Who Is a Veteran?

There was an interesting and important change of perception made some months ago that could have gone unnoticed. It relates to the definition of who is a Veteran and, as such, how Veterans are viewed by Government.

In a Joint Communique of Federal and State Veterans Ministers in November 2018, an important paragraph embedded into the communique has considerable significance to RSLWA and other RSL entities throughout Australia.

It relates to the official definition of a Veteran and how it should be enshrined in legislation. The paragraph is as follows:

“The Roundtable reached consensus on a common definition of veteran that is to be recognised by all jurisdictions. It was agreed that a veteran would be defined as ‘a person who is serving or has served in the ADF’. Ministers agreed use of the term veteran should not be limited by the definitions contained in existing legislation.”

This agreement means of course that the term Veteran does not solely relate to someone who has deployed while serving in the ADF. Indeed, many serving and ex-serving ADF members provided selfless and distinguished service to the country in between wars and in times of peace.  The Roundtable of Ministers also agreed that there needed to be a question about veterans in the next Australian Census.

This would assist all levels of government to better support services and to provide support to veterans and their families.