18 May 2015

There are times I'm ashamed to be Australian and today is one of them

I'll give you fair warning now: this post is going to get political. If you don't want to know, stop reading right now. I am not concerned about whether you agree with the politics of the post or not and do not want your comments, if any, to be based on such. I am however concerned about your reaction to the humanity, the empathy, the sympathy and the charity questions raised by this post and if you have comments on those things, then you are welcome to leave them below.

Everyone who knows me knows I have an intense dislike of Facebook. Yes, we have a Facebook page for Cheapskates, but only because I was just plain tired of saying "no" to everyone who wanted it.  And you'll all know that I take most of the things that show up on Facebook with a grain of salt and usually ignore them. But I'm only human, and every now and then something will pop up and I will be curious enough to read more.

This afternoon while I was having a cup of tea is no exception. I decided to quickly check FB and as I was scrolling down "Wounded sapper dumped by army and frustrated by bureaucrats" caught my eye and my curiosity and I clicked over.

I watched the video clip and read the report.

And right now I am feeling ill, to the point of throwing up, at the treatment of this man who was so severely wounded in the defence not just of his country, but of me, my husband, our children and every other Australian.

You can read the story and watch the video here (and ignore the political spiel, I did)

I understand that as a soldier Sergeant Lyddiard was doing the job he chose, was trained for and that he was being paid to do. But he is also a hero, and I don't use that term lightly.

How do I know he's a hero? He voluntarily chose to enlist in the Australian Army and to put the protection of his fellow Australians ahead of his own safety. He voluntarily chose to enlist in the Australian Army and sacrifice time with his family to defend his country and his fellow Australians.

How many Australians are heroes? Not that many going by the size of our defence force. There are far too many who would rather sit at home, enjoying the freedom that Michael Lyddiard and his fellow soldiers, sailors and air force personnel give us.

What disgusts me most is his (and obviously every other injured defence force personnel's) treatment by the Defence Forces and the Australian Government and, by default, me and you.

I challenge the Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews and the Chief of Defence Forces Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin to get their backsides out of their padded chairs, move away from their desks and help Sgt. Lyddiard and every other injured or disabled serviceman or servicewoman to live the life they deserve - one where they don't have to beg for a pair of spectacles or they can't get the massage therapy they need because it's not performed by a physiotherapist or they can't support their families because they don't have access to a pension or the superannuation they deserve.

I suggest that every politician in this country have a good, hard, long think about their pensions because I'll tell you now if I had any control over it they would not retire on anything other than the same pension you and I will, and they'd be waiting for official pension age to receive said pension, subject to the same means testing you and I are subject to.

And every cent saved would be used to ensure these soldiers, sailors and air force heroes don't have to suffer the contempt they are currently being treated with.

We who aren't brave enough to sacrifice our lives for others need these heroes and we should hold them high and treat them with the utmost respect and honour, ensuring they never, ever want for something as basic as medical treatment or have to beg for a pension or the superannuation they are entitled too.

In fact I'd rather see politicians beg for a pension; there have been very few politicians ever, if any, in this country that could be called heroes.

Here's the link to the video

Here's the contact form for Minister of Defence Kevin Andrews 

Here's the email address for Senator Michael Ronaldson, the Minister for Veterans Affairs: Senator.Ronaldson@aph.gov.au

Feel free to let them know if you're as disgusted, disillusioned and ashamed of yourself, him, our Government and the ADF as I am at this appalling lack of respect and compassion for a fellow human being.


  1. Here here well said Cath. Did you know that any WWII veteran who served in Darwin was 80 years old before the government gave them full DVA benefits because they didn't serve over seas! These people were bombed by the Japanese several times. So they saw and fought the war. Vietnam Vets are only now getting full benefits. Think of how our budget deficit could be overcome if the pollies were means tested for the pension and could only get it at retirement age.!!!

  2. I like the idea of them having to do 5 years National Service before they can retire too.

    I've lit a fire under a few comy seats it seems, I've had a couple of interesting responses to my emails already. Please, if you haven't already, use the links above to contact the Ministers and let them know this treatment of our Veterans is just plain wrong - no umming and ahhing, it's wrong.

    I've decided over the years that it's the baby who throws the biggest tantrum gets the most attention (so to speak) so I'm going to throw a tantrum, loud, long, and fierce to keep this issue at the forefront until it is fixed and all service men and women, serving or retired are treated with the respect they deserve.

  3. I totally agree with everything you have said . My daughter joined the Army ,all she ever wanted to do . Passed Kapooka training. Then was sent to do Transport training. While in the middle of training hurt her back .Put in hospital and left there for 11 months , no visits from her team members, officers,or anyone. Not allowed out of hospital. She was told her fellow trainees had passed and moved on , still no visits. She was thrown out 2 months ago , with that much paper work to fill in for the basics. Is now going to Tafe and we are paying that fee ,because the paper work is still on someones desk to be approved. She also went last week for DVA test on her back to see if the Army will actually pay her out . I have a very brave,broken depressed 26 year old daughter ,who finds just walking a effort. She has of this week found a Doctor willing to give her pain killers, none were willing to . The service men and women need all the help we can give them to get the basic things we do . Thank you for bringing it to everyones attention . A frustrated mum.

    1. Oh Kathy, I'm so sorry to hear that, you must be so proud of her. I'll keep your daughter in my prayers and thoughts. I find it very discouraging to realise that we as Australians and human beings take better care of animals than we do of our troops and veterans. I don't condone animal cruelty but it certainly gets more publicity than this disgraceful state of affairs.


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