48 year old family man from Hamilton Victoria, Dan Tehan, is a new face in the Turnbull federal government who is showing admirable commitment in his role as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel since 18 February 2016.
He has a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science from the University of Melbourne and Master’s degrees in International Relations from the University of Kent, and in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University.
Prior to entering Federal Parliament in 2010 he was a senior advisor to the Minister of Trade in the Howard Government, and was two years Chief of Staff to the Minister for Small Business and Tourism.
On the 17th November 2016 the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan, made a Joint Media Release which has almost gone unnoticed but is one that in my opinion deserves applause.
It can be very difficult for returned servicemen to find work. This may be because of residual, war-related health issues. Alternatively it may be through deficiencies in training for their prospective line of work. Furthermore they are unlikely to receive credit for the specialized training they received in the Defence Forces, and the skills they acquired. Adding to their woes may be the fracturing of close relationships because they had been away so long.
The severity of the stress induced mental issues facing returned service men and women is demonstrated by a high suicide rate with 292 deaths between 2001 and 2014 according to the interim results of a study released on November 30, 2016 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Homelessness is another issue facing many service men and women on discharge because they had had accommodation provided for them whilst they were serving. .
The Commonwealth Government has through the years tried to do everything in its power to meet the needs of those who have at personal cost served Australia in the Armed Forces. This, it would seem however, is not enough.
To its credit Veteran Affairs is now fostering a different culture towards past defence force service. It is emphasizing the strengths that returned service men and women can bring to the work-force. It is seeking to develop ties between businesses within the private sector, government agencies, and ex-servicemen organizations for the benefit of Veterans.
May this more enlightened approach prove more successful.