It’s been a long held tradition to purchase poppies from local returned services clubs leading up to and on Remembrance Day, November 11; however, this year local RSL sub branches and their auxiliaries will be giving them away – no charge.
In August this year, RSL NSW issued a directive forbidding any fundraising or acceptance of donations, due to “an inquiry being conducted by … Patricia Bergin SC, into RSL NSW … and also of an investigation currently being conducted into RSL NSW by the Australia Charities and not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)”.
The directive pointed out that “a number of the technical procedures currently followed by RSL NSW, through its sub-branches and auxiliaries, do not comply with the requirements and obligations of the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 (NSW)”.
As a result, sub-branches and auxiliaries were advised to “do everything possible to ensure that any non-compliance with these legal obligations ceases immediately”.
Meanwhile, 130,000 poppies have been distributed throughout the state “so that RSL members may distribute them, free of charge, to members of the general public”.
Maclean RSL sub-branch president Steve Walton said people can expect to be able to pick up a poppy (at no cost) from wherever they may have done in the past.
“If people would like to drop into the Maclean Services Club they can pick up a Remembrance Day poppy up until the day,” he said.
“We realise that some people feel obliged to make a donation by purchasing a poppy, but we can’t take anything from the public” until the matter is resolved at state level.
A further directive to sub branches and auxiliaries, issued on October 17, states: “State Council regrets that we will not be able to raise money for needy veterans and their families this November.
“We recognise the distress and hardship this will cause some of our smaller, rural, sub-branches who rely on public funds to underpin their charitable work – please be reminded that State Branch has made funds available to support such sub branches.”