Page 1205 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022

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federal government is spending half a billion dollars to tear down an award-winning piece of architecture in the War Memorial to replace it with a larger exhibition space?

I am tired of the Australian War Memorial being a proxy for cultural wars. This is a solemn place that should be treated with dignity and respect in the face of the tragedies and sorrows of war. It is not a boys’ own military hardware glorification money pit that provides ex-Liberal ministers with taxpayer-funded retirement gigs, brought to you by a wholly owned subsidiary of the US weapons manufacturer that, coincidently, also happens to have another ex-Liberal minister sitting on its board.

I want to close on the topic of security versus that of war. Security is an intellectual, complex, nuanced, dynamic and multi-variable concept. War is simply horrific. War is a terrible blight on humankind. Banging the drums of war as part of a khaki election does nothing to help our security. I wish I could ask the 102,000 names that are listed on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour what their thoughts are on war. Thank you.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee) (3.49): I would like to speak to a line in the amendment from Mr Braddock which acknowledges “that current events in the Ukraine can be particularly hard for veterans and their families, and also recognise the impact that the conflict is having on the ACT’s Ukrainian community”.

I note that it has been a particularly hard year already for our veterans and their families and for the Ukrainian community. Veterans saw the publication in March of Major General Andrew Hocking’s Preparing for the Future report and there were hearings in Canberra in April for the royal commission into veteran suicide.

With that in mind, I would just like to acknowledge that difficulty and say that if there are any veterans or their families out there who are experiencing distress, there are a number of ACT government services available to help them. That includes the Safe Haven Cafe in Belconnen, where people can drop in and have a conversation with someone face to face. There is also the Access Mental Health line on 1800 629 354.

I would also like to note that we have a number of ESOs and VSOs in the Canberra community who are providing social connection and trauma-aware wellbeing and mental health programs to support our veterans and their families. I would particularly like to thank organisations such as the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club, Open Arms, RSL, Soldier On, Legacy—and there are many others.

For people in our Ukrainian community who are feeling particularly distressed, we also have services available to help you. You can call Access Mental Health on 1800 629 354. There is also the ACT Women’s Health Service available, which provides services in particular for people who are unable to access Medicare-funded services, and that includes women from our migrant community.

For young people, there is the Multicultural Youth Services ACT drop-in, and you might also find some services on, where you can engage with a navigator who can help you find the right mental health service for young people in the ACT.

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