Rental Tumut - an hour from the snow - sleeps 7

Karmen and Brian

Their youngest boy, Keaton

Their eldest boy, Klay

My brothers

My other granddaughter, Logan

Logan and Klay

My three sons

Paula and me

Michael Johnson MP (Ryan) - Standing up for Veterans?


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Michael Johnson (Ryan) - I want to raise a very important issue that concerns a substantial majority of my electorate. In particular it concerns the veterans of the Ryan electorate. This is an issue that, quite frankly, neither political party has taken to heart. It is an indictment of both parties. I regret to say that, during the time of the Howard government, we did not give this front and centre attention. But the now Labor federal government, led by Prime Minister Rudd, has been especially dismissive and should be especially sanctioned because, during the 2007 election campaign, the then Leader of the Opposition, Mr Rudd, told the veterans of Australia and of the Ryan electorate that, if he were elected, he would make it a priority to ensure that there was equity, fairness and justice in relation to military superannuation and the pensions of veterans.

I want to read into the Hansard the words of a very distinguished Ryan constituent, a former brigadier of the Australian Army, who is widely respected in Ryan for his service to our nation wearing the uniform and for his continued commitment to equity, fairness and justice, not just for himself but for many veterans who do not have the voice, the eloquence and the status that he has as a former brigadier. I refer to his letter to me because it reflects the scores of emails to me from veterans and their families who see this as an issue of equity, fairness and justice. This is what Brigadier Brian Wade AM—and I should say very clearly for the record that he has been awarded an AM by this country—of Taringa said to me, writing on 31 October:

Dear Michael,
I am writing to express my extreme displeasure in relation to the Government’s decision to adopt the recently released Matthews Report into the indexation of Military and other Commonwealth Superannuation.

This is a matter which is of considerable importance to all of the current and retired Military community and the purpose of this letter is to ask you to take some action.

The effect of the implementation of this report is that Military Superannuation Pensions will remain indexed to the CPI, whereas Welfare and Age Pensions are indexed at a higher rate, namely the greater of CPI or Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Costs Index (PBLIb) or Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE), and pre-2004 MP’s and High Court Judges Pensions are wage based indexed to the salaries of serving backbench MPs.

I have seen credible statistics and graphs which show that, in the period 1989 to 2008, Military Superannuation Pensions rose by 68%, while Age Pensions rose by 110% and those of retired MP’s rose by 131 per cent!

Put another way, a person who had served our country in uniform and retired in 1989 on a Superannuation pension of $30,000 would, in 2008 be receiving $50,400. Compare that to $63,000 for a welfare recipient and $69,300 for a politician! Hardly fair by any measure.

I do not know if those figures are 100 per cent accurate. I will not challenge them for their absolute accuracy, but, even if they are only partially accurate, I cannot stand by, as the member for Ryan, as the son and grandson of veterans from different theatres, at different times, who wore the uniform for their different countries, and say that we are satisfied with the current position. We must do something.

For the record, I want to make it very clear that I intend to continue to raise this issue of fairness, equity and justice in my party and in the parliament, because this is the right thing to do. If it requires substantial allocation of funds and the withdrawal of funds from elsewhere, then I am prepared to work with anybody in government or in the bureaucracy to find those billions of dollars, because there is great waste in this government. There is great waste in budgets. There is an opportunity for us to find money for a more equitable, more just and more fair cause. The country must honour those who have worn the uniform in our name and served under our flag. We must honour them. (Time expired)
25 Feb 2010

I have just resigned as Opposition Whip, in order to speak more freely on a whole range of issues.

I am now no longer constrained in expressing my views as an office-holder occupying the role of Opposition Whip.

I will put my a copy of my resignation letter on my website this week-end so please refer to this.


Mike Johnson MP.

So, will Mike go down in history with all the other politicians who promised to do something for veterans but in the end only looked his their own supperannuation......... or will he make a difference?

