In the lead up to Anzac Day, new research suggests 43% of Australians agree that veterans are adequately supported with essential services, such as mental and physical health care and financial assistance – with the same number (43%) opining that more needs to be done to provide adequate support.
CAPTION: Sir Peter Cosgrove with pre-schoolers from the Little Diggers Pre School, at the RSL LifeCare Anzac Village. Screen grab from supplied video.
The research, commissioned by RSL LifeCare and conducted by YouGov, surveyed more than 1000 Australians and revealed 53% agreed that better access to mental and physical health care was most important to support veterans, followed by income support and assistance (15%) and helping prevent homelessness (12%).
When it came to honouring veterans on Anzac Day, the report confirmed an 8% year-on-year increase in Australians planning to commemorate the occasion this year (78%), with 17% saying Anzac Day would be more relevant to them this year than in previous years.
In relation to knowledge and a bond with veterans, 63% knew a current or past member of the Australian or New Zealand defence forces, however only 32% correctly defined a veteran as a person who had served at least one day as part of the defence force.
There was a mix of opinion between generations when it came to the importance and relevance of Anzac Day, with around 17% of those surveyed between 18–29 years confirming Anzac Day will be more relevant to them this year compared to previous years. Conversely, 43% felt that younger Australians under the age of 30 gave less importance to Anzac Day than when they themselves were the same age.
Supporting the need for ongoing and increased services for veterans, RSL LifeCare today launched an intergenerational series of content pieces, honouring, reflecting and commemorating on the sacrifices thousands have made over generations.
The series features RSL LifeCare staff, some of whom are veterans and family members connected to the organisation, along with former Governor-General and retired Chief of the Australian Defence Force, General Sir Peter Cosgrove, who sat down with pre-schoolers from the Little Diggers Pre School, located at the RSL LifeCare Anzac Village.
RSL LifeCare CEO Janet Muir said the content series shone a light on just how much Anzac Day and the sacrifices of so many meant to people from all walks of life and their connections to veterans past and present.
“The report findings, along with the views of those in our content series, highlight that there is real sense of connection and purpose around Anzac Day and the support of veterans year round and a desire to do more – and that’s a primary focus of RSL LifeCare and the work we do across our veteran services arm,” Ms Muir said.
“We know through our Veteran Wellbeing Centres and services we deliver for thousands of veterans and their families, along with interactions as part of local communities, how critical it is that together we continue to support those who have served and serve our nation and elevate the Anzac legacy for generations to come.”
Sir Peter Cosgrove added that while Anzac Day and the meaning and commemoration behind it would always remain steadfast, it was important to respect the differing ways that people of all ages honoured and reflected on the occasion.
“My connection to Anzac Day has evolved over time – from watching service men and women parade down George Street in Sydney when I was a boy to then serving in the Army and now as a civilian, having opportunities like I did recently, to sit with pre-schoolers at Anzac Village and read them a story about Anzac Day,” Sir Peter said.
“No matter our generation, we share in a country that is free because of a spirit, a connection to community, because of service and sacrifice that has been made possible thanks to hundreds of thousands of service personnel who have been selfless over decades.
“We should continue to share the message and meaning of Anzac Day not only on 25 April each year, but all year round.
“Lest we forget.”
Additional survey results:
- 78% of those surveyed said they plan to commemorate ANZAC Day 2023 and are most likely to do so at home with family/friends (46%) followed by attending an ANZAC Day march or community event (30%).
- A further 18% plan on going to a pub or RSL club with family/friends and 9% will be keeping up with ANZAC Day tradition and playing two-up.
- Those living in rural areas are more likely than those living in inner metro or outer metro areas to know of someone who is a current/past member of the Australian or New Zealand armed forces (72% compared to 58% and 59%).
- 14% had no opinion on whether veterans were adequately supported with essential services, such as mental and physical health care and financial assistance.
Research commissioned by RSL LifeCare and conducted by YouGov, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1007 Australian citizens aged over 18, weighted against the latest population figures provided by the ABS.