Why Are There Two Vietnam Veterans Groups in New South Wales?
In February 1995 the Vietnam Veterans Association of
Australia, New South Wales Branch voted to leave the National
Association at a meeting held at Granville. VVAA members can only
speculate on the full reasons for this move, and if an
explanation is sought, it should be obtained from what is now the
Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia, based out of Granville.
The other seven State and Territory bodies remained firmly
behind the National Council, and the Executive of the day,
demonstrating a remarkable solidarity in the face of the loss of
a significant proportion of the membership, endorsing the
existing structure of the VVAA and
the direction of Association. Confirmation of the decision not to
accede to the wishes of the NSW Branch has come in a number of
- increasing membership through all States;
- creation, by popular demand, of a NSW Office of the
- continuing recognition by the Minister, the Department
and the veterans' community of the pre-eminent role
played by the VVAA.
The NSW Office of the VVAA National Council was created by NSW
members who disagreed with the split, and as a result of a
groundswell of requests from members residing in NSW. There are
now five healthy Sub-Branches, with several others negotiating
their status. Only members of these Sub-Branches belong to the
VVAA. Some other Granville Sub-Branches have opted
out, and remain unaffiliated.
None of this has been made easy, as the name 'VVAA NSW Branch'
was been retained by Granville, and again, the reasons for
retaining the name are unclear. Our attempts to come up with a
compromise name have all been rejected. The VVAA was forced
to pursue ownership of the name and the badge - the very
foundation of our organisation. Both have now been
registered as trade marks owned by the VVAA, and may only be used
by members of the VVAA. They may not be used by members or
Sub-Branches of the Federation or of Granville.
The differences of approach between the Federation and the
Association are fundamental, and while at this stage
reconciliation appears unlikely the VVAA is always ready to
discuss the issue. This rift seems to be a common occurrence with
the veterans' community, and there are splits in the TPI
Association and the R&SL, to name but two. The view of the
VVAA is that we would like those differences to be reconciled,
but until that happens, we strongly support those who are working
for the welfare of veterans, no matter what their affiliations.