“Frequency of Tuesday night parading varies from unit to unit” – I didn’t know that

It was brought to my attention recently that some Army Reserve units that have traditionally paraded every Tuesday night, may not be parading on Tuesday nights in the future, so that the ARTS can be use on field exercises.

This first came from a CONTACT fan who was concerned about rumours floating around his unit that the long-held, historical practice of parading every Tuesday night was about to change.

So CONTACT asked Defence for clarification…

Could you please comment/confirm/deny a rumour that’s been brought to my attention that at least some Army Reserve units may not be parading on Tuesday nights in the future, in an effort to save ARTS for use instead on field exercises?

 

Defence’s rather surprising answer came back today…

90 pages of first-class reading ––>

CONTACT magazine, issue 64

The frequency of Tuesday night parading varies from unit to unit and is influenced by a number of factors including training objectives, the time of year, and the availability of reserve members.

Some units may elect to aggregate resources in order to conduct a single activity over one or more days, which often delivers better training opportunities for members, and delivers enhanced outcomes for the overall reserve capability.

The Army Reserve is sufficiently funded in the current financial year, and into forward estimates.  

It is important for the Army Reserve to have flexibility to develop parading regimes which optimise training and capability outcomes within assigned resources.

This approach ensures priority training continues in all parts of the Army Reserve.

 

Now, I don’t know about you, but, I found this answer rather surprising.

I genuinely didn’t know that individual units had the flexibility to drop Tuesday-night parading and aggregate their resources in order to conduct consolidated blocks of training.

The soldier who brought the rumour to my attention obviously didn’t know this either.

And, it seems, Defence Force Recruiting don’t know about it either, because their web site clearly states, “You will be required to parade one night a week of three hours duration and one weekend a month...”

Now, I’m not actually saying that dropping Tuesday-night parading in favour of block training is a bad thing. And, it has been pointed out to me that some units, for example such as 51FNQR, rarely if ever adhere to ‘normal’ parade patterns (because they deploy so often).

I’m just saying that I didn’t know it was a unit-to-unit optional extra.

And I’m saying that many soldiers in the regions, who have been used to the routine for donkey’s years, didn’t know about this either.

Anyway, at the risk of labouring the point, I asked Defence some follow-up questions…

Can you please confirm/clarify your answer in light of…
  • long-running ad campaigns that spoke of “one night a week, one weekend a month”
  • the “commitment FAQ” on the defencejobs.gov.au web site that still clearly says “You will then be required to parade one night a week of three hours duration and one weekend a month to maintain your fitness and revise skills already taught to you.
  • concerns raised by Army reserve soldiers who complain of rumours that the standard and long-established practice of parading on Tuesday nights in their units is about to cease/change after many, many years
  • concerns raised around the difficulty of planning and coordinating civilian leave in a fluctuating, unpredictable, changing reserve-attendance-commitment environment
  • your answer not being consistent with long historical experiences of soldiers in the majority of reserve units
Can you please explain when unit-level flexibility in this matter came into effect and when/how was it communicated to the units and to the soldiers?
Also, in answer to my query about cutbacks to Tuesday-night parading in SE Queensland, in May this year, you said “Contrary to media reporting, Army Reserve members continue to parade in South East Queensland and the Reserve force is adequately funded. Regular Tuesday parade nights and training weekends continue”. This clearly infers that parading on Tuesday nights is a regular thing. Please comment.

 

I told them I’d like an answer no later than 14 October.

I’ll let you know what they eventually come back with.

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(Disclaimer – My questions to Defence are from me as a civilian reporter and are completely independent of my reserve service. I am a sergeant in the Active Reserve, posted to a full-time unit, working on special projects. Therefore I am personally unaffected by this issue.)

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

3 thoughts on ““Frequency of Tuesday night parading varies from unit to unit” – I didn’t know that

  • 21/05/2017 at 2:43 pm
    Permalink

    What a fractured opinionated world we live in with facebook et al !!!

