Veterans and their families will have their service and sacrifice further acknowledged with the introduction of the Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019.
The bill establishes an Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, which the government said will “provide better recognition of the unique nature of military service”.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the bill was a project he’d been undertaking alongside ex-service organisations since taking over the role nearly a year ago.
“The government has introduced this legislation to provide a formal way for all Australians to show their appreciation to the men and women who secured the freedoms we enjoy today and to their families who have supported them,” Minister Chester said.
“I have consulted extensively with the ex-service community on the development of this bill, including discussions with our 5-Eyes counterparts in the United Kingdom who have put in place similar measures.
“This bill will create a separate act to provide symbolic recognition for all veterans and does not change current entitlements.
“Importantly, the bill before Parliament includes a statement requiring the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to adopt a beneficial approach when interpreting legislation and applying a fair, just and consistent approach to veterans’ claims. It’s part of our ongoing efforts to transform the culture of DVA.”
As part of a wider recognition package, veterans will be provided a card and lapel pin to recognise their service. The covenant also includes an oath, which Australians will be encouraged to take at commemorative events.
“The covenant, card and lapel pin will allow the community — whether they are employers, businesses, community groups, veteran or sporting organisations — the opportunity to recognise the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our nation,” said Minister Chester.
“Our government is committed to putting veterans and their families first and this legislation is part of a greater suite of measures we are putting in place.”
The government said that it has received a positive response from businesses in support of the recognition program.