Decision Maker

Hon. Dan Tehan MP

  • Minister for Veterans' Affairs

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Petitioning Prime Minister of Australia

Prime Minister: please bring home the 25 Australian soldiers killed in Vietnam but remain in a lonely grave, halfway home on Foreign soil.

"My mother never got closure for her little brother's death. It ruined her life not being able to go and sit by a gravesite, that he was never honoured like other killed soldiers. Disgustingly, they're still stuck half-way home. We just want Reg brought home." He was an Australian soldier killed in Vietnam – but our government has never repatriated Reg Hillier home. Shockingly, he's among 25 soldiers killed in Vietnam who still remain in a lonely grave, half-way home. 521 Australian Vietnam Veterans were killed or died of wounds in the Vietnam War, 496 are buried back home in Australia, let's bring the remaining 25 home, to Australia where they belong. Relatives and the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia are asking for your help to finally right this wrong, and bring our mates home to be with us. We've found out that for many of these soldiers, they weren't brought home because their family couldn't afford the huge costs of repatriation. It cost nearly half a year's wage 500 pounds, at the time ($30,000 today). And they'd just lost their loved one.These Soldiers fought for their Country and made the Supreme Sacrifice and the Government of the Day wanted the NOK and Families to pay for their repatriation back to Australia. These families had no choice, either pay up or be buried in Malaysia, this is a terrible way to treat bereaved families, and it caused further heartache as these relatives had the extra burden of that huge guilt of not being able to afford to bring their loved ones home. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME. The first one killed in Vietnam, was WO2 William Hacking on the 1st June 1963, was brought home at Government (public) expense. The second was WO2 Kevin Conway killed 6th July 1964, was buried in a Cemetery in Siagon, then exhumed and removed to Ulu Pandan Cemetery in Singapore, then to allow for Singapores expansion was again exhumed and reburied in Kranji Cemetery Singapore. This poor Vietnam Veteran has been exhumed twice and buried three times and is still not home. It was just wrong. We'd never do this to our boys currently serving. Keith Payne, VC, our living legend Vietnam Veteran has given his full support, saying "I agree with you, where the relatives want the bodies brought home - Bring the Bodies Home." For years, this injustice has been ignored. Last year, we were again given a clinical and heartless response from the government to our plea for our fellow soldiers to be brought home.  The Prime Minister can finally give these soldiers the dignity and honour they deserve, and lay them to rest here at home in Australia with the rest of our Vietnam war dead. He went to great lengths to bring home the victims of the recent Malaysia airlines downing – we just want the same respect given to our diggers. Those soldiers buried in Malaysia, are NOT buried in a war grave but are buried in a General Christian Cemetery on a Military base in Malaysia. It's been the dying wish for many of our relatives, to Bring Them Home. It's time for the government to have the heart to help us close this unfinished business for the NOK, widows, relatives, and veterans, and Bring Them Home. Please sign our petition asking Prime Minister Tony Abbott to bring the remaining 25 soliders killed in Vietnam home. We need your help to assist us - Please donate to help us achieve this goal by going to:  

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia
39,924 supporters
Petitioning Hon. Dan Tehan MP, Hon. Michael Keenan MP, Queensland Health

