FAIR INDEXATION BILL – GOVERNMENT DELIVERS ON ITS PROMISE
The Government’s FIB has been passed in the Senate on Thursday 27th March. This means that the implementation for those superannuants covered by this Bill will be effective from the 1 July 2014.
ADSO gratefully thanks the Coalition Government for implementing their 2010 pledge and congratulates all, especially the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Sen Michael Ronaldson and Stuart Robert for championing our cause. Their insistence on delivering that pledge has never wavered.
ADSO also thanks the Labor Opposition, the Greens and all parliamentarians who supported the Bill’s passage through Parliament. That support augers well for greater understanding of other outstanding veterans’ issues.
While ADSO is pleased with this success, it regards this as a first step achievement towards the same indexation fairness to be restored to maintain its purchasing power for those excluded from this Bill: namely, to DFRB/DFRDB superannuants under aged 55 years, and to all MSBS members.
This milestone recognises a number of facts:
- Parliament’s recognition of the equity which should now be applied to the other military superannuation schemes.
- Parliament’s recognition of ADSO’s active voice for the defence community and its influence,
- ADSO’s determination to extend this success to all military superannuation schemes.
Our success was possible by YOUR participation, either as part of our Action Groups, Planning Teams, donors and supporters, both external to and internal to the ADF, in taking our issues directly to your local MP and Senators, the media, our own defence family, the Australian community and through your own social media (facebook, twitter, etc) network. THANK YOU. Please help us recruit more supporters to the Fair Go Campaign here
THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT HAS CHANGED
The 2013 election result, while giving the Coalition the numbers in the House, does not in the Senate where until 1 July 2014 the Labor/Green alliance will hold the balance of power. After 1 July it is possible that the PUP with the support of independent Senators will hold the balance. See the article Treading carefully in minefield
Practically, we need to recognise that the political environment has changed. We can expect the Government’s austerity measures to impact on their consideration of our issues that they believe are unaffordable and cannot be funded. This policy will present challenges to our submissions. This means we need to build good relationships with the Parliament, all political parties and MP/Senators particularly in the local electorates to convince them of our rights, the facts and merits of our issues.
22 March, 2014 – 12:40 PM
4BC Weekend Mornings: Chris Adams speaks to David Jamison, National President of the Defence Force Welfare Association. He asks how the Abbott government can axe a paltry $260 thousand from its budget that helps the children of those that gave their lives with education expenses.
Jamison says that the Federal Government is sending the wrong message to the ADF and their families and his Association is developing protocols for dealing with them. He says the nation needs to support and honour the efforts of those who give their lives for their country.
This will prove to be an unpopular decision. Listen to the Interview here
In essence, the Government was removing an income support bonus of $211 a year which Labor had promised and funded from the mining tax. The Abbott Government’s election promise was to repeal the mining tax and they would not keep any Labor policies that depended on the income from it. Unfortunately, this included even the minor ones such as this income support bonus.
ADSO’s position, as stated to the DVA Minister, is that it was a bad decision targeting a vulnerable small number of children in the defence family for an inconsequential saving. It was unannounced and ADSO was not consulted before hand. We believed that the $260,000 to be saved could have been found within the federal budget without detriment to any other program or without adding to the overall debt.
At present the Government’s decision on the bonus remains in place but it has been rejected in the Senate.
ADSO – A REMINDER OF WHO WE ARE
ADSO is an Alliance of major Defence Service Organisations whose members include current and past serving ADF persons.
It was formed to protect and represent the Defence Family’s (past and current serving ADF members and their immediate families) interests by active engagement with the Parliament. The Defence Family’s community of interest size is about 3 million people.
Its objective is to protect the Defence Family’s interests and right the wrongs imposed on it by successive Australian governments.
It is issues based and for the Fair Go Campaign has focused on four major issues: military superannuation indexation, DVA disability pensions’ parity, the military compensation system (objective achieved with the previous Labor government