    We need to go easy on our mates in editorial and submitted volunteer writers area’s, if ya think its easy to get an article right and reckon ya can do better then try it , see if you like it when people criticise and take ya out of context,

    This magazine does and always has done a superlative job of reporting all aspects of service life from all its varied tracts

    I wish i could make my time in the Green as entertaining as Mr Cavanaugh has made his , bloody brilliant writing , it feels like i could step in and not be out of place , i always eagerly await his articles and he has inspired me to attempt to write about my ( vastly less thrilling) but very enjoyable and entertaining time in the reserves !

    Cheers

    Reply
    • 21/05/2017 at 2:52 pm
      Permalink

      Thank you Norman – you are very kind.
      I will make sure Ian Cavanough sees this too.
      Cheers,
      Brian Hartigan
      CONTACT Editor

      Reply
  • 01/10/2016 at 12:19 pm
    Permalink

    A couple of Facebook comments about this story got up my nose, so I thought I’d reproduce them here for posterity…

    Alec Chamberlain said – Just take a look at units such as 51FNQR, it’s an ‘under strength’ battalion being deployed on a regular basis without ever leaving the state, and as such won’t have the same ‘parade’ criteria as other reserve units elsewhere. My point is they are different in many ways to what we would expect or a reserve unit. I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with this idea either, and it’s good to see units tailored to certain operational requirements, and the requirements of their part-time soldiers.

    Contact Magazine’s reply
    Hi Alec Chamberlain – I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said – nor does the gist of my blog, I don’t think. The gist of my blog is that the majority of reserve units, which have been parading every Tuesday night for donkey’s years, are hearing rumours that this is about to change – that no one has officially told them that it’s about to change – and when I ask for clarification on behalf of those who are ‘worried’, Defence tries to make out that it’s always been a unit-level decision whether to parade on Tuesday night or not. And that’s BS.
    It’s also BS in light of the answer given to me in May when Tuesday night parading in south-east Queensland was cancelled ‘due to budget shortfalls’. At that time, Defence denied that ‘regular Tuesday night parades’ were affected, contrary to media reporting. Which of course, I then heard from soldiers affected that their cancelled Tuesday night parades has suddenly been turned back on again.
    The thing is, I agree with you that cancelling Tuesday nights in favour of block training could possibly be a good thing, from a training perspective. But that’s not the point at all. The point is really about Defence changing soldiers’ terms and conditions of service without telling them (except via the rumour mill) and the subsequent honesty, integrity, veracity and consistancy (or lack thereof) of the answers they deliver to the media when legitimate enquiries are made.

    Alec Chamberlain’s reply – Understood. That certainly clears it up a bit. I was addressing more of the ‘surprised’ element of the article than the likes of what you’re saying now, in which case, I have to completely agree with you. Although perhaps the respondent to your email wrongly assumed you didn’t have the knowledge base to understand the full situation and/or answer, and gave you the civilian copy&paste answer instead. Might be worth another email? Call me naive but I’m also struggling to understand why you were given such a response. Regardless, keep up the good work, and thanks for all the free content ;D
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    Terry Toon said – What a load of social media vomit. CONTACT normally you have some good articles. Here’s something to consider, if majority of a reserve unit’s soldiers deploy on a field training exercise do you really think some reservist who can’t due to work commitments should be able to parade with potentially little to no staff to administer or train them. Perhaps you could do a story about how reserves are being embraced into Brigades as a another manoeuvre battle group.

    Contact Magazine’s reply
    I think you’re being a bit harsh on me. I made no suggestion and would never support the rediculous scenario you paint (of a lone reservist demanding special treatment while the rest of the unit is out bush).
    My argument is centered around Defence changing soldiers’ terms and conditions of service without telling them (except via the rumour mill) and the subsequent honesty, integrity, veracity and consistancy (or lack thereof) of the answers they deliver to media when legitimate enquiries are made.
    As for ‘reserves being embraced into Brigades’ – you are way out of line with that criticism. I have written several stories over many years supporting and praising the integration of reserves via Plan Beersheba. In fact, the spread on Ex Hamel in the latest issue of CONTACT, if you bothered to read it, had a good big spiel that explained in glowing terms what ‘Battle Group Jacka’ brought to 1st Brigade – Australian Army. You can find that story on page 30 of CONTACT 51, here
    https://www.contactairlandandsea.com/free_contact/contact51/contact51.pdf

    Reply

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