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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Thursday, 6 February 2014
VA007

VALE ARTHUR GIETZELT AO

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, today expressed sorrow at the passing of the former Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Arthur Gietzelt AO, who will be farewelled at a State Memorial Service today.

"Arthur Gietzelt served his country during the Second World War and later served as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs from 1983-1987.  His contribution to our nation, particularly the veteran and ex-service community, is to be commended," Senator Ronaldson said.

Mr Gietzelt served in the Australian Defence Force during World War Two.  He spent the majority of his Second World War service with the 9th Australian Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers. Enlisting in May 1941 his service included approximately three years in New Guinea. He was discharged with the rank of Sergeant in March 1946.

"In addition to his military service, Arthur Gietzelt served as a councillor on the Sutherland Shire in Sydney for nine years and was elected to the Senate in 1971 for New South Wales.  Following the election of the Hawke Labor government in 1983, Mr Geitzelt was appointed Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, a position he held until 1987.  He retired from the Senate in 1989."

During his time as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Arthur Gietzelt achieved many significant milestones, including overseeing the introduction of the Veterans’ Entitlement Act (1986). This brought with it extended pension and medical entitlements for veterans and their dependants.

As Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Arthur Gietzelt also played an integral role in the implementation of a major construction and re-equipment programme in Repatriation hospitals, the gazettal of a number of Australian and United Nations peacekeeping forces (so that their members gained access to the Repatriation system) and the introduction of a scheme to set up joint ventures between DVA and ex-service groups to help elderly veterans maintain an independent home life.

"I send my sympathies to Arthur Gietzelt’s family and friends during this difficult time, and my thoughts and prayers are with them," Senator Ronaldson said.

Media inquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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