|Registration no.||ACN 008 488 097|
|Queen Elizabeth II|
|Affiliations||Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL)|
|1916: Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia|
1940: Returned Sailors', Soldiers' and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia
1965: Returned Services League of Australia (to 1990)
The Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) is a support organisation for people who have served or are serving in the Australian Defence Force.
The RSL's mission is to ensure that programs are in place for the well-being, care, compensation and commemoration of serving and ex-service Defence Force members and their dependants;and promote Government and community awareness of the need for a secure, stable and progressive Australia. However, even as late as the 1970s it was described as an "inherently conservative" organisation.
The League evolved out of concern for the welfare of returned servicemen from the First World War. In 1916, a conference at which representatives from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria were present recommended the formation of The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA). New South Wales was admitted to the League the following year and Western Australia in 1918. In 1927, the Australian Capital Territory formed a branch and was admitted. During the inter-war period 1919 to 1939, the RSSILA was recognised as the appropriate body to represent the interests of returned Australian service personnel in exchange for extending political cooperation to the Nationalist Party of Prime Minister Stanley Bruce.[ citation needed ] The RSSILA was noted for its right-wing politics, in 1919 drawing on its membership to form a 2,000-strong paramilitary force called the "Army to fight Bolshevism", and permitting various right-wing Australian militia groups access to its membership lists to convince returned servicemen to join them. In 1948, WW1 veteran and politician Fred Paterson was expelled from the organisation for being a communist.
In 1940, the name of the League changed to the Returned Sailors', Soldiers' and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia (RSSAILA). It changed again in 1965, to the Returned Services League of Australia (RSL). Two more name changes occurred: in 1983, to the Returned Services League of Australia (RSL) and in 1990, to the Returned & Services League of Australia Limited (RSL), a company limited by guarantee. [ citation needed ] After the Second World War, amidst widespread antisemitism in Australia, the Returned Service League published antisemitic political cartoons encouraging the Australian government and Minister for Immigration Arthur Calwell to stem the flow of Jewish immigrants fleeing postwar violence.The objects of the League remain relatively unchanged from its first incorporation.
At the top of the badge is a crown, signifying allegiance to the Crown. Below the crown are the national flowers of Australia, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland: the wattle, leek, rose, thistle, and shamrock. In the centre of the badge are a sailor, soldier, airman and service woman marching with their arms linked, symbolising friendship and the unity of all services and all ranks in comradeship. The red of the badge symbolises the blood ties of war. The white background stands for the purity of motive and the rendering of service without personal gain. The blue is a symbol of willingness to render service to a comrade anywhere under the sky.
The badge may only be worn by members of the League: it is an offence under the laws of most Australian states and territories for an individual to wear an RSL badge (a) that has not been issued specifically to them by the RSL, and (b) unless they are entitled to wear the badge, at that time, under the rules of the League.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(May 2021)
The influence of the League derives from its founding days organising rituals for ANZAC Day dawn services and marches, and Remembrance Day commemorations. However, even as early as the 1920s, the role of the League became controversial as it banned women from attending the dawn service because of wailing. In addition to pressing for benefits for veterans, the organisation entered other areas of political debate. The RSL was politically conservative,Anglophilic, and monarchist.
In the 1970s and 1980s, many defence force personnel, including veterans of the Vietnam War, found the RSL – whose members had predominantly served in the Second World War – generally unwelcoming and disdaining of their service.Since the turn of the century, with the number of Second World War veterans in the RSL dwindling, Vietnam veterans and their contemporaries, along with ex-servicemen's wives, have become mainstays of the League.
The focus of the RSL has been on the welfare of Australian men and women who have served in the armed forces. It has advocated for veterans' entitlements and the protection of former battlefields. Usually RSL members ensure that those who have served their country are commemorated by notifying funeral information and handing out poppies at the funeral.
The League is overseen by a National Executive that consists of the National President; the Deputy National President; State Branch Presidents for New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia; and the National Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the National Treasurer, the National Legal Adviser, the National Defence Adviser, and the Veterans' Affairs Adviser.
The National CEO has operational control of the National Office. In 2015 the National Office building, on Constitution Avenue, Campbell, in Canberra, was demolished. The site became a large apartment block, in which the office was located as of 2019.
In each state and territory has a branch of the League, with a similar hierarchical structure. Within each branch is a series of districts and sub-branches that serve the interests of members in a particular geographic area.
