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon). The name used by the Japanese Government is Thai–Men-Rensetsu-Tetsudou (泰緬連接鉄道), which means Thailand-Myanmar-Link-Railway.

The line was closed in 1947, but the section between Nong Pla Duk and Nam Tok was reopened ten years later.

Between 180,000 and 250,000 Southeast Asian civilian labourers (rōmusha) and about 61,000 Allied prisoners of war were subjected to forced labour during its construction. About 90,000 civilian labourers and more than 12,000 Allied prisoners died.

Digital identity in Australia

Digital identity in Australia is used by residents to validate who they are over digital mediums, such as over the Internet.

While many organisations use their own mechanisms, increasingly, aggregated digital identities are in use. Many Australian organisations leverage popular ubiquitous Internet identities such as those provided by social login services including Facebook, Google, Twitter and Linked In to perform the following functions:

Single sign-on to help users avoiding creating new user names and passwords for each site.

To provide some basic validation of identity

To provide some integration, especially with social media, e-mail and contacts

To identify the natural person behind a transaction for statutory purposes such as a monetary transferIn addition to these services, in order to validate identities in Australia additional services are used, such as government, and bank digital identities.

James Francis Thomas

James Francis Thomas (25 July 1861 – 11 November 1942), was a solicitor from Tenterfield, New South Wales.

As Major Thomas, he defended Lieutenants Peter Joseph Handcock, George Ramsdale Witton, and Harry "Breaker" Morant, of the Bushveldt Carbineers (BVC) of the British Army, in their trial for the murder of several Boer prisoners-of-war during the Second Boer War.

Ken Baxter

Ken "Fleetwood Smith" Baxter (20 August 1917 – 27 April 1959) was an Australian rules footballer in the Victorian Football League (VFL).

Nui Dat

Nui Dat (Núi Đất) is a former 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) base now part of Ba Ria city in Ba Ria–Vung Tau province, Vietnam. It is not the name of an official ward, it just means "dirt hill" (núi đất).

Ottoman minelayer Nusret

Nusret (Eng. 'the help of God') was a naval ship of the Ottoman Navy, which served as a minelayer during the Gallipoli Campaign, and later fulfilled various roles in the Turkish Navy; as minelayer (1927–1937), diver vessel (1937–1939) and tender (1939–1955). She was laid down in 1911 and launched from Schiff & Maschinenbau AG 'Germania' at Kiel, Germany on 4 December of that year.

Percy Black

Percy Charles Herbert Black, (12 December 1877 – 11 April 1917) was a decorated Australian soldier who served with the Australian Imperial Force in the First World War.

Stan Sismey

Stanley (Stan) George Sismey OAM (15 July 1916 – 19 June 2009) was an Australian cricketer. Sismey, who achieved the rank of Squadron Leader in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during World War II, was the official Commanding Officer of the Australian Services XI that played England in the Victory Test series that followed VE Day. He was not, however, the on-field Captain, an honour bestowed upon pre-war test cricketer Lindsay Hassett. Sismey was the team's wicketkeeper and a middle order batsman during the five unofficial Test matches.

In 1942, Sismey was seriously wounded when the flying boat of which he was the co-pilot was attacked by fighter aircraft of the Vichy French Air Force, over the Mediterranean Sea off Algeria. He received multiple wounds in his back from shrapnel. These injuries sometimes affected Sismey long after his recovery: he had to leave a ground during at least one game, because a piece of metal had begun to work its way out of his body. During the Services XI's tour of India in 1945, Sismey withdrew from the team temporarily so that surgeons could remove shrapnel.Although his cricket career was disrupted by the war, Sismey played 35 first-class matches between 1938 and 1952, mostly for New South Wales (NSW). He took 88 catches, made 18 stumpings and was a right-hand batsman with a first-class average of 17.68.According to an obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald, Sismey was unusual amongst wicketkeepers in that he did not break any of his fingers during his 25-year career.

The Tenterfield Star

The Tenterfield Star, also published as The Tenterfield Star and New England Chronicle and The Tenterfield Record and Border Advertiser, is a semi-weekly English language newspaper published in Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia.

Unit Colour Patch

Unit Colour Patches (or simply known as Colour Patches) identify the wearer as belonging to a military formation or unit.