Muslims in Europe

Europe is forever changed by its open migration policies and tolerance of others who want to enjoy the freedoms that democracy and the free market system bring to society. Sure, we all should be free to share in the wealth and opportunities regardless of our race and religion. It appears that Muslims are changing Europe. They are migrating and outbreeding the others – something they learnt from the Jews

Muslims in Europe link here

If Muslims want to come here to Australia and build their own schools and churches and put up religious symbols, then why not I say – everyone else has.

Personally I don’t care.

I’d rather Australians do something about the Aborigines who are living in appalling third world conditions right in our backyard. This is our greatest shame. We throw millions at the problem, but somehow nothing gets done.

Aboriginal people can expect to live up to twenty years less than non-Indigenous Australians. Indigenous life expectancy is so low because Aboriginal health standards in Australia are now so bad that 45% of Aboriginal men and 34% of women die before the age of 45. 71% die before they reach the age of 65. According to the United Nations, the quality of life of Aboriginal people is the second worst of the planet—only China rates worse.

Let’s fix our own backyard first.

What about the aboriginal denial?

Do we teach this in schools......

Causes for poor health and low life expectancy of aborigines:
     poor nutrition
     poor housing
     dispossession of their traditional lands
     low education level
     high unemployment
     hidden racism
     inability of politicians to address Indigenous problems

These problems seem so easy to fix, yet we fail over and over again to make any improvement.

Bugger the Jews, Muslims and Europe - let’s worry the plight of the aborigines first and put our money and energies into solving their problems before we look elsewhere at other peoples problems.
Click on pics for larger images....

Harry The Black

I first met Harry when he joined 2 Platoon A Company 2 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion in Vietnam in 1970. He was a ‘Reo’, a reinforcement soldier. Now there are a lot of traditions with infantry soldiers. For example, we never call anyone by their first name. We are not the RAAF. They may call each other Roger, Rupert or Charles. But we call our blokes Johnno, Smithy, Digger, Dickhead and Hey You. So what will we call Harry? His surname, Aspinall, was too hard for the average infantry soldier to say, and ‘Asp’ was equally as difficult. ‘Henry’ was out of the question; so we settled on ‘Harry The Black’. He was aboriginal after all.

So Harry The Black was posted to 2 Platoon. They put him in 6 Section. An infantry section is made up of ten men. It is divided into three groups: Scout, Gun, and Rifle Groups. And just like a football team there are glamour positions, but there is also a group of blokes that specialised at nothing, but could always be relied upon to take the ball up, especially when the going got tough, they would do anything that was asked of them and they could be relied upon 100%. I refer of course to the Rifle Group.

Harry The Black was a rifleman. The life of a rifleman was pretty tough. They carried a lot of gear, their own personal equipment and some of the section equipment. After all, the glamorous scouts who were up the sharp end, needed to travel lightly; they couldn’t carry a lot of the section’s gear. The big burly blokes in the Gun Group were the firepower of the section with the GPMG M60 machine gun; so they couldn’t carry any extra gear either. The riflemen carried it. As well as their own personal weapon the SLR, a rather long heavy rifle not really suited to jungle fighting, (but gee it was tough and it packed a big punch) they carried seven magazines, about four days water (eight water bottles – 20 lbs), six days food, some sleeping gear, two grenades (kept securely in their ammo pouches and not clipped onto their webbing like the silly Yanks used to do). Then there were the claymore mines, the M79 thingo and some ammo for it, maybe some spare rounds for the machine gun (those burly gun group blokes were pussies after all) and a few smoke grenades to signal the choppers. A total weight of 80 - 100lbs (40-50kg) all up.