Fix the issues with accessing the Disability Support Pension

The current process for people suffering from chronic illness and disability to access social services is flawed in Australia. With waiting times exceeding 9 months for people to be assessed for the Disability Support Pension (DSP) it is forcing those living with a disability in some cases to live a lifestyle that puts them below the poverty line and is causing immense emotional hardship. My name is Jake Bailey. I am 23, I have completed a university degree straight out of high school and after that I begun my hairdressing apprenticeship. I always prided myself on being an outgoing and hard working individual. Last year, however, I was forced into an early forced retirement due to the genetic chronic illness Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is primarily a lung disease, however, it also affects most of the other major organs in the body. As it stands, Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common genetic life threatening illness in the country, double lung transplants are a common prognosis and those who have CF have a mean life expectancy of 39 years old. As a result of my CF I have a predicted lung capacity of 40% which requires me to perform daily physio and antibiotic therapy. The decreased capacity furthermore limits me to the amount of physical activity that I can do. Further complications from CF has resulted in my pancreas being damaged to a point where I have to consume 30+ tablets a day (pancreatic enzyme replacements) and adhere to a strict diet in order to gain any nutrients out of food. The health regime that I have to follow in order to maintain my health leaves me as a time poor person, with these treatments taking hours out of my day, and weeks out of my year when hospitalization becomes a necessity. Living with these extra responsibilities did make work a more arduous task and it did take a toll on my body with my lung capacity taking a hit of around 15% in the two years where I was working full time and my time spent hospitalized increased. With these statistics in mind under the advisement of the team of medical professionals who look after me at the Prince Charles Hospital Brisbane I was recommended to apply for the DSP in order to prolong my health. At this time, armed with 23 years of medical evidence from a range of professionals across all fields of medicine (Thoracic specialists, Mental health professionals, Dieticians etc.) I applied for the DSP with Centrelink. My claim was left sitting for over 4 months before I was contacted; albeit after I checked up on the process of my claim multiple times, by the department. In this time, my interim payment (newstart allowance) had been cancelled or suspended 4 times, due to a lack of communications between departments because I had exceeded the allotted exemption period for those applying for DSP. In my communications with the department I have been made to feel embarrassed and frustrated over the phone and in person numerous times. From being asked asinine questions such as if my “degenerative lung disease” will improve over the next 24 months and being told that I should work until the point where hospital outweighs all other aspects of my life I became very despondent with the situation at hand. Upon the presentation of my medical history to Centrelink the statistical evidence that I, and my medical team had provided which proves the degradation of my lungs has been continually ignored. Instead a rubric based upon anecdotal evidence is preferred by the assessors with questions regarding my gardening capabilities and whether I can walk home from the shops used to assess my health issues. This is incredibly embarrassing and demeaning as it questions my integrity as a disabled person. To add further salt to the wound all associated issues that come from living with a chronic illness such as the emotional ramifications are ignored and not treated to be part of the holistic wellbeing of a person to the point where I was questioned if my documented mental health issues were real and genuine. Putting already disabled people, people dealing with losing their jobs under this stress and forcing them to justify their illness beyond reasonable measures is sadistic and this has to change. As it stands, I am still in the process of being approved for the DSP and am waiting upon further contact to notify me of my claim. Yes, I have received interim payments, and for this I am thankful, however, the associated costs of living with a chronic illness such as medications, transportation and diet specific foods has left me in an incredibly vulnerable and uncomfortable financial position. When you add to that the emotional stress, and the overarching feeling of being undervalued and dehumanized by a seemingly sadistic system has left me, my family and loved ones in a depressed state. A change has to be made to make these social systems more accessible for all disabled people. I speak from my perspective of having CF, but, I am aware that there are hundreds if not thousands of people in our nation who live with their own afflictions who have been compromised and made to navigate this hard to access system. I urge the Minister for Health The Hon. Greg Hunt and the minister for human services The Hon. Michael Keenan to discus this matter and meet with disabled people; young, old, inherited or accident to gauge how the system makes us feel and live. Please work with us, so we can be proud and active members of our communities. EDIT: I have received contact from my local member for Brisbane Hon. Trevor Evans to arrange a meeting to discus my petition and to start talking about the issues at hand with the hard to access DSP. EDIT: In light of so many sharing their stories of how they have struggled to access the DSP I have made a dedicated email address, for you to bravely share your stories. I am going to collect these so when I meet with decision makers I have a strong portfolio covering a wide range of illness and impairments in order to show how these issues with access affect many people from all walks of life. EDIT: Upon receiving communication back from The Hon. Dan Tehan I have been advised to address this petition to The Hon. Michael Keenan MP also as this is an issue which falls under the Minister for Human Resources.  Thank you for reading.  Regards,  Jake Bailey

Jake Bailey
18,810 supporters
Petitioning Hon. Dan Tehan MP

Department of Veterans' Affairs: Please recognise military dogs as members of Defence

