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 ways:

  • increasing membership through all States;
  • creation, by popular demand, of a NSW Office of the VVAA;
  • 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.


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