When you put your pack on, your eyes bulged under the load and you patrolled stooped over to bear the weight. Patrolling was conducted all day every day. The riflemen were down the back. If you were a rifleman, your job was to cover to the left or right, or to the rear if you were the ‘tail end charlie’. In the jungle the enemy seemed a remote threat when you had to deal with tangling vines, leeches, ants, snakes, scorpions, spiders, and every other biting insect known to man and they were all waiting to pounce on YOU. And I haven’t even mentioned the MOSQUITOS. The heat and the humidity were oppressive. You were always drenched in sweat. Because you needed to conserve water, you didn’t drink enough and you were always thirsty.

Some days when the exhaustion clouded your brain you daydreamed of a large, ice cold chocolate milkshake. It would be so thick that you had trouble drawing it up through the straw; and the effort made your cheeks ache. With each step you grunted when the load on your back shifted as you picked your way through the jungle, your eyes continually scanned for the enemy. ‘Grunt’ was the nickname that would apply to the infantry soldier in Vietnam.

Harry the Black was a grunt.

When late afternoon came, you harboured up for the night. If the patrolling was done right, you had a track nearby where you could lay out an ambush. A track and creek was the jackpot. While the physically and mentally exhausted scouts rested, and the gun group prepared the gun pit; you went to work and did everything else. You cleared tracks on and within the perimeter and put up a cord at chest height from tree to tree to allow easy movement between pits at night. You did sentry duty. You carried water from the creek for the rest of the section. You set the claymores. You conducted the clearing patrol (a quick last look around just before last light). When you were advised of your time on gun piquet and the digger you had to wake at the end of your stint; you practiced the route so that you could move easily and silently about the position in the dark. A piquet was a two-hour stint behind the machine gun with one of your mates during the night. You would be lucky to get six hours sleep during the night. That’s of course if no enemy showed up.

So what happens when the shooting starts while you are on patrol? You as one of the riflemen have to close up to the guys up front. This means you conduct a darting run fuelled by adrenalin. The bullets from the AK47s crack, crack, crack, over your head. Leaves and stuff fall down on top of you. The rounds seem only inches away from your head. You don’t know what’s up front but you hurtle through the jungle to support your mates; vines and vegetation cling to your pack trying to slow you down. You drop to the ground and cover the flanks and the rear. You have praticed this drill many times. You know where everyone is. Your mouth is open, sucking in as much breath as you can, your throat is dry, you turn your head sideways so that your profile is lower and those bullets have less of a target.

When the shooting stops, guess who have to get up and check out the area where the enemy were seen to fall? That’s right, the riflemen. This is when it gets really scary. Out there could be a wounded enemy just waiting for you to walk up to him so that he can blap you with his AK47! He knows he’s gone, so he is going to take as many of you with him as he can. Even the dead pose a problem as the fleeing enemy often popped a grenade under the dead body. You move the body. Bang! The grenade explodes sending hundreds of hot, tiny metal fragments into your body.

That pounding heart which started bouncing up through your throat when the first shot rang out is still there. It’s a reminder that your body is saying to you, “keep your head down, stupid!” But you stand up and move forward to clear the area. The dead have to be searched. Yep, it is the riflemen’s job again. No one else volunteers. You have to do it. The dead must be brought back to the section position, now in all round defence. You never know when the enemy may counter attack. You drag the dead enemy by their feet. This is easier than carrying them. You grasp the end of their trousers. They feel damp and they are slippery because of the blood. As you drag a body into the section position, the shirt gets pulled up around the neck, exposing the bloodied torso; it is not a pretty sight. The arms are stretched up behind the head. The bodies are bent and broken from battle. They are still sweaty, and stained with blood. You gaze at the enemy soldier. His life is spent.

It is then you realise that he was just like you. He was doing his job for his country. But it cost him his life. Maybe you should feel sorry for him, but you are just numb.

You feel nothing.

Your throat is still dry from a mixture of exertion, fear and dehydration. You take a sip from your water bottle. The water is warm and doesn’t quench your thirst. What I’d give for an ice-cold chocolate milkshake right now. Your pounding heart has eased somewhat, and the shakes are beginning to set in. That’s what the smokes are for. After a couple of quick puffs on a smoke, you start the searching. No special gloves here. You take out your bayonet and cut the pockets open. You pinch at the clothing with your fingers, searching for weapons or documents. The bodies are photographed for identification, and then they are buried. The boss records the details in his diary, including the map co-ordinates. Who digs the graves? You are getting the picture now….. the riflemen. You move off with the rest of the section. You are totally exhausted, but you can’t relax, not yet. You move to a night location and begin the night routine; tomorrow it starts all over again.

2 Platoon conducted 318 operational days in 12 months in Phuoc Tuy Province, and never lost a battle. Unfortunately a couple of blokes were killed and a couple were wounded. Guess who loaded them onto the choppers and stood and watched helplessly as the downwash from the chopper made the blood soaked bandages dance in the breeze? Yep, blokes like Harry.

This was Harry’s lot in Vietnam. He did his service for his country. He put his body and his mind on the line. The continual alertness, the relentless patrolling in the heat and humidity under that overbearing pack, the lack of sleep, the adrenalin charged contacts with the enemy, and the most enduring memories of all, putting his dead and wounded mates on the chopper, were to have a profound affect on him for the rest of his life. And just like all his mates in his section and the platoon, he was proud of what he did. He did it tough and he did it right. He did make a difference. He earned his place in that brotherhood of very special men. Those men who are prepared to come forward and fight for their country.

RIP Harry the Black


I wrote this story a couple of years ago just after Harry died and I sent it to his son whom I met at the funeral.  A nice boy in his 30s who knew nothing of what Harry did in Vietnam. 

For years I have met people who seem to be an expert on the Vietnam War and I guess this was a direct result of how the war was portrayed by the media. 

That wasn't my experience. 

This story about Harry was my experience.

We are grunts.  Me and my mates wear that tag with pride and dignity.  We don't shout it from the rooftops, we don't have to - for we have nothing to prove to anyone.
We know that the boys from WWI and WWII experienced things far worse than what you read here, and I am still in awe of the WWII veterans and the stories they tell me of their service while I help them with their war caused disability claims. 
But know this.  We are fighting together now, and the great tragedy is that we are fighting the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and we have been fighting them for many years.

Australia not pulling its weight in Afghanistan

By ABC News Breakfast's Amy Bainbridge, staff

Retired General Jim Molan says Australia has a moral obligation to take over the military leadership role in Uruzgan province.

A retired Australian general says Australia should play more of a role in Afghanistan and take over the military leadership in Uruzgan province when Dutch forces pull out.

The Dutch are expected to withdraw in August, but Australia says it will not assume leadership in the province when they are gone.

Retired General Jim Molan, who helped command the Coalition forces in Iraq, told ABC News Breakfast that Australia has a moral obligation to take over the leadership role.

"Australia cannot win the war in Afghanistan by itself, but I believe that we have an obligation to play our role in the Obama strategy that our Government has fully supported," he said.

"At the moment I don't believe we are playing that role adequately.

"I believe we have the forces to do it. I believe we have a moral obligation to apply Australian standards, Australian competence and Australian humanity to the province of Uruzgan.

General Molan said if Australia did not take up the leadership, he did not know who would.

"Are we going to end up with a general from a country in Europe somewhere, in NATO, with ISAF, with a mixed NATO headquarters, running what our fine troops are doing in Uruzgan province?

"The Americans are the majority of the force in Afghanistan. They need our assistance now, and it just seems that we are taking a very narrow-minded and insular approach to this.

"I think that we could do it. I think we should do it. I think we have some form of moral obligation to run our little part of the war in an Australian way, and that's what we should be doing."

Link here

Rudd will be looking for a distraction to ease the pressure on Garrett, and the insulation affair - maybe this is it.

I cannot verify the contents of this post.  I am relying on Prendergast and Wiltshire for this information.

I have met  Garry Prendergast who was a platoon commander in Vietnam with 1 RAR and one of my mates in Wagga served with him.  He is highly regarded by his men, therefore I respect his views.

I haven't met Jim Wiltshire, but I do know that he is a man of principles and one who always puts his name and contact details to everything he writes.  You can't ask for more than that.

It is out of respect for these two men that I rely on their information to be factual and I post this story here ........

It is indeed a very sad tale. 

Killed in Action in Vietnam on the 30th May 1968
On the 26 Feb 2008, at the opening of the new Post’45 Galleries,
The Prime Minister Mr RUDD said
“We must continue to Acknowledge and Honour those that have died or fought in the service of this country and their Sacrifice must never be forgotten”
BUT.... Dal Abbott’s name does not appear on the Australian War Memorial Hall of Honour
A Brief Understanding of the PROBLEM.
2786017 Dal Edward ABBOTT (as gun No2 in 3 Section 7 Platoon C Company 1st Bn RAR), was Killed in Action on 30th May 1968 during a fierce close quarter battle near Fire Support Base CORAL.
At the request of his NOK (his parents) his body was not returned to Australia. He was therefore buried at the Australian War Graves Cemetery at Terendak in Malaysia. We have no argument with that position.
However, at the request of his NOK all details of his service and ultimate sacrifice appear to have been expunged from the DVA and AWM public records and, in particular, from the Roll of Honour displayed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Recognition of his sacrifice we believe was also excluded from the Honour Roll Scroll secured in the Ring above the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Anzac Parade.
So PUBLICLY Dal’s sacrifice is, effectively, unknown to all but a small number of Vietnam Veterans and has therefore NOT been publicly Acknowledged or Honoured as the Prime Minister has stated it should be and in a way that the general population would expect it should be.
How can ‘his sacrifice must never be forgotten’ when there is no public record of his sacrifice?
Some Background on Dal Abbott.
Dal Abbott was conscripted into National Service (NS) in March 1967. His parents were opposed to the War in Vietnam and wanted Dal to be a conscientious objector and challenge his NS call up. Dal disagreed with his parents over National Service and like a lot of ‘nashos’, saw his Army Service as a national duty and a personal character challenge. He duly undertook his Recruit and Infantry Corps Training and was posted to the 1st Battalion RAR in Sep 1967 moving into 3 Section 7 Pl C Coy.
From interviews with his Bn mates and NCO’s, he openly enjoyed the challenge of 1 Battalion’s hectic training program in readiness for Vietnam. He exhibited the usual pride in his section/platoon training, was keen to develop his personal military skills and was proud member of the 1st Battalion and C Company and while he was like many ‘Nashos’ that weren’t particularly happy to go to war, he did want o continue to serve with his new Army mates to do his ‘Duty’ and along with his mates volunteered for service in Vietnam.
Very importantly, before he went Dal had turned 21 and was therefore legally able to (and he did) make his own decision to volunteer to go to War despite his parents protestations. His mates noted up until they left for Vietnam that he would take his weekend leave to go see his parents and fiancée when ever he could, but he did not talk much about his family or their dissenting attitude to the Vietnam War. So at that time his relationship with his family seemed to his mates to be at least cordial.
As far as his Platoon mates were concerned, he was a mostly quiet but very friendly bloke who easily fitted in the group and was very well respected by his fellow soldiers and NCO’s. Many have referred to him as a good trustworthy bloke to have with you when the “S... hits the fan”. They felt they could rely on him doing his duty even under fire.