Department of Veterans' Affairs:  Please recognise military working-dogs as members of the Defence Force and cover their ongoing retirement costs. On June 9 2017, Minister for Defence Personnel, Dan Tehan, announced the release of the Canine Operational Service Medal to recognize the important contribution of military working-dogs to Australia’s Defence Force. I’ve worked on veterans' issues for the last six years, advocating for ex and serving members of the ADF.  A lot of this time was as a volunteer. It wasn’t until I visited a military working-dog cell on base recently that I began to ask questions about what happens to the dogs upon their retirement. The dogs get rehomed, sometimes with their former handler, but the costs of caring for them - particularly from a healthcare and veterinary perspective - can be large. The problem is compounded if the veteran too has retired medically and has limited income to  finance these costs. For those who aren’t aware of what military working-dogs do, I’ll briefly describe their roles. First, there are different types of military working-dogs: 1) Dogs that don't make the grade to work in defence are rehomed with great charities run by veterans who have them retrained as assistance dogs for people with PTSD or mental health issues. 2) There are military police dogs. For all things law and order (paw and order).3) There are engineer dogs for detection (particularly explosives and narcotics).4) And finally the ‘Operator dogs’, these are the bad “good boys”. Training all day every day, running kilometers on end, working the frontline and in some cases saving a lot of lives. I am aware of an ex Special Forces soldier who has rehomed his 'MWD'  himself and fully funded the costs of his dog for all the veterinary surgery following injuries the dog sustained during it's service career and I’m sure there are many more dogs like this to come. Regardless of their role, these dogs are worked very hard. That upon retirement the likelihood of  poor health outcomes later such as  joint replacements is high and undoubtedly expensive and this cost comes back to its new master, someone who has also dedicated themselves to this country with their service. These dogs don’t just protect, they support their human handlers and their peers emotionally and psychologically. I appreciate the release of the Canine Operational Service Medal but as a dog owner and a passionate veterans advocate, I believe the costs involved with managing these dogs in their retirement is a missing component in an already convoluted system. As a veteran case manager I have seen ways in which the Department of Veterans' Affairs can save money on their budget in order to fund the ongoing maintenance costs of these dogs in their retirement to supply food and healthcare. I believe that awareness about what these dogs do for the country needs to be spread in order for this change to happen, so please sign and share this petition and give your dog a pat.   To add, I appreciate that there are plenty of human service members who have their own struggles with DVA. I would certainly suggest anyone who has had a negative experience of their own seek advice from a qualified and reputable case manager or advocate at an ex service organization to review their circumstances. And for those dogs that haven’t made it home they can be remembered by  

Hannah Steele
5,834 supporters
Petitioning Hon. Dan Tehan MP, Rob de Luca

STOP the cuts to NDIS therapy funding!

While the changes to the NDIS Price Guide recommended by the Independent Pricing Review were well-intentioned, they were based on incorrect assumptions. This has resulted in proposed fees that simply won't cover providers' costs, which will leave many people with disabilities without the therapy they need to achieve goals like getting a job and living independently. Although therapy costs the government/taxpayers money, it also saves money in the long-term, because when people with disabilities have jobs, they pay tax, and when people with disabilities have better skills, they need less money spent on health care, supported living and equipment, and their parents and other carers can increase their hours as working taxpayers, too. Most NDIS therapy providers are small, family-owned businesses. A lot of us are working mums. We have dedicated our lives to helping improve the quality of life of families affected by disability. We don't do it for the money, we do it because we care! But without enough money to cover our costs, we won't be able to pay our staff to keep providing therapy - it's as simple as that. The NDIS Price Guide rates are already lower than market rates and it costs therapists more to provide services to people with disabilities than it does for injuries like simple ankle sprains and broken arms. People with disabilities deserve our help and support to live dignified lives and we desperately want to do this! But when costs like wages, rent and insurance keep going up, if the prices paid for therapy services go down, we'll just be plain desperate. We urge the Minister for the DSS, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, and the CEO of the NDIA, Mr Robert De Luca, to consider the submissions of concerned industry bodies like the Australian Physiotherapy Association and Occupational Therapy Australia, as well as submissions from individual therapy providers to STOP the cuts to NDIS therapy fees!

Helen Nicholson
2,618 supporters
Petitioning Hon. Dan Tehan MP


"To the Honourable President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled: The petition of the undersigned shows: That Schedule 1 of the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Omnibus) Bill 2017 [Provisions] would erode veterans’ rights by amending the Veterans’ Entitlement Act 1986, creating a new section 155(8A), which will permit a single member of the Veterans’ Review Board (VRB), that being the Principal Member, to summarily dismiss a veteran’s application prior to a hearing by three member of the VRB Board.  This is inconsistent with why the VRB was first created in 1986 and will likely cause unintended consequences to vulnerable veterans who lodged applications with the VRB. That the Senate omit Schedule 1 of the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Omnibus) Bill 2017 [Provisions] in order to protect vulnerable veterans’ access to the VRB.” There is wide support for this cause  as indicated below:  Senator Jacqui Lambie of Tasmania has opposed this and wrote a dissent in the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee report which is available at: The RSL has opposed the newly proposed section.  The RSL’s submission to the Senate FADT Committee is available at:  Military compensation law expert Brian Briggs has opposed the newly proposed section.  Mr Briggs’ submission to the Senate FADT Committee is available at:

South Lake Macquarie RSL sub-Branch
2,180 supporters
Petitioning Hon. Dan Tehan MP

Make Paid Parental Leave eligible for Foster and Kinship Parents

Current Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Legislation excludes Foster and Kinship parents from being eligible to receive this payment. When all restoration options to birth parents have been exhausted and is no longer possible, an infant remains in formal State or Territory care under an order. Foster and Kinship parents should be able to apply for the same income support just like any other primary carer who meets all the eligibility criteria for PPL.  This is important for Kinship parents as they may have an obligation to the family to take responsibility for the children. Financially this may be a difficult decision, should time off work be necessary. A key reason to have PPL option for Foster and Kinship parents is to ensure the children can adequately develop attachment and bond with their primary carer and reduce the effects of trauma related to any abuse or neglect suffered by the children, as well as separation from the birth family. For this to happen, their parent must be at home with the children. Eligibility requirements: •      You are the primary carer of the child.•      The child is within the first 52 weeks of life.•      Meet the residency requirements.•      Meet the work test.•      Earn less than $150,000 in the financial year. Despite the above, in the supporting legislation PPL Rules Part 2.4 Division 2.4.1 Rule 2.29 (2) b. preclude parents from receiving PPL. Supporting Foster and Kinship parents to receive the PPL will in turn support our most vulnerable children in the community. These children can not live with their biological parents/families a number of reasons and need to be placed in the child protection system. The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) in 2012-2013 - 40,549 Australian children, of all ages, are living in a child protection placement. Access to PPL for Foster and Kinship parents and the financial support that it provides would make Foster care a more viable option for working individuals who are considering such a path.  Research shows, it will make invaluable difference for Foster and Kinship parents to be able to take as much time off work as a primary carer and establish bonds and attachments so crucial to these children. I started this petition because I am a Foster parent. Our son is now 3 years 10 months old. He came to live with me and my husband when he was 8 days old. We are delighted, as the court has decided he will remain in our care until he is 18 years old, and we have a view to adopt him. PPL was not available to me and my employer would not support any paid leave. PPL was not a consideration for us when making the decision to become Foster parents. My interest is in closing this gap in any future PPL legislation so that more support can be provided to Foster and Kinship parents. 

Kylie Cutting
703 supporters
Petitioning Hon. Dan Tehan MP

Gold Card Access Returned From Active Service Veterans

There is currently a disconnect with what former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) can receive access to the Veterans Affairs Gold Card.  Although former ADF members who served overseas on Active Service after 1 July 2004 are automatically covered, former members under the age of 70 and who served in a designated Active Service environment prior to 2004 are not covered. In essence, any ADF veteran who served in an Active Service capacity between the end of the Vietnam War and I July 2004 are being discriminated against as they do not have the same entitlements of other Active Service veterans.  Until recently, ADF personnel returning from Active Service were treated very badly.  In my example, I suffered psychological issues for a number of years and sought assistance from my unit commanders.  One commander actually said 'dry your eyes, princess' before telling me to get back to work.  I sought assistance from the base padre.  However, about three days later I was in the mess and was approached by a third party.  That person told me that the padre had shared my problems with him.  That person was in my unit, but not anything to do with medical or chaplaincy services.  All of this happened at a time when my wife suffered a terrible miscarriage.  Even though my Commanding Officer knew this, I was told I had to get on an aircraft at short notice (a few hours) and do some things in a remote location for an undetermined period of time.  I had to leave my wife in the hospital and arrange for my children to stay with some friends while I went away for three days to an area where contact with the outside world was not permitted and/or possible. I also had some medical issues that were a direct result of my Active Service.  However, this too was swept under the mat and regular trips to the military paid doctor had no result.  As soon as I left the ADF, I sought assistance and my condition was diagnosed immediately.  However, it was not until 2014 (24 years after my Active Service) that I even got a White Card and even then related to some hearing issues and nothing else.  After bottling up my experiences overseas that lead to my issues, I eventually gave up and resigned my commission with the ADF.  Prior to this, I had an excellent career, was well reported upon and had received rapid promotion as a result.  In summary, I had been groomed for higher office.  I loved my job, the lifestyle and serving my country.  Not a day goes by where I do not question whether I could have stayed within the ADF and sought change from within.  Because I could not get assistance from within the ADF, I sought external assistance.  I sought my own counselling and started the road to recovery.   It took a few years but I was finally able to tell my wife and some close family/friends why I was often anxious and withdrawn.     Even after all these years, I still have bouts when thinking about the things that bought on my issues.  I am seeking support to have the period of entitlement to the Gold Card benefits to former members of the ADF who also saw a period of Active Service prior to 1 July 2004.  This would correct a gap for people who served in an Active Service role after Vietnam, but before 2004. 