The naming of these branches and sub-branches should not be confused with the commercial entities generally called RSL Clubs.
|1||Brigadier General||William Kinsey Bolton||1916–1919|
|2||Captain||Sir Gilbert Dyett||1919–1946|
|3||Colonel||Sir Eric Millhouse||1946–1950|
|4||Sergeant||Sir George Holland||1950–1960|
|5||Lieutenant Colonel||Sir Arthur Lee||1960–1974|
|6||Brigadier||Sir William Hall||1974–1978|
|7||Captain||Sir William Keys||1978–1988|
|9||Major General||Digger James||1993–1997|
|10||Major General||Peter Phillips||1997–2003|
|11||Major General||Bill Crews||2003–2009|
|12||Rear Admiral||Ken Doolan||2009–2016|
|14||Warrant Officer||Robert Dick||2017–2018|
|15||Major General||Greg Melick||2019–present|
On 4 October 2016, the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC News reported that RSL national president Rod White, a retired major of the Australian Army Reserve, received a share in nearly $1 million of consulting fees paid by an arm of the League, RSL LifeCare, and failed to disclose conflicts of interest. Mr White denied any wrongdoing and was quoted as saying, when questioned by an ABC News reporter: "I believe I have personally fulfilled my obligations legally and ethically and I'm just absolutely surprised at your questioning of my integrity in that regard".
In October 2016, legal advice commissioned by the RSL's New South Wales Branch indicated RSL New South Wales councillors, including Mr White, may have broken the law by receiving a share in $1 million of consulting fees while holding a voluntary position in the veteran's group: "It is possible, but not certain, that in doing so they did not meet one or more of their duties and obligations, or contravened the law." Subsequently, calls were made for Mr White to step aside in order to rebuild public trust in the League.
On 7 November 2016, ABC News reported Mr White as being likely to stand down pending an investigation into the consultancy fee payments, and that new documents obtained by ABC revealed that the quantum of consultancy fees paid was "far greater than originally thought – totalling more than $2 million since 2007".
On Remembrance Day 2016, ABC News (Australia) reported that the New South Wales Branch of the RSL was at risk of losing its charity status as a result of the payment scandal and that the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission had written to the RSL "outlining its concerns that the league may not be meeting its obligations as a charity" and warning, as a worst case, that "the commission may use its powers to revoke the league's charity status if it finds evidence that the rules have been broken".
The RSL acting national president, Robert Dick, was subsequently reported as saying the league would be working with "regulatory bodies to deliver an appropriate corporate governance structure to ensure there is no maladministration in the NSW Branch. We are determined to expose any wrongdoing".
In March 2017, Mr White resigned as President of the RSL; he had held the position for eight months.
Licensed clubs were formed as commercial activities to initially provide services by sub-branches to their members, including providing an environment for the protection and promotion of the ideals of the ANZAC spirit and heritage. The venues were established to provide hospitality for war veterans and a place for comradeship. Often they were located on land granted by the state government.Over time these commercial entities, known generally as RSL Clubs (but also called Ex-Services, Memorial, Legion or other similar names) generated profits and often donated to local community services.
The membership base of the licensed clubs, totalling more than a million, differs significantly from membership of the League. Membership of the League does not automatically confer rights of entry or membership to a licensed club but in some jurisdictions clubs extend honorary membership to serving members of the ADF.
Licensed clubs operating under the RSL "banner" usually have bar and dining facilities for their members and guests, and sometimes have extensive gambling areas. Each evening at 6.00 pm the Ode of Remembrance is read, followed by one minute's silence to honour those who died serving their country.
The first RSL home for ex-servicemen was established in 1938. The affiliated organisation, which became RSL Care, had 26 facilities in 2011. Following a merger with the Royal District Nursing Service in Victoria, in 2016 it became RSL Care RDNS Limited, an Australian public company registered as a charity, trading as Bolton Clarke. With more than 28 retirement communities throughout Queensland and New South Wales and several others in development, it was one of Australia's largest providers of retirement living and aged care services.
Operating under a co-operative structure, in 1946 a group of returned servicemen established RSL Ex-Servicemen's Cabs & Co-Operative Members Limited to provide taxi services to Sydney. By the 1950s, the co-operative had expanded to more than 60 drivers. As of 2021 [update] it operated on a commercial basis in which drivers were not required to be members of the League.
Commenced in Queensland in 1956, the RSL Art Union is a lottery that raises funds to provide welfare services to ex-service men and women, their dependents and to other members of the community. A major prize of a luxury waterfront home on Queensland's Gold Coast is usually offered, together with a range of bonus prizes. As of 2011 [update] , the RSL Art Union had provided since its inception A$80 million in prizes and had raised more than A$70 million for development and maintenance of RSL nursing homes, hospitals and centres, and retirement complexes for elderly people. [ needs update ]
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served". Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918).
Bruce Carlyle Ruxton, AM, OBE was an Australian ex-serviceman and President of the Victorian Returned and Services League from 1979 to 2002.
The Country Women's Association (CWA) is the largest regional and rural advocacy group in Australia. It comprises seven independent State and Territory Associations, who are passionate advocates for country women and their families, working tirelessly to ensure robust representation to all levels of government on issues that impact their communities. The organisation is self-funded, nonpartisan and nonsectarian.
Victory Memorial Gardens are located on the banks of the Wollundry Lagoon in the central business district of Wagga Wagga New South Wales, Australia. The 2.02 hectares of land were formerly the site of the Old Police Barracks and Police Paddock, where all of the police horses were kept. It became land for public recreation in February 1931. In 1925 the Wagga Wagga Municipality Council planned a tribute to those who fought and died in the First World War. The Council and Returned Sailors, Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA) originally planned a memorial hall to be added onto the council chambers but public preference was for gardens. There was a public competition for the design which was won by Thomas Kerr who was the chief landscape gardener of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. Work on the gardens started in 1928.
