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Media releases

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel


Tuesday 22 October 2019

Greater recognition for veterans and their families

Members of the community will be able to better recognise the unique nature of military service and further acknowledge the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families through legislation that passed Parliament today.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the Government’s Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019 establishes the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, which provides a formal way for all Australians to show their appreciation to our current and former Australian Defence Force personnel, and to the families who have supported them.

“The covenant, veteran card and lapel pin will allow the community — employers, businesses, community groups, veteran or sporting organisations — the opportunity to recognise the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our nation,” Mr Chester said.

“The legislation also includes a statement requiring the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to adopt a beneficial approach when interpreting legislation and apply a fair, just and consistent approach to veterans’ claims.

“Arrangements are also being finalised for businesses across Australia to recognise the unique nature of military service by providing benefits through the veteran card, and I encourage any business which would like to learn more about how it can participate to contact DVA.

“The Government is committed to putting veterans and their families first and this legislation is part of our ongoing efforts to transform the culture of DVA.”

The covenant is part of a wider recognition package, and enables the oath and lapel pin to be provided to veterans and eligible reservists. The package also includes the veteran card — a redesign of the existing DVA health cards, which is open to new applicants and will be provided to existing card holders over the coming months.

Those who have already applied for the lapel pin and oath would begin receiving their covenant packs soon and Mr Chester urged those who have not already applied for the covenant to do so online using MyService.

Upon Royal Assent in coming weeks, the Bill will become a separate Act to provide symbolic recognition for all veterans. It does not change current entitlements.

More information on the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, including how individuals can apply and how businesses and community organisations can register support, can be found on the DVA website.



Rachel Tharratt 0419 034 302 or Cedric Szigeti 0455 739 810
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon Darren Chester, Canberra ACT

Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit