Veterans' Reference Group
Alison Merridew is the daughter of a retired RAAF Reserve Group Captain who served as an anaesthetist in Rwanda (1993), Bougainville, East Timor, Iraq (2005), and with patient retrievals following the Bali bombings (2002). Her father later applied his field medical experience to his civilian medical work, providing training to civilian medical professionals and helping to develop better equipment for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and other aeromedical retrieval services.
Whilst these were not "combat" roles, Alison nevertheless recalls being acutely aware that her father's deployments were not risk-free and there was the fear her Dad might not come home. Doctors had to carry weapons everywhere in Rwanda. The hospital base in Iraq was shelled. These deployments, for extended periods and often with limited communication, also had impacts on Alison's mother and sister.
Alison's experiences as the daughter of a veteran have led her, as an adult, to take an interest in matters affecting veterans/ex-service personnel and their families, particularly in relation to mental health and reconnecting with civilian life. Veterans and their families have particular needs and experiences that require appropriate formal supports as well as strong social networks. Veterans and ex-service personnel need real opportunities to translate their ADF knowledge, skills and ethic of community service into civilian life.
In her professional role as a Consultant, Alison has expertise and experience in governance, risk management, strategy and 'whole system' approaches.
Alison firmly believes that an holistic approach involving veterans and their families, the Australian Defence Force, other State/Federal government agencies, and the broader community is needed to achieve outcomes that are commensurate with the level of service and sacrifice that ADF service-men and women and their families provide to the Australian community.