Written By Mark Coulton MP -
I was fortunate enough to recently participate in an Australian Defence Force Parliamentary Program. I joined the Joint Operations team in the Middle East Gulf Region for ten days where our troops conduct vital air surveillance and sea security activity in support of coalition activity in the Arabian Gulf and Iraq. This experience gave me a unique, first-hand experience in the daily activities and the sacrifices of our troops. This was a valuable opportunity - it gave me a perspective not many of us get to see and I firmly support and believe in the work our troops are doing overseas.
Australia’s service personnel, past and present, give so much to our country and deserve respect and recognition from the community for their service. There is no higher priority than the defence
and security of Australia and its people. As Christmas is approaching, so is the time we can all show our support for our troops serving overseas by sending them a care package, free of charge, through Australia Post.
Christmas is a special time for all Australians and provides us with a much needed opportunity to spend some precious time with family and friends. However, it is important to spare a thought for the thousands of Australian troops who will not be with their families this Christmas. Australia has almost 2,400 uniformed Defence
personnel in the Middle East, including 1,550 in Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper. Furthermore there are close to 400 troops in East Timor and 80 in the Solomon Islands and small numbers in South Sudan, Sinai and Egypt. These committed men and women are serving our nation and will miss out on spending Christmas at home with family and friends.
The ‘Christmas for the Troops’ program provides an Aussie Christmas for our deployed forces through the provision of care packages that contain donated items including magazines, lollies
In order to qualify for free postage, care packages can weigh no more than 2kg (cubed) and should be packaged within a “BM” size box, which is available from Australia Post for approximately two dollars. You will also be required to present photographic identification, fill in some customs forms and it is suggested that you use a liberal amount of packing tape to ensure that all of the contents arrive at their destination.
In order to ensure parcels reach the widest possible number of personnel, please ensure they are gender neutral and address all parcels to “An Australian Defence
Member” and not to a specific job title, trade or unit. Additionally, please note that Defence
is no longer able to accept care packages for Military Working Dogs or Explosive Detection Dogs due to their strict diet and training requirements.
The unique Australian Forces Post Office (AFPO) box will be open from 22 October until 7 December 2012. In order to ensure the packages reach the troops by Christmas, all packages should be lodged with Australia Post no later than 7 December 2012.
For more information please do not hesitate to contact my office on 1300 301 765.
To send a care
package or letter of support to an ADF member posted overseas, address the package or letter to:
An Australian Defence
ADF NSW 2890
What can be included in Care Packages
Be creative with donations while being mindful of Australia Post’s guidelines for the free delivery of care packages. Some suggestions are listed below, as are the general restrictions.
• Anzac biscuits
• Salted peanuts
• Instant Noodles
• Small tinned consumables
• Other commercially manufactured and packaged foods that are non-perishable
• Magazines – from Vogue and Women’s Weekly to Men’s Health and Wheels
• Puzzle books
• Letters of support
• Posters and letters from school children
• Stamped, self addressed envelope – this way personnel can thank you for the package
• Deodorant (non aerosol)
• Shaving cream (non aerosol)
• Small bottle of talcum powder
• Disposable razors
• Shower Gel
• Lip Balm
What not to include
• Pornographic material
• Alcoholic beverages
• Any food prepared or cooked at home, including cakes and biscuits
• Clothing (except socks)
• Pork products
• Perfumery products
Other Ways to Support the Troops this Christmas
Sending a care package to our troops is a great way to show support, but it may not always be practicable to do so. There are a number of other ways you may like to show your support for our troops and their families this Christmas.
Messages for the troops
For those of you who would like to express your support through a simple letter, you may like to encourage them to email their message to:
Please ensure you include their name, suburb and state at the top of the email message and be aware that Defence
may publish their letter on Defence
websites and social media sites so the message reaches more ADF members and their families. Personal details of the sender are not published.
For those who would prefer to send a message in the traditional way, there is the option of sending a postcard. The address details are:
Messages to the Troops
39 Personnel Support Battalion
Randwick Barracks NSW 2031
RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund
For those of you who are unable, or who perhaps don’t have the time, to put together a care package, another option is to donate money to the Returned and Services League (RSL) Australian Forces Overseas Fund.
The RSL’s Australian Forces Overseas Fund enables the RSL to send biannual care packages to ADF members as well as Australian Federal Police personnel serving overseas. This is a great way to donate as the RSL is well equipped to provide care packages that troops not only want, but are also culturally sensitive and do not contain perishable or illegal material.
More information about the RSL’s Australian Forces Overseas Fund can be found by going to www.rsl.org.au, then click on the “Supporting ADF Personnel” link and then on the “RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund” link. This page also includes a link to a donation form.
Legacy and Soldier On Donations
Another option is to make a donation in support of those personnel who have been wounded on operations and to those family members who are suffering financially and socially from the death of a loved one.
You might like to donate to either Legacy or Soldier On this Christmas to help these organisations
support those ADF personnel injured in the line of duty and the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The respective websites are: