The arrogance of the government sometimes defies logic.
On one hand the governments own report says that the Department of Veterans Affairs is "unfit for purpose", but yet the Minister Veterans Affairs, Darren Chester, sees no need for a Royal Commission in to what can only be described as a criminal offense bound up in copious amounts of beurocratic red-tape.
When Veterans return to home-soil, it should be to the heartfelt thanks and adoration of all Australians. Politicians included.
However the way we have seen fit to treat our treasured veterans is by putting them through a process that includes conquering a wall of over 309 forms that they must navigate their way through online, without any assistance.
In a Productivity Commission Report, ironically initiated by the government, it claims the current system spends $13.2 billion on 166,000 veterans every year but “is not fit for purpose”.
“The department has failed to adequately look after veterans’ well-being or mental health or effectively assist their transition into civilian life,” it said.
If the forms are not filled out correctly, they are returned back to the Veteran to be fixed and resubmitted, a process that can take months initially, and even longer while the correct terminology is sorted.
When applying for anything through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the first step one must take is to identify the individual as a member of our defence force. Fair enough. Only, the Department of Veterans Affairs have no access to the ADF files so need to apply for the information to the ADF which can take months, but more likely years to complete the process.
While the process of applying to DVA takes years to complete, our returned veterans wait helplessly and aimlessly for the phone call that will finally tell them that their claims have been completed and finalised successfully. For some that day never comes. Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) desperately hanging on for help many anguish under severe mental health issues that are not being addressed and can't be addressed until the claims are completed.
Despite this, Veterans Affairs Minister, Darren Chester, said he could not see the “point” of a royal commission. “I don’t see the point of additional money being put into lawyers rather than mental health specialists,”
When, Darren? How many years from now?! These men and women can't wait!
As a nation we should hang our heads in shame that our veterans have been left to wither and die. It's up to us to push our government into a position of action whereby our defence personnel are NEVER treated in such an abysmal fashion ever again.
Anything less would be a disservice for their service.