Soldier settlement was the settlement of land throughout parts of Australia by returning discharged soldiers under soldier settlement schemes administered by state governments after World War I and World War II. The post-World War II settlements were co-ordinated by the Commonwealth Soldier Settlement Commission.
The Anzac Day match is an annual Australian rules football match between Collingwood and Essendon, two clubs in the Australian Football League, held on Anzac Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women is a support organisation for ex-service personnel of the Irish Defence Services.
The Sydney Cenotaph is a heritage-listed monument located in Martin Place, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by Bertram Mackennal and built from 1927 to 1929 by Dorman Long & Co. It is also known as Martin Place Memorial and The Cenotaph. It is one of the oldest World War I monuments in central Sydney. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 11 November 2009.
Bolton Clarke is an Australian-based provider of independent living services through at-home care, retirement living and residential aged care. It had its beginnings with the establishment of the Melbourne District Nursing Society in 1885, which later became known as the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS). RDNS merged with RSL Care in 2015, and in 2017 the organisation adopted its current name to honour two pioneers of Australian healthcare, William Kinsey Bolton and Janet Clarke.
Anzac Avenue is a heritage-listed major arterial road lined with trees in the Moreton Bay Region, Queensland, Australia. It runs 17.8 kilometres (11.1 mi) from Petrie to Redcliffe, with most of the route signed as state route 71. The route was formerly the main route to the Redcliffe peninsula, until the Hornibrook Bridge was opened in 1935.
The Red Flag riots were a series of violent demonstrations and attacks that occurred in Brisbane, Australia over the course of 1918–19. The attacks were largely undertaken by returned soldiers from the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and were focused upon socialists and other elements of society that the ex-servicemen considered to be disloyal. The name was coined because of the flags that a number of the demonstrators carried, which were associated with the trade union movement and which were banned under the War Precautions Act. The most notable incident occurred on 24 March 1919, when a crowd of about 8,000 ex-servicemen clashed with police who were preventing them from attacking the Russian Hall in Merivale Street, South Brisbane.
Rear Admiral Kenneth Allan Doolan, is an Australian naval officer, author, and is the former national president of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL). He is a retired rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, his most senior commands being Maritime Commander Australia and operational commander of all Australian combatant forces deployed to the Gulf War.
The Australian Legion of Ex-Servicemen and Women is an ex-service association. Formed in December 1944 from a number of existing organisations, membership of the legion is open to all ex-service personnel, including British Commonwealth and Allied personnel, and former members of the peacetime Australian regular and reserve forces. The legion has branches in each state, and sub-branches in major cities and towns, with its national headquarters located in Melbourne, Victoria. The National Council meets annually and makes submissions to government on matters affecting the ex-service community, while other activities include welfare and social events, as well as assisting with compensation and benefit claims.
Hall Barry Greenland, is an Australian political activist. He participated in the Freedom Rides. He studied history at the University of Sydney in the 1960s and was a president of the Labor Club in 1964. As an editor of Honi Soit in 1966 he was highly critical of the war in Vietnam. During the 1970s he wrote for Rolling Stone and The Digger. He served on Leichhardt Council and is the recipient of a Walkley Award. In 2013 he was the Australian Greens candidate for Grayndler.
Soldiers' Memorial Hall is a heritage-listed community hall at 63 Nicholas Street, Ipswich, City of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by George Brockwell Gill and built by F.J. Lye from 1920 to 1921. It is also known as Memorial Hall. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.
Sir Norman Rupert Mighell was an Australian ANZAC Officer, Gallipoli survivor, company director, public servant, and diplomat. He was considered a well-known public figure after his return from service in the Australian Infantry Force in Gallipoli and was a leader in the founding of the Queensland RSL movement, later becoming its president. After his military service, Mighell directed many companies and later served Australia as the Deputy High Commissioner for Australia in London.
Anzac Day is a day of remembrance in Queensland, Australia. It is a public holiday held on 25 April each year. The date is significant as the Australian and New Zealand troops first landed at Gallipoli in World War I on 25 April 1915.
The Southport RSL is a sub-branch of Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) in Southport, Gold Coast in South East Queensland, Australia. Their building is at 36 Scarborough Street, Southport. The Southport RSL is a registered not-for-profit charity.
The Military Historical Society of Australia (MHSA) is a voluntary organisation formed in 1957, focused upon promoting research and study of Australia's military history. Administered by a federal council based in the Australian Capital Territory, the society has state and regional branches in all states of Australia, except New South Wales, which split from the organisation in 1968. The society has published a quarterly journal, Sabretache, continuously since mid-1958.
Sir Raymond Douglas Huish was an Australian returned soldier and ex-servicemen's leader, who served in World War I.