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May 2019

Shorten as a front-bencher in Albanese's cabinet - that'll end well!

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Bill Shorten is facing pushback from colleagues over his desire to become Labor’s health spokesman, with some opposition MPs suggesting he retire or be demoted to the outer shadow ministry.

After The Australian today revealed Mr Shorten was interested in taking on the health portfolio, several Labor MPs suggested he should not be rewarded by new leader Anthony Albanese.

The former opposition leader maintains some support in the caucus and from senior party figures, including Victorian powerbroker Stephen Conroy, who have advocated for Mr Shorten to be handed a senior role given his ­experience and work to unite the party under his leadership.

Mr Albanese today said he would not be announcing his shadow ministry when Labor politicians meet in Canberra for their first post-election caucus on Thursday. Nor would he speculate about his frontbench, which is expected to be drawn up by the weekend, saying only that Queenslanders would be placed “in significant roles”.

The Australian understands current health spokeswoman Catherine King, who campaigned alongside Mr Shorten spruiking Labor’s $2.3 billion Medicare cancer plan, has told Mr Albanese she wants to stay in the portfolio she has held since 2013.

A Labor MP said Mr Shorten would be a good pick in health or a National Disability Insurance Scheme-focused role, but suggested Ms King would want to continue her work in the portfolio.

“He would do well in a domestic portfolio. The health announcements were one of the strongest parts of the campaign. But Catherine might want to stay in that spot,” the MP said.

10 days post election, PVO's column deserves a much wider audience

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Like many I was surprised by the election result two Saturdays ago. While for many the double of Scott Morrison winning the prime ministership and Tony Abbott losing his seat was the perfect double, I only expected one of those events to unfold.

Bill Shorten’s loss must be personally devastating for him. I’ve heard that his house was half packed up, ready for the move into The Lodge. I know shadow ministers were organising post election briefings with heads of department, as well as lining up new names to take on such roles after the election. Shorten had already planned the timing and agenda of his first cabinet meeting before counting even started.


I think once isn't enough.

Bill Shorten’s loss must be personally devastating for him. I’ve heard that his house was half packed up, ready for the move into The Lodge. I know shadow ministers were organising post election briefings with heads of department, as well as lining up new names to take on such roles after the election. Shorten had already planned the timing and agenda of his first cabinet meeting before counting even started.


Our new defence minister Linda Reynolds CSC - she's no Jim Molan

Linda may be a lovely person.

I'm sure her family is very proud of her.

Senator Reynolds wears the National Medal (for service) the Australia Defence Medal (for service) and the Conspicuous Service Cross (for non-warlike service).

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Perhaps Minister Reynolds' outstanding achievement directing the coordination of Army's strategic reform program didn't require her to master a brief - here she is performing a 180 degree u-bolt on her party's policy just before the election.


Linda's an expert on reading lines about important things, like embedding human rights in global supply chains.


This is Minister Reynold's Tweet congratulating herself on becoming Defence Minister.

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You'll note the 3 peacetime non-warlike service medals. It's quite an accomplishment to have served in the Australian Army from 1984 to 2012 while managing to avoid deployment.

If we need an expert peacetime program coordinator as defence minister then Linda is probably just the ticket.

Meanwhile General Jim Molan AO DSO is cooling his heels watching Liberal Party factional hacks carry the day.

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Anthony Albanese thought it important to let you know he's not Anthony Abbott

...but he might be The American President!

Keith Payne VC - 50 years today since the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross

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For the award of the Victoria Cross:

[ London Gazette, 19 September 1969 ], Ben Het, Kontum Province, Vietnam, 24 May 1969, Warrant Officer II Keith Payne, Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam.

On 24 May 1969, in Kontum Province, Warrant Officer Payne was commanding 212th Company of 1st Mobile Strike Force Battalion when the Battalion was attacked by a North Vietnamese force of superior strength.

The enemy isolated the two leading companies, one of which was Warrant Officer Payne's, and with heavy mortar and rocket support assaulted their position from three directions simultaneously. Under this heavy attack, the indigenous soldiers began to fall back. Directly exposing himself to the enemy's fire, Warrant Officer Payne, through his own efforts, temporarily held off the assaults by alternatively firing his weapon and running from position to position collecting grenades and throwing them at the assaulting enemy. While doing this, he was wounded in the hands and arms.

Despite his outstanding efforts, the indigenous soldiers gave way under the enemy's increased pressure and the Battalion Commander, together with several advisors and a few soldiers, withdrew. Paying no attention to his wounds and under extremely heavy enemy fire, Warrant Officer Payne covered this withdrawal by again throwing grenades and firing his own weapon at the enemy who were attempting to follow up.

Still under fire, he then ran across exposed ground to head off his own troops who were withdrawing in disorder. He successfully stopped them and organised the remnants of his and the second company into a temporary defensive perimeter by nightfall. Having achieved this, Warrant Officer Payne of his own accord and at great personal risk, moved out of the perimeter into the darkness alone in an attempt to find the wounded and other indigenous soldiers. Some had been left on the position and others were scattered in the area.

Although the enemy were still occupying the previous position, Warrant Officer Payne, with complete disregard for his own life, crawled back on to it and extricated several wounded soldiers. He then continued to search the area, in which the enemy were also moving and firing, for some three hours. He finally collected forty lost soldiers, some of whom had been wounded, and returned with this group to the temporary defensive perimeter he had left, only to find that the remainder of the battalion had moved back. Undeterred by this setback and personally assisting a seriously wounded American adviser, he led the group through the enemy to the safety of his battalion base.

His sustained and heroic personal efforts in this action were outstanding and undoubtedly saved the lives of a large number of his indigenous soldiers and several of his fellow advisors. Warrant Officer Payne's repeated acts of exceptional personal bravery and unselfish conduct in this operation were an inspiration to all Vietnamese, United States and Australian soldiers who served with him. His conspicuous gallantry was in the highest traditions of the Australian Army.

Keith Payne was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Elizabeth II on the Royal Yacht Britannia in Brisbane on the 13th April 1970.

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The medal entitlement of Warrant Officer II Keith Payne - Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam

( select to enlarge )

  • Victoria Cross
  • Medal of the Order of Australia ( OAM )
  • Australian Active Service Medal ( 1945-75 )
    • 4 clasps:
    • "Korea" - Malaysia" - "Vietnam" - "Thai-Malay"
  • Korea Medal ( 1950-53 )
  • United Nations Korea Medal ( 1950-53 )
  • General Service Medal ( 1962- )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Malay Peninsula"
  • Vietnam Medal ( 1965-68 )
  • Australian Service Medal ( 1945-75 )
    • 3 clasps:
    • "Korea" - "SE Asia" - "PNG"
  • Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Medal ( 1977 )
  • Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal ( 2002 )
  • Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal ( 2012 )
  • Centenary Medal ( 2001 ) ( Australia )
  • Defence Force Service Medal ( Australia )
  • National Medal ( 1975 ) ( Australia )
  • Australia Defence Medal ( Australia )
  • Meritorious Service Medal ( MSM )
    • 'Commonwealth of Australia' Issue
  • Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal ( LSGC )
    • 'Australia' suspension:
  • Distinguished Service Cross ( DSC ) ( US issue )
  • Silver Star ( USA )
  • Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star ( Rep of Vietnam )
  • South Vietnam Campaign Medal ( Rep of Vietnam )
    • 1 clasp:
    • '1960'
  • General Service Medal ( Oman )
  • As Sumood Medal ( Oman )
  • Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal ( Malaysia )