Yesterday many of us celebrated Valentine’s Day but, perhaps more importantly, 14 February was also National Servicemen’s Day-a day for Australians to pay tribute to those who served our nation in times of war and peace. Of the 287,000 young Nashos who served between 1951 and 1972, 212 made the ultimate sacrifice. Four of these servicemen were from the Bayside community in my electorate of Bonner. Yesterday, in a moving ceremony, the Manly-Lota RSL remembered Private Ken Gant, Mr Ian Kingston, Mr Ray Kermode and Mr Joseph Ramsey for their national service to our great country. I thank Peter Kinsella, President of the Manly-Lota RSL, for hosting this event and the RSL members for all the wonderful work that they continue to contribute to the Bayside community.
On a similar note, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, the shadow minister for veterans’ affairs, who kindly hosted a veterans affairs forum in Bonner in December. The forum was attended by more than 100 veterans and representatives from the sub-branches across my electorate, with the biggest topic of concern being the presently unfair indexation situation. During the forum, Senator Ronaldson restated the coalition’s commitment, which I wholeheartedly support, to providing fair, just and equitable indexation to these superannuation pensions. He recommitted the coalition to giving these men and women a fair go. I would like to thank Senator Ronaldson for his honest and frank approach to some hard questions from the audience. It is obvious that he is a man who genuinely cares about our veterans and I have every faith in him that he will deliver the necessary reform when we are again in government.
These community forums cannot be a success without the wonderful contributions of those community members who volunteer their time. I sincerely thank the Wynnum RSL for hosting the veterans affairs forum. In particular, special mention must be made of Jessica Walmlsey, the functions coordinator at the Wynnum RSL. I would like to also thank the President of the Wynnum RSL, Mr Reg O’Malley, and his extremely generous board, who happily donated morning tea to the attendees of our forum and hosted the function in their club. Thank you also to Robert Hardie from Senator Ronaldson’s office for his professionalism and dedication to veterans affairs.