At around 8am on 30th May ’68, 7 Platoon and 8 Platoon were approaching a well dug in enemy (NVA) bunker system in very thick secondary jungle when all hell broke loose with both Platoons pinned down by withering machine gun and RPG rocket fire. Dal Abbott was the Gun No2 in 3 Section 7 Platoon and it was his job to provide protection to the Gunner, to feed new belt ammo into the MG and assist with any stoppages. The machine gunner, Pte Bob McLean, had a stoppage soon after commencing to fire a second ammo belt. Bob was having trouble clearing the stoppage when Dal tried to help but when Dal raised his head to fix the problem he received several rounds to the head and was killed instantly alongside Bob.
The enemy had the advantage and were moving to encircle C Coy. Meanwhile the remainder of C Coy was trying to extricate the two lead Platoons under fire. The timely arrival of some welcome Tanks from the FSB Coral eventually turned the battle around and Dal’s body was able to be recovered. Bob McLean felt very guilty about Dal’s death blaming his MG stoppage as the cause.
Events After Dal’s Death.
The story as we know it anecdotally is as follows:
Dal’s parents were notified of Dal’s death in the usual way and from feedback to 1 Battalion, their immediate reaction was along the lines...
”You (the Army) killed him ...we don’t want anything to do with his funeral ...You bury him” and some time later:
“We don’t want his name recorded on the Memorial or any other War Monument”

No doubt the War Memorial has a file on this which is likely show some public anti-war political pressure being applied.
And They Got Their Way !
After returning from the War, many of Dal’s mates and including the unit’s Padre Father John Tinkler made several efforts to see Dal’s family, to offer sympathy and help with their closure surrounding the death of Dal but the family point blank refused to meet with or discuss anything with those that tried to see them. For some of Dal’s mates, they felt that to meet with Dal’s parents would give them the opportunity to gain some closure over the death their mate Dal’s. But they were denied this by the parents and it affected them greatly.
In particular Pte Bob McLean felt very bad about the loss of Dal, still believing it was his fault. Add to that, the family’s decision to reject the Army’s normal offer to repatriate Dal’s body back to Australia and in effect his sacrifice plus the Govt’s insensitive and wrong principled decisions to consider the Parents wishes over a Nation’s responsibility to Honour and Acknowledge a soldier killed in action in the line of duty on active service.
Bob was so affected by his PTSD over this that in later years he was drinking himself ‘to death’ and eventually actually committed suicide, such was the effect of the loss of his mate Dal and the family’s negative attitude to Dal’s death on him.
Righting The Wrong.
However, Dal’s parents have now passed away. His sister, it would appear, still argues for a continuance of this denial of Dal’s sacrifice. We believe the parents never did have the right (he’d legally volunteered) and now the sister certainly has no right to deny Dal his public place on all Memorial Honour Rolls.
We believe our position has been supported by various local Councils who have approved the construction of Vietnam Memorials around Australia over the past 6-8 years, all of which include Dal’s name on the Honour Roll.
A recent example which supports our position is the Cherry Blossom Memorial in Bowral which, despite a representation to the local Council by Dal’s sister in 2003, the Bowral Council decided to approve the inclusion of Dal’s name on the Honour Roll as originally presented by the Memorial Planning Group.

I have had numerous messages from outside our ‘Coral’ group agitating to RIGHT THIS WRONG and the support for that to happen would be dramatically increased if the wider Veterans community and general public became aware of this injustice and that would then be a major public embarrassment.
We would prefer the AWM Council just quietly and quickly fix the problem now for Dal and for the benefit of all current and future veterans and for our national pride.
The wrong is all the more obvious to anyone who looks at the AWM Vietnam Honour Roll as Dal Abbott’s name should be the first on the list. It’s not but there is a blank space where Dal’s name should be, so some one in the AWM originally acknowledged Dal’s right to be there.
The original decisions by Govt and the AWM Council to not Honour Dal Abbott’s sacrifice back then were just plain wrong both in PRINCIPLE and MORALLY. They capitulated incorrectly to unfair political anti-war influence reflecting the then morally wrong and negative attitude of the general public at the time towards the Vietnam Veterans. It was wrong and must be rescinded.
What To Do Now.
It is simple.
Put Dal’s name onto the AWM Honour Roll and the Vietnam Memorial Honour Scroll.
DAL ABBOTT, as a National Serviceman called up for duty and having met the personal legal age requirement to personally volunteer for active service in Vietnam, was killed in action in the line of Duty for his country. Please, just simply publicly acknowledge his sacrifice.
Our Representation to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs (Alan Griffin) in March 2008 was well received and strongly supported but he said the matter rests with the AWM Council for a decision.
Our Proposal
We request the Australian War Memorial Council take action to:

Rescind the original AWM Council’s decision to not honour Dal Abbott’s sacrifice.

