Sandra Lee

Sarbi  at the AWM Feb 23 2014 How good is Explosives Detection Dog Sarbi? The 12-year-old bomb sniffing dog came out of retirement again to take part in an event to honour animals who have served in combat since World War 1.

The Of Animals In War event at the magnificent Australian War Memorial in Canberra on February 23 was a huge success, but it was Sarbi who stole the show.

“Sarbi enjoyed the attention, but in typical military style, she proudly wore her medals and lapped up the pats from the crowd with little emotion – just a look of satisfaction that she was appreciated for doing her job well,” said Canberra local, Michela Laus.

These gorgeous photographs of Sarbi were taken by Michela’s partner, James Goodwin, who attended the event with their seven-year-old Belgian Shepherd, Sheba.

“As animals lovers we felt it was right to honour the contribution of animals in war time and it was nice to take our own dog, Sheba, along to the service,” said James.  [click to continue…]

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Twenty-two years ago my older brother was deployed to war-torn Cambodia to help that country prepare for a free and fair election.

Last week as part of the Australia Day honours, he and his fellow members of the Australian Defence Force were finally honoured with a Meritorious Unit Citation for their courage and “sustained outstanding service in war-like operations”.

The prestigious award recognises their service as part of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) from 1992 to 1993.

My brother,  Gavin Lee, (pictured far left in the photograph below) had been married a mere two weeks and was a signaller in the Army with the rank of Corporal. He was part of the ADF’s Force Communications Unit and proudly wore his pale blue beret, identifying him as a member of the UN force.Gavin UNTAC soldiers

Members of the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy were also deployed along with their counterparts from the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals in what was then, and remains to this day, the United Nation’s most ambitious and biggest mission.

Cambodia had endured years of uncertainty and civil war, and survived Pol Pot’s homicidal reign of terror during which millions were killed. The ravaged nation was, in 1992, effectively, a country of warring factions.

That it took 22 years for the FCU to be recognised with the MUC is a story of tenacity, endurance and the never-take-no-for-an-answer attitude by a few good and true men, including of one of my brother’s comrades in arms, Paul Copeland, OAM.

The unit became, collectively, only the 24th to receive the MUC since it was introduced in 1991, and 913 members have been included on the nominal roll to receive the insignia. Though, realistically, the FCU would have been the fourth unit to receive the award after the RAN ships that served in the Gulf War of 1991 including HMAS Sydney, HMAS Brisbane and the Clearance Diving Team 3. Had the MUC been awarded at the end of the operation, it would have been the first for an Army commanded unit. No mean feat. [click to continue…]

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Being a wife has its privileges. They’re called in-laws.

February 4, 2014

Just before Christmas I headed to London to conduct some interviews and do research for my fifth book, which will be published in 2015 in hardback by Random House Australia. The subject and title are still under wraps. For now, at least. While in the United Kingdom, my thoroughly charming father-in-law, John Charles Clemence, QPM*, [...]

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How Roodiculous – Prime Minister Gillard’s royal baby gift

June 24, 2013

With the government in a polling free fall coupled with toxic talk about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s leadership as she enters the last sitting week of Parliament before the September 14 election, her top strategists have decided to side step the harsh political reality to sell another soft soap story about Real Julia. And that [...]

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Power for power’s sake – the modern ALP reality

April 3, 2013

Given the fall out from the car crash that was the ALP last month – the aborted leadership challenge, the subsequent sackings and resignations, the show of little confidence in the sitting Prime Minister by two of her party’s most senior and experienced politicians, and sexism and misogyny crusader Julia Gillard’s dismissal as “irrelevant” questions about [...]

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Abbott accuses Gillard of playing the gender card

March 20, 2013
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Tony Abbott has accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard of “playing the gender card” when she branded him a misogynist and sexist in a scripted, scathing personal attack in Parliament last year. “I don’t want to rant and rave about my opponent but she’s determined to win an election and thinks the only way she can [...]

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