Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 2017) . . Page.. 4122 ..
There are also many other things that need to be done. As we talk about veterans we also need to recognise their individuality. They have unique challenges inside the service and out. They have often come from a culture of strict rules and regulations and this can impact on their mental health in many forms. In my life I have had the good fortune to meet and listen to many veterans, from World War I right through to more recent conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. I have heard the stories of the rejection experienced by Vietnam veterans back in the day and am committed to ensuring that no veteran is ever treated so poorly again. We must recognise that in many instances veterans will only share with other veterans. They should be empowered to get the support they need on their own terms.
I have seen numerous occasions when offers of support from professional people and organisations are not accepted because they are not offered by a like-minded soul. I am standing here today speaking about what I have seen happen to my friends and family, but I will never truly understand what they go through. I think I get a hint of it when I experience the camaraderie of my friends in the union movement. I have seen many of my veteran friends do this too, and I am thankful that they have the opportunity.
MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (4.01): I thank my fellow member for Murrumbidgee former Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Hanson CSC, MLA for bringing on this topic today. Jeremy is a decorated former military officer who has served our nation with distinction. I think it is worth us stopping for a moment to be grateful for what he has done with his life. We are each given one life to do something with, and I think Mr Hanson chose to serve us all with his life at a young age. He spent 22 years of his life in the Australian Army. He joined up in 1986 and only left the military to stand for election to this place.
Jeremy constantly chose to put his country first when serving in both peacekeeping and war service in East Timor and Iraq. In Iraq, Jeremy served in leadership of the very highly regarded Army Training Team Iraq, which assisted to equip locals to defend their own nation as it emerged from war. Australia’s Army training teams, from Vietnam onwards, have been one of our finest military achievements, and I am honoured to serve with someone who gave so generously of himself in that unit.
Mr Hanson has been awarded the following medals, badges and commendations: the Conspicuous Service Medal; the Australian Active Service Medal, with clasps for Iraq and East Timor; the Iraq Medal; the Defence Long Service Medal, with one clasp for reaching 20 years of service; the Defence Medal; the UN Medal, with the Transitional Administration in East Timor Ribbon; the Returned from Active Service Badge; and the Army Combat Badge.
This shows how much he and his family have put themselves out there for our community. We often talk in this place about those who struggle because of a particular situation, and indeed they do struggle, but when we turn our mind to our veterans the reason we honour them in particular is that they choose, of their own free will, to put themselves in a position of danger and stress, sometimes to their own detriment and their family’s detriment, for all of our sakes.