In recognition of National Families Week, I would like to thank you for your ongoing efforts, as Defence family members, in supporting the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Your support is vital to ensuring our ADF members are able to serve our nation, and I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on some important developments.
I want to assure you that Defence is doing its utmost to support the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, and that we will continue to do all we can to prevent suicide among current and former serving members.
A key step in setting up this Royal Commission is to establish its Terms of Reference. The Terms of Reference set out what the Royal Commission will cover and report on. Your feedback will assist the Attorney-General to draft the Terms of Reference, and I encourage all members and families to have their say by taking the opportunity to contribute to the public consultation process. Feedback can be provided by:
I know that we have informed families on the avenues to provide feedback on the themes of the Terms of Reference via the Defence Member and Family Support (DMFS) Facebook and Twitter accounts. I would like to reinforce the opportunity to provide feedback noting this closes on 21 May 2021. Processes for engaging with the Royal Commission, including opportunities to make submissions, will be widely advertised once determined.
If you or someone you know is concerned about mental health or has thoughts of suicide or self-harm, support is available through the Defence Member and Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 or the All hours ADF support line on 1800 628 036. I encourage you to reach out if needed.
Earlier this year Defence celebrated 120 years of both the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army—both of which were founded in the first few months of Federation in 1901.
We also celebrated the Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force with a spectacular air show over the nation’s capital.
These events also commemorate our people, the ADF personnel of past and present who are the heart of the ADF. Additionally, and throughout our military history, ADF families have been key to our successes and are a vital part of our ability to defend Australia and its national interests in order to advance Australia’s security and prosperity.
On 1 July 2021, DMFS will celebrate 25 years of providing advice, support, and information to Defence personnel and their families. While much has been achieved in that quarter century, in recent years it became apparent that the DMFS name led some Defence members and families to believe it was not accessible to them as part of their community, or indeed that DMFS is ‘outside’ Defence. This is not the case.
As a result, DCO’s 25th birthday will also see the Branch change its name to Defence Member and Family Support (DMFS). The new name clearly explains what the Branch does and who it serves, and it continues to reside within Defence People Group. It also makes it very clear that DMFS is a part of the Department of Defence—not a separate organisation. We will continue to deliver programs and services to our Defence families, as well as modernising and improving the services offered to Defence families.
Thank you to all members of our Defence family for your support. Your resilience, understanding, and your hard work makes our service to the nation possible.
Angus J Campbell, AO, DSC
Chief of the Defence Force
17 May 2021