Bundy war veterans face RSL dismissal for speaking out
WAR veterans who put their lives on the line to defend Australia have been "bullied” into silence after daring to publicly air their displeasure about issues plaguing the Bundaberg RSL Sub-Branch and face possible expulsion.
The Bundaberg RSL Sub-Branch held a meeting on Tuesday, February 6, at the RSL's Veterans Support Centre, where members moved a motion of no confidence in president Paul Tramacchi. The vote of no confidence passed 67 to 47.
In the lead-up to the meeting several RSL members spoke to the NewsMail frustrated that the meeting was being held during business hours when working members and those with young families would struggle to attend.
After the meeting was held, members contacted the NewsMail and called for MrTramacchi to do the honourable thing and step down.
Now it's understood the RSL members who spoke to the NewsMail have received show cause letters from the sub-branch to attend a disciplinary hearing on March 15 to explain why they spoke to the media in contravention of Queensland RSL state bylaw 13.
This by-law prohibits RSL members from publicly criticising or expressing any view regarding RSL business or any sub-branch board or member.
A Bundaberg RSL member, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was disgraceful that veterans who had served their country with distinction were being treated in such an appalling manner.
"This will be very stressful and demeaning to them not to be able to speak their minds freely about their concerns,” he said.
"These people joined and served overseas on operations and fought for free speech and democracy.”
The RSL member said it was a bullying tactic used to subdue members.
The NewsMail understands it comes after a difficult week for the RSL after two board members resigned.
The RSL member believed the hearing would not be fair and the members concerned should be able to face people who were unbiased and independent.
Mr Tramacchi said he was unable to comment directly on any of these matters because state by-laws prohibited him from doing so but said: "I believe this present RSL board is the most transparent and accountable board and every decision is based on correct procedure relating to both RSL bylaws and constitution.”
Mr Tramacchi has previously maintained the sub-branch was not in turmoil.
RSL Queensland state president Stewart Cameron said this was a sub-branch matter and RSL Queensland "currently has no involvement”.