First and foremost is the challenge of presenting Tony Abbott as a friend of Aussie Service men and women after he tried to cut their wages in the attempted Budget. While Tony has been out there cutting taxes on Gina and Co and pumping money into pushing religion into State schools, our troops have been on the other end of the scale. His attempt to have soldiers contributing to Corporate Welfare should be pretty hard to hide. For soldiers, there’s nothing like getting hit in the pay packet to focus attention.
I guess the problem is the linkage between the old diggers and currently serving Aussies. There is a strong requirement to make that linkage for recruiting purposes and pollies photo opps, but the problem is paying for the current branches of the armed services. The brass bands and photo opportunities are great fun and cheap to stage, but the tendency to not support returning members because they hate forking out for injuries and mental health support, tend to sour the whole deal.
They simply hate paying full price.
For current serving members there is a challenge too. Do they ignore the insult from the Liberal Party and cop it sweet or stand up for their pay and conditions and turn their backs on Tony at ANZAC memorials? One thing you can guarantee is Tony only plays hardball. If you don’t take a stand you are going to get your pants pulled down again. He and his party have no respect for younger Diggers. That’s reserved for World War vets. Both first and second conflicts.
For some reason that escapes me, returned soldiers don’t get much cred unless they follow it up with longevity. The Vietnam Vets are only starting to get respect all these years later. Not so much spitting on them these days thankfully. You could see this even in the RSL when the Vietnam War was on and after we were defeated. The Returned Services League were of the opinion that non-World wars somehow didn’t count. In defence of it’s members though, it was probably driven by WW2 desk jockeys rather than the Diggers who faced the business end of enemy weapons.
I’m guessing Tony will sail through ANZAC Day unscathed. The serving members are too polite and vainly hope Tony will appreciate being let off the hook, and the Public are unlikely to make the obvious connection once the bands start playing and the flags start waving.
It’s a crying shame in my view. Tony should be held responsible for his behaviour towards our troops, and he should be held to pay full price for the use of our military. Leaving damaged Vets to look after themselves is disgraceful.
Disclaimer: I’m an ex-RAAF serviceman who “did my 6” as a Radio Tech and never served in a combat situation. My term was all served in Oz. But as a human being I’m disgusted by how a pollie can strut around in front of the cameras then refuse to support returning troops who need help. To then front up on ANZAC Day to wallow in reflected glory simply adds insult to injury.