State Branch welcomes the inquiry into RSL NSW announced by the NSW Government

16-May-2017

16 May 2017

State Branch welcomes the inquiry into RSL NSW announced by the NSW Government yesterday.

On 7 April 2017, the Caretaker Management Team of the RSL NSW proactively submitted a request to Minister Kean and Minister Elliot to give the Board of Enquiry additional powers under a Chief Investigator that would overcome roadblocks identified by the RSL NSW legal team.

These increased powers the RSL NSW requested of the NSW Government included the ability to compel witnesses and seize evidence.

This extraordinary step was taken to allow the members of RSL NSW, the NSW Government, and the public, to have complete confidence in the both the conduct and the outcome of the investigation.

RSL NSW is extremely pleased to see Minister Kean’s announcement yesterday that the investigation would commence with former NSW Supreme Court Justice Patricia Bergin SC as Chief Investigator.

State Branch of RSL NSW has cooperated without hesitation in all investigations since these allegations came to light, and will continue to proactively cooperate with authorities as the investigations continue.

The inquiry will take place under the state's Charitable Fundraising Act, which includes a number of offences relating to unlawful fundraising that carry jail terms of up to six months.

RSL NSW will not be strangled by allegations, and will be continuing with State Congress on 23 May 2017, including the declaration of the Congressional Election. The newly elected State Council will come into office at the conclusion of Congress on 24 May 2017.

The RSL National President has asked the RSL NSW State Council to stand down and has written to the State President in a way that may constitute harassment. These statements are prejudicial to any charges or investigations that may or may not be instigated by the National body. This action could be seen as contrary to any notion of natural justice as outlined in the RSL NSW Constitution.

It is not up to the Minister of Veteran Affairs or the RSL National President to decide who leads the RSL in NSW. It is the RSL NSW membership who will decide on 23 May 2017 through our electoral process.