Affix Dal Abbott’s name to the Honour Wall in the space now allocated.

Add Dal Abbott’s name to the Vietnam Memorial Honour Scroll on Anzac Parade.

Enshrine the PRINCIPLE that all Servicemen Killed in Action while on active service must be ACKNOWLEDGED and HONOURED PUBLICLY on the AWM’s Honour Roll and DVA’s public records and,

Ensure the AWM Council’s deliberations remain focused on the PRINCIPLE of publicly honouring those Killed In Action and are not influenced by private or public considerations.
We infantrymen who served with Dal (Stacy) Abbott in Vietnam remain totally incensed at the original AWM Council decision and feel, since his NOK have so utterly and publicly rejected this soldier’s sacrifice, that his other "family" of Infantry mates and Vietnam Veterans should take action to redress the situation as a matter of mate’s honour and give Dal’s sacrifice the public recognition he deserves.
For goodness sake...he paid the supreme sacrifice. Let’s embrace it and publicly Honour him.
It would be fitting end to this saga if the problem could be resolved in time for our Commemoration of the 42nd Anniversary of the "Battle of Coral" and on the anniversary of Dal’s death on 30 May 2010.
As the custodian of the memory of all those who served and died at the Battle of FSB Coral, we believe that the current AWM Council should see the merits of doing the RIGHT THING by Dal because,
let’s face it, he bloody well deserves to be properly Honoured. It’s time.
The Battle of FSB Coral Reunion Group.

To the National Australian War Memorial 
On behalf of the 1st Battalion Battle Group Coral Reunion members and as their Chairman, I am applying under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOI) for a copy of all relevant correspondence relating to 2786017 Pte Dal E ABBOTT who was Killed In Action in Vietnam on 30th May in 1968 during a fierce fire fight for the Battle of Fire Support Base Coral.
Pte Dal Abbott was voluntarily serving as a national serviceman on Active Service with 7 Platoon C Coy, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment at the time of his death.
We seek ALL relevant correspondence and notes within the AWM files referring or relating to 2786017 Pte Dal E ABBOTT which were received from or addressed to or circulated within any of the following:
1.           The Australian War Memorial (AWM).
2.           The Dept of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
3.           Dal Abbott’s Next of Kin (NOK) and immediate family.
4.           The National Capital Authority (NCA) in relation to the National Vietnam War Memorial and relating to Dal Abbott and the inscribing of the KIA onto the Memorial Honour Scroll,
We are genuinely seeking to understand the background to (i.e. all correspondence IN including from Dal’s NOK or family) and the reasons for and promulgation of all decisions made to withhold the public recognition of Dal Abbott’s supreme sacrifice while he was on active war service for his country.
It includes any Council Minutes and both correspondence OUT and WITHIN relevant Departments or agencies which refer to Dal Abbott or his parents or sister (as NOK).
We understand and expect for privacy reasons that the individual personal details (names, address, etc,.) of the NOK, family or other private citizen may be blanked out.
We will treat all such documents with all due respect.
The mail address for delivery of the above FOI correspondence is: Garry Prendergast
37 Cantamessa Ave
Gungahlin ACT 2912
The contact Phone is 02 6242 4818     (or 0429 425 863)
We appreciate there is a long time period since the initial correspondences but we expect there would not be too many files covering Dal Abbott’s situation. We also believe the matters relating to the non-recognition of Dal’s sacrifice would have been considered publicly sensitive and important to the AWM and DVA and therefore worthy of archiving.
Yours Sincerely,
Garry Prendergast                                                                                                 Date:12 September 2009
1st Battalion Battle Group Coral Reunion Committee

Jim Wiltshire
107 Phillips St Wodonga 3690
02 6024 1079

Bike Crop Circles

From John Brooking in Portland Maine:


First race of the season. 
New cars. 
New track.
One, two finish.
It doesn't get any better than this, if only they had stayed in Fords.