It is believed that the Australian system of colour patches is based upon the small patches of colours or tartan worn on the puggarees of the pith helmets of members of a number of British Army units during the Second Boer War, the South African War of 1899–1902. While some modern Australian colour patches are recent creations, many date back to World War I.

The first approval for the use of distinctive unit colours for Australian army units came from Major General William Throsby Bridges for the 1st Division to fly flags to denote unit areas and lines in Egypt. C.E.W. Bean made the first reference to unit colour patches to be worn on the uniform, when he described Major General Bridges issuing 1st Australian Divisional Order No. 562 dated 8 March 1915, ordering that patches be worn, describing how they would look and ordering that they were to be worn on the uniform sleeve 1 inch (25 mm) below the shoulder. As this was an extension of the order for the posting of the colour flags to denote headquarters and unit lines, these flags were used as the basic design for 1st Division uniform colour patches.In total over 300 individual patches were eventually authorized during World War 1.Modern unit colour patches are approximately 40 millimetres (1.6 in) x 40 millimetres (1.6 in) in size and use a large variety of colours and shapes to distinguish the units they represent. Unit colour patches are currently worn on the slouch hat in the Australian Army. Wherever possible the features of modern colour patches reflect relationships between current units and their antecedents from previous wars. For example, modern and historical artillery patches are red and blue, and modern army aviation patches preserve the light blue background with red and blue bands of their World War 1 antecedents, while modern and historical engineer patches are predominantly purple. Some modern units reflect that they are direct descendants of World War 1 and 2 units. For example, the 8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment of rural Victoria uses the white over red horizontal rectangular patch of the original 8th Battalion. The shapes, colours and embellishments of unit colour patches therefore not only identify individuals as members of units, but they can also reflect the story of the unit.

Upotipotpon, Victoria

Upotipotpon is a rural area in Victoria, Australia, 208 kilometres (129 mi) north-east of the state capital, Melbourne, and 27 kilometres (17 mi) km north of Violet Town. The name may derive from the Aboriginal expression pootong pootong, meaning "plenty of grass", and was used for a pastoral property taken up in 1841 between the Broken River and Stony Creek.

A small town of the same name used to exist in the area. Between 1882 and 1888, four primary schools were opened in the district, all carrying the Upotipotpon name. They were closed between 1938 and 1951. A post office, Upotipotpon Station, opened around 1902. It was renamed Upotipotpon around 1907 and closed in 1913. In 1911 the population was 240 and in 1933 it was 131. Today, a handful of families remain on farms (including Redwood Farm) scattered around the area.

Upotipotpon is one of the home towns listed on the Australian War Memorial in London.Upotipotpon is now a stronghold for woodland conservation in Victoria. The agricultural landscape of the area is changing, with olive and farm forestry plantations becoming prominent as well as a number of properties being managed for conservation. It has well-treed roadsides and large patches of woodland vegetation, and a large number of woodland birds. The area has one of the few remaining large populations of grey-crowned babblers in the state.

Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs is an area of public policy concerned with relations between a government and its communities of military veterans. Some jurisdictions have a designated government agency or department, a Department of Veterans' Affairs, Ministry of Veterans' Affairs, or the like, which oversees issues relating to the Veterans Affairs. These departments provide a variety of services for veterans. The particular services provided can vary by jurisdiction, but can include things such as:

Resolving issues regarding compensation due following service

Provision of military pensions

Assistance with housing

Assistance obtaining post-service employment

Provision of treatment for service-related injuries

Arranging for burial in cemeteries designated for veteransDepartments for Veteran Affairs in country or state jurisdictions include:

United States Department of Veterans Affairs, (departments of this type in individual US states are independent of the federal entity)

Arizona Department of Veterans' Services

Florida Department of Veterans Affairs

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs

Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs

Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Ohio Department of Veterans Services

Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs

Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs

Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs

West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance

Wisconsin Department of Veterans AffairsDepartment of Veterans' Affairs , Australia

Veterans Affairs Canada, Canada

Veterans Affairs Council of Taiwan

Ministry of Veterans Affairs, China

Ministry of Croatian Veterans, Croatia

Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, South Korea

Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs (South Sudan)

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency, United Kingdom


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