On Wednesday 23rd April 2014, the Victoria Park Sub Branch was asked to host the visiting East Timor-Leste ex service organisation delegates as part of their official fact finding visit to Western Australia. Two other delegations participated and went to the eastern states. Their objective was to learn from RSL experiences how it advocates on behalf of its members and also how we take care of our members and their families so be able to establish a similar organisation in East Timor, as well as further strengthening the prevailing excel-lent bilateral relationship existing between the peoples of our two nations.
The delegation, led by Mr Mario Nicolau Dos Reis, was tasked with the job of enquiring about how the RSL in Australia was established (Australia wide), how it is administered as well as determining what the principal core criteria has enabled the organisation to attend to and look after the ex- service members of all arms of the Australian Defence Forces.
Over morning tea, the President presented an overview of the day to day activities of the Sub Branch as well as the national and state administrative responsibilities in achieving the aims of the League with the emphasis being placed on the welfare and advocacy aims and objectives. Members of the Sub Branch made themselves available to try and explain the ethos and objectives of the RSL.
Many questions were asked and concern was expressed by them about how to unify and consolidate the many different cultural issues prevailing in East Timor at the present time. It was interesting working through the questions asked because of the different cultural aspects existing at this point in time in East Timor.
One of the most interesting outcomes of the visit was the different experiences that these delegates had during their military service which they related with great candour.
It was very pleasing to be a part of the discussion and to share in the openness and warmth shown by the delegates to the information passed on.
It is not known whether they enjoyed the ANZAC biscuits which were given to them before they left or indeed our Australian Lions fruit cake.
Thank you to Jack Matthews, Rod Labrooy and Bill Hofert-Smith for being available to speak with our guests.