Amazing meanness: Some army men who served overseas won't get Anzac Day pay

Because they are in the Reserves rather than the Regulars. But Reserves are much used for active duty by most governments today -- as a cost-saving measure. They are the last people who should be stiffed. They save the government a mint by not being paid full-time.

Misuse of the Reserves will reduce them to nothing if the government contempt for the reserves continues. Then the government will have to pay full-time salaries to get the personnel it needs. How short-sighted is that? A rational government would be doing everything possible to prop up the reserves.

There will always be some need for reservists to go on full-time duty to supplement the regulars. That is what they are for. I did so myself when I was in the reserves. But what should have been the exception has now become routine. A family member with two young children who is a reservist is now on his second deployment in two years to the Middle East -- in a war zone

Reservists enjoy their service. That's why they enlist. But if they are going to be deployed like regulars without the same training and not being paid for their time then you are looking at a very different ballgame when it comes to enlistment

DEFENCE force reservists who have fought in Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands will not be paid to march on Anzac Day this year - unlike the regular forces - as part of budget cutbacks that will also slash their training and ammunition.

The morale of the 25,000 reservists is near collapse, with the head of the Defence Reserves Association, Jim Barry, warning yesterday of mass resignations, saying the Diggers were preparing to "vote with their feet".

A final straw for many of the weekend warriors who have provided crucial support to the heavily committed defence force was confirmation they will no longer be paid to turn out for parades on Anzac Day and similar occasions.

The 17,000-strong Army Reserve, which provided the bulk of the peacekeepers for the current missions in East Timor and Solomon Island would be hardest hit by the cuts, Major General Barry told The Australian. His warning came as Defence Minister John Faulkner endorsed the government's strategic reform program designed to make $20 billion in defence savings over the next decade.

"They (Defence) have run out of dough," General Barry said yesterday. He was concerned there was no indication the situation would improve in the 2010-11 financial year. "I haven't had an answer from anyone," he said.

If the budget cuts were maintained, the reservists would "march with their feet", he said. The number of reserve annual training days had already been cut to 25, about half of what was needed to maintain proficiency, he said. "A lot of them are still hanging on, but morale is pretty low.

"We know it's impinging on operational efficiency and they're not going to be sufficiently well trained," General Barry said. "They're getting about 25 days of training at best, and they need, depending on the unit, somewhere between 35 and 50 days to be proficient before they go anywhere near pre-deployment training for the Solomons or where ever," he said.

The Australian Defence Force confirmed reservists would not be paid to take part in local Anzac Day commemorations. Army Reserve Training Salaries, which according to its website are tax-free, would only be paid for official Anzac Day ceremonial tasks, a spokesman said.

Opposition defence, science and personnel spokesman Bob Baldwin said the government should immediately intervene. "It is indeed a very sad day when reservists who have served in such places as East Timor, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan, are not allowed to parade on Anzac Day.

"I echo the sentiments of Major-General Barry when saying these budget cuts have cut into the very core of Australia's heritage," he said.

Yesterday, Defence Minister John Faulkner announced the government had endorsed implementation of the Strategic Reform Plan which was on track to achieve $797 million in savings this financial year.

Addressing the Defence Senior Leadership Group in Canberra last Wednesday, Senator Faulkner said the program was not just about delivering savings and efficiencies. It was an an integral component of the white paper.

It would only be possible to buy the new equipment needed for defence if the full savings were made, he said.


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  1. There is something funny going on here.

    For a long time, Anzac Day was a "voluntary" activity for reservists. They did it because they wanted to. Then OH&S arrived with a vengeance and I understand that if you are marked "present" (2, 3 or 6) on an official roll book for any activity, you get paid and are covered by whatever "insurance" the services provide.

    If you march with a unit "association", in uniform or not, and are not marked on an official roll book, you will not get paid.

    Given the systematic gutting of the Reserves over the last 20 years, anything is possible.

    On that last, there used to be four infantry units of full battalion strength based around SE Qld. These units each had mostly full complements of rifle companies, a Headquarter company with pretty much full logistic components, and a Support company with mortars, assault pioneers, sustained fire machine guns, anti-armour, signals and in some cases, intelligence sections.

    No more.

    And as one "chocco" once famously wrote to the editor of the "Courier Mail": "We joined the Reserve to DO a job, not because we NEEDED a job".

  2. Anzac day is a vestigial remnant of the White Australia policy...Australia is a culturally diverse society now and as such, it is entirely appropriate that Anzac day become as relavant today as the White Australia policy.

    There is a risk that the relative harmony that exists in Australia today could be put at risk with a continuance of the exclusive parochialism of "Anzac Day".

    Only via process of gradualism and the education of Australian school children in the values of tolerance, diversity, acceptance and harmony will prevent a resurgence of prejudice and bigotry in Australian society.

    Or so they'd say when safe to do so...

  3. I guess that last comment is satire

  4. An interpretation of where we're heading as part of the bigger picture.

    You,you..just you mark my words.


    For the ANZACS


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