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Circular 48/21 Fee Free Memberships FAQs

Further to Circular 42/21 regarding the RSL NSW Board resolution that membership will be free for 2022, there are some additional FAQs that need to be addressed:

How is the sub-Branch advised that it has a new member and how long does it take for ANZAC House to process the application?

The new member and sub-Branch will be advised on receipt of the online membership form. The membership will be processed within three weeks and the sub-Branch and new member will be advised accordingly. The sub-Branch is notified via its rslnsw.org.au email address with a copy of the member’s application form for record purposes.

The new member’s card and badge will be sent immediately to the sub-Branch.

ANZAC House has allocated resources to manage the processing of the high volume of new membership applications.

Why don’t veterans have to provide a copy of their service documents or be approved by a sub-Branch to become a service member of RSL NSW?

A declaration has been included in the online application that veterans and current serving members complete to verify the information that they have included in their service history is true and correct. If any person makes a false declaration about their service history, this is considered fraud and should be managed accordingly.

Before the online application process was introduced, new members reported 3-6 month waiting times for receipt of service records from Defence Archives. In addition to waiting for the sub-Branch to ‘approve’ membership, this long and cumbersome process deters people from joining a sub-Branch. The online application process means that any veteran who wants to join the League can do so instantly.

The relevance of the RSL is being questioned by younger veterans who are attracted to the more than 2,000 newer organisations that are meeting their needs without asking for membership. The team at ANZAC House is committed to promoting the League and generating membership.

Should the Executive request to sight service documents of new members or vote for the new member to join the sub-Branch?

No. There is no policy or procedure to support this activity. The new member should be contacted and welcomed to the sub-Branch to access services and support and invited to participate in social activities and attend meetings.

Can a sub-Branch or ANZAC House decline an application for Service membership?

Yes. The RSL NSW Constitution (Appendix B clause 5) states that ANZAC House may decline to confirm acceptance of a new membership if, in its discretion, the applicant does not satisfy the membership criteria but will not do so without first consulting with the sub-Branch.

Can sub-Branches decline affiliate members at their discretion?

Yes. The Membership team will liaise with sub-Branches about all affiliate membership applications. The Executive can accept or not accept Affiliate member applications based on the determination made by the sub-Branch at a General Meeting as to whether they will or will not accept Affiliate members. In their determination, the sub-Branch could also resolve to cap the number of affiliate members attached to the sub-Branch.

If a sub-Branch declines the Affiliate membership application, then the applicant will be offered membership with ANZAC House.

ANZAC House Membership

Veterans and current serving members of the ADF who do not wish to be a member of a sub-Branch can elect to join ANZAC House.

The benefit of this virtual membership category is that members receive the Reveille and our monthly updates to keep them informed about what the League does and what it means to be a member. It is hoped that these members will eventually choose to join a sub-Branch and get involved with the RSL movement.

Will the sub-Branch Portal still have the capacity to update the years of membership?

Yes. Nothing has changed in the sub-Branch Portal other than the change to the titles of ‘Financial’ and ‘Unfinancial’ members. Members who have paid their fee this year will now simply display in the Portal as ‘Active’. Any member who has not paid their fees this year will automatically show as ‘Inactive’.

Will the sub-Branch Secretary be required to update the status of members in the sub-Branch Portal in 2022?

Yes. All members will automatically default to ‘Inactive’ (formerly known as Unfinancial) from 1 January 2022. The sub-Branch Secretary, or the person responsible for maintaining membership records, will be required to make any person who wishes to remain a member of the sub-Branch ‘Active’ (formerly known as ‘Financial’) in the sub-Branch Portal.

If the sub-Branch is not retaining a portion of the membership fees, how will sub-Branches be in a position to contribute to the new Veteran Support Fund?

We expect most of the donations to the VSF will come from the sub-Branches that have large investments, but we also note many smaller sub-Branches make sizeable donations to RSL LifeCare (e.g. RSL DefenceCare program) which is part of the VSF through their fundraising efforts. The Strategic Plan is about the League working together to maximise how the League can support veterans across the State.

The team at ANZAC House recognises that the sub-Branches are at the centre of what we do under our Strategic Plan, and that’s why we changed the procedures around fundraising during appeals like ANZAC Day, so the sub-Branch retains 100% of what is raised, rather than pay 60% of the funds raised for the ANZAC and Poppy Appeal to RSL WBI.  We trust your sub-Branch will benefit from income changes like this to deliver on our charitable purpose locally, and if your sub-branch has a surplus of funds as a result of investing in the new investment model, the sub-Branch will be in a position to contribute to the Veteran Support Fund (VSF) once it is established. Comprehensive details about the investment model will be available in February 2022.