Where's my hanky?

My mate Bill sent this to me....

Austin Plane Into IRS Building A Fake?

I'd like to make a prediction based on today's tragic news story about Joseph Andrew Stack, a software engineer who updated his blog, torched his house, then took off in his Piper Cherokee PA-28 single-engine airplane (aircraft registration N2889D) and flew the plane directly into an IRS office building to express his rage at the machine.

Prediction: he was not in the airplane. It's a fake, a ruse to allow him to run away and try to establish a new identity. (Life imitates art: see the movie Hopscotch.) Stack is a software engineer, and even puddlejumpers are driven by GPS and autopilots these days.

I expect that savvy Federal Agents will lure him out of hiding by sending a voucher for a free Google Android phone to his residence; all he has to do is go to the Austin Texas Radio Shack to claim it, wink wink. No software engineer could resist that.

If I'm right, and in ten days they find this technomage living under an assumed name in a flop hotel (with WiFi) living in the cash economy, I want my Fake News Predictor value increased to +20.
If I'm wrong, and in ten days they announce DNA identification of the charred remains, I reserve the option to allude to a obfuscating conspiracy involving President Obama's Kenyan wetnurse, who was once in a relationship with Vince Foster. This Birther/Truther crossover niche demands an inquiry, and the American people deserve no less.
The New Mexico Chilli Cook-off  

Judges Reports

Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato.  Amusing kick. 
Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavour.  Very mild. 
Judge # 3 -- Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway.  Took me two beers to put the flames out.  I hope that's the worst one.  These New Mexicans are crazy.

Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork.  Slight jalapeño tang.  
Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavour, needs more peppers to be taken seriously. 
Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children.  I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain.  I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich manoeuvre.  They had to rush in more free beer when they saw the look on my face.

Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chilli.  Great kick. 
Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of peppers. 
Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA.  I've located a uranium spill.  My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano.  Everyone knows the routine by now.  Get me more beer before I ignite.  Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest.  I'm getting sh*t-faced from all of the beer!

Judge # 1 -- Black bean chilli with almost no spice.  Disappointing. 
Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans.  Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chilli. 
Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it.  Is it possible to burn out taste buds?  Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills.  This 300 lb.  Woman is starting to look HOT ...  Just like this nuclear waste I'm eating!  Is chilli an aphrodisiac?

Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chilli.  Jalapeño peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick.  Very impressive.  
Judge # 2 -- Chilli using shredded beef, could use more tomato.  Must admit the jalapeno peppers make a strong statement. 
Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes.  I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics.  The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chilli had given me brain damage.  Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher.  I wonder if I'm burning my lips off..  It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.  Screw them..

Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chilli.  Good balance of spices and peppers. 
Judge # 2 -- The best yet.  Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic.  Superb. 
Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulphuric flames.  I crapped on myself when I farted, and I'm worried it will eat through the chair.  No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally.  Can't feel my lips anymore.  I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.

Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chilli with too much reliance on canned peppers. 
Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chilli peppers at the last moment.  **I should take note that I am worried about Judge #3.  He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably. 
Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing.  I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water.  My shirt is covered with chilli, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth.  My pants are full of lava to match my shirt.  At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me.  I've decided to stop breathing.  It's too painful.  Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway.  If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach..

Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chilli.  Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence. 
Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chilli.  Neither mild nor hot.  Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself.  Not sure if he's going to make it.  Poor fellow, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chilli?
Judge # 3 –