Craig Forster
585 supporters
Petitioning Malcolm Turnbull MP, Theresa May MP, Mary Macleod MP, Vince Cable MP, Gabrielle Upton MP, The Hon Wyatt Roy MP, Hon. Dan Tehan MP, Australian Commonwealth Games Association

Remove Swimmer Taylor Mckeown from the 2018 Commonwealth Games

By allowing Olympic Swimmer Taylor Mckeown to compete in the 2018 Commonwealth games, We are telling the Australian public that it is acceptable to bully and harras teenagers. Recently Taylor Mckeown bullied a young 19 yr old girl, telling her "your work is shi*t" and "your a joke". She then proceeded to post this attack on her personal page ,asking fans to do the same. After repeated attempts to get Taylor to stop the bullying ordeal, the young teen gave up. Days later she was to afraid to open her phone hundreds of messages from Taylor Mckeowns fans, continuing the bullying! this is not acceptable. How can we possibly teach our children bullying is not ok, when there "role models" condone this behaviour!   remove Taylor Mckeown from the 2018 Commonwealth games, And show her and the Australian Public Bullying IS NOT OK! newspaper link:

J Dawson
413 supporters
Petitioning Tony Abbott MP

Ban Illegal Wood Imports Australia

Australia imports illegal timber that is directly linked to biodiversity loss, human rights abuses and climate change. Illegal logging is also pushing critically endangered wildlife species close to extinction. This is unacceptable. Please take the urgently needed action to stop it.

andrew gunn
321 supporters
Prime Minister: please bring home the 25 Australian soldiers killed in Vietnam but remain in a lonely grave, halfway home on Foreign soil.

Media statement from the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Dan Tehan: Australia will welcome home 33 Australian service personnel and dependents, including 22 Vietnam War veterans, on Thursday, 2 June in one of the largest, single military repatriations in this country’s history. The returning Australians, 21 Vietnam veterans, three servicemen and eight dependents, had been interred at Terendak Military Cemetery in Malaysia, with the single other casualty of the Vietnam War still interred overseas returning from the Kranji Military Cemetery in Singapore. A military repatriation ceremony and private memorial service will be held at RAAF Richmond in Sydney on June 2, after two Royal Australian Air Force Aircraft C-17 Globemaster aircraft bearing the Australians land at about 10:30am. Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said bringing the Australians home was an important moment for the families and for the country. “The return of these Australians will bring closure to their families who have grieved for lost loved ones,” Mr Tehan said. “They will be welcomed home with a respectful and dignified return to this country. “For every Australian this will be an opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifice of all those who have died in service to their country. “Representatives of our Vietnam Veteran community will attend and for some of them this will be a particularly moving occasion as they served with the returning servicemen.” Mr Tehan said the Australian Government last year made an offer of repatriation to 36 families of Australians buried and Terendak and Kranji. “Several families made the decision not to bring their loved ones home, and I am sure Australians will respect that decision and appreciate it was not made lightly,” he said. At the conclusion of the private memorial service for the families, 33 hearses bearing the returning Australians will depart RAAF Base Richmond in a funeral procession at about 12.15pm and travel to the centre of Parramatta, arriving about 1pm. The funeral procession will proceed via a green light corridor and under escort of the NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, with assistance from the Transport Management Centre. Mr Tehan encouraged members of the public wanting to pay their respects to line the route of the procession. It will travel from RAAF Richmond to Parramatta CBD via Church Street - George Street - Smith Street - Station Street - Parkes Street, where the public will be welcome to view the procession and pay their respects. Motorists using these roads at that time may experience some delays. Reinterment services will then take place in every State and Territory, except Tasmania, over the following few weeks, in accordance with the families’ wishes.

2 years ago