RSL NSW President Update: 22 November 2017


Fellow League members,

I’ve been speaking to sub-branch Presidents across the state in the past week, to seek feedback on how we are tracking as a league, and to understand what issues are important at a local level. In all phone calls to date, sub-branches have stressed the need for RSL NSW to undertake major reforms to ensure we can grow in the decades ahead. I’m conscious that members want to understand better how this process of change will take place. In this update I will outline how we plan to discuss, debate, decide, and eventually implement the major reforms that our league needs.

The Albury Reforms

On 22 May 2018 delegates to State Congress in Albury will vote on a package of major reforms to ensure the strength, stability, and sustainability of our league. The centrepiece of this reform package will be a new constitution for RSL NSW. Right now, our constitution and regulations run to many hundreds of pages, and are complex, confusing, and in some places inconsistent.  This is because the Constitution has been added to incrementally over the past few decades, rather than comprehensively reviewed. We also need to bring it up to speed with modern governance and regulatory standards. In short, we need a better Constitution, which spells out clearly and consistently what we stand for, and how our league will work.

Accompanying the League’s new constitution and regulations will be a strategy to guide us into the next century of service. At the 2017 State Congress you resolved that State Branch should develop a new strategic plan for RSL NSW. That plan is well advanced. A strategic directions document will be presented at the December State Council meeting, with the aim of publishing it to members in the first quarter of next year for your comment and feedback. A fully developed strategy will guide the drafting of the new constitution, as well as provide a detailed project plan for State Branch to follow to implement the strategy over the next two years.

You should expect to see a draft strategy document for your consideration in the first few months of next year. We will need to incorporate your feedback into both our strategy and the new draft constitution, as well as any recommendations made by the Charitable Fundraising Inquiry in its 1 February 2018 report, and any rulings made by the ongoing Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission investigation into RSL NSW.

On 9 April 2018 sub-branches will be mailed documents outlining the proposed Albury Reforms to be voted on at State Congress. This will include a copy of the recommended constitution, the strategy for RSL NSW, a paper explaining the recommended changes to the Constitution, as well as the normal finance and annual reports for the League. State Council will convene a series of meetings around the state to discuss the Albury Reforms package, and to answer questions. The first day of Congress will be dedicated to an information session explaining the rationale for the changes to Congress delegates and answering any questions they might have. On 22 May, the Albury reforms will be presented to State Congress for delegates to vote upon.

Key planned dates:

  • December 2017 – State Council considers RSL NSW strategic directions paper for endorsement
  • First quarter 2018 – draft strategy published for review and feedback from members
  • February 2018 – Charitable Fundraising Inquiry report tabled to NSW government
  • 9 April 2018 – Albury Reforms package distributed to sub-branches along with League annual reports
  • 21 May 2018 – information session on Albury Reforms for State Congress Delegates
  • 22 May 2018 – State Congress votes on the Albury Reforms

This package of reforms, the Albury Reforms, will set our league up for the century ahead, and aims to improve our governance, simplify our administration, and position us to deliver greater impact for veterans and their families. As always members will have the final say on what changes are made to our league.

Central Council of Women’s Auxiliaries

Last week I was privileged to attend a parliamentary reception for the Central Council of Women’s Auxiliaries, hosted by the member for Campbelltown, Greg Warren MP. Members of the government and opposition both spoke from the floor of the legislative assembly to pay tribute to the remarkable work our women’s auxiliaries do, and to their quilting project in particular. CCWA has coordinated the making of a range of commemorative quilts, one of which has been presented to the Australian War Memorial, as well as laundry bags for members of teams that will participate in the 2018 Invictus Games. Mrs Linda Hurley, patron of our women’s auxiliaries, composed and sang a very special song of tribute to the CCWA on the day.

 Members of Parliament pay tribute to the work of the CCWA

RSL NSW website re-development

As part of our commitment to improve communication and in response to many comments we are redesigning the RSL NSW website. We will shortly be inviting members to provide feedback by email. Later, we will be inviting members to road-test parts of the new site. To have your say, you will need to provide State Branch with your email address. If you haven’t already done so, please email your name, membership number and email address for correspondence to

Reveille in 2018

I know how important Reveille is to the members of the League, so I want to assure everyone that the magazine will continue to be published and posted to those members who wish to receive it. However, due to the large costs associated with publishing the magazine, we will be reducing the number of issues from six to four in 2018. The magazine will be an important way to publish information about the Albury Reforms as well as your feedback, and so we anticipate the first issue will be published in February-March 2018 and a second issue will be published around the time of State Congress in May. I will keep you updated on when to expect Reveille in your mailbox, and we anticipate a more regular publishing timetable from June next year.

Donations between RSL NSW entities

There has been confusion around whether sub-branches and auxiliaries can donate funds to other sub-branches, the Central Council of Women’s Auxiliaries, or State Branch. This is partly in response to developments during the Charitable Fundraising Inquiry, where it was suggested that a donation of funds from a sub-branch (for example to the State Branch Support and Assistance Fund) could be an act of fundraising. We are seeking to clarify this. In the meantime, please hold the money you would like to donate in your bank account. There is no need to donate before the end of 2017 and donations can be held over until early 2018.

If you are looking to donate to RSL DefenceCare (RSL WBI), please hold your donations in your bank account until we advise that RSL DefenceCare can accept your donation.

Sub-branch budgets

As mentioned in my last update, the template for the 2018 sub-branch budgets is now available in the secure zone on the RSL NSW website. In addition to the digital version, a printed copy has been mailed to each sub-branch. It would be appreciated if you could return the completed form for your sub-branch by 31 December 2017. If you need any assistance with completing the new format or need more time, please call 0414 559 849 or email

In response to suggestions I’ve had from members, in next week’s update I will give you an overview of the different parts of RSL NSW, and what each of them does. Please continue sending me your feedback and thanks for your work on behalf of the League.

Yours sincerely,


James Brown