The announcement of the appointment of former Maj Gen Liz Cossons AM CSC (retd) to the position of Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has attracted many unsavoury and unwarranted comments in the Facebook domain which are unacceptable and not what we expect from current or former warriors.
It would appear that some who are referring to mistakes made in the past, are innocent of any failings on their part so all we would say, “give Liz a fair go”. It’s an enormous step for her and she welcomes the support from all of us to make a difference for all veterans from any conflict, peacekeeping or training environment.”
The RARA has had a close working relationship with Liz and can vouch for her competency, capability and commitment, and supports the differences she is trying to make within DVA and beyond.
It’s timely and prudent to once again to post the following article which has had wide distribution as to what is essential in any debate and that’s to play the ball not the person.
What Has Happened to our Warrior Ethics?
I am getting increasingly concerned and disappointed in the foul language, hostile vitriol, playing the man and the woman, instead of the ball with what I see and read on social media.
In normal circumstances I would simply ignore this nasty and focused attack on the employees of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs but when it not only reflects on them but the many ex members of the veteran community who are working with DVA trying to make a difference for the greater good I find this behaviour and the language directed towards a female employee of the Department abhorrent and cowardly and not what is expected of the warrior class.
Free speech is a given and the airing of complaints is a right when deserving but unfortunately so much of the vitriol is misinformed and incorrect and it would pay for some of these very brave “keyboard warriors” to take a look at themselves and through the access that they all have to seek the truth on some of these areas of complaint.
Everything in life is subject to review and DVA is no different to any other enterprise and is currently going through the most extensive review ever executed in the history of the Department. There will be major and very beneficial outcomes but one must be cognizant of the fact that DVA is in principle governed by legislation and we have all been on their case to review that confusing and at times destructive legislation. That is happening but perhaps for some not fast enough and that is understandable but a legislation fix is somewhat complicated and in that regard we just need to be patient.
I appreciate that there may be valid reasons why some people are hostile towards DVA but cowardly conduct behind a keyboard, hurling profanities and the foulest language at individuals working within the department is in my view nonproductive, gutless and most importantly a slight on all veterans which is unfair and unwarranted, because there are so many out there who are trying to make a difference either inside “the tent” or outside in their everyday lives.
If those guilty of this behaviour consider themselves such a hot shot and champion of veterans issues, get inside the tent and present your arguments in a professional and acceptable manner . I am sure you will be listened to but your argument must be based on fact not emotions.
All I can say to the mud and rock slingers vent your anger certainly where warranted but play the ball not the man or woman. None of them deserve that. It’s totally against our warrior ethics!
Michael von Berg MC OAM
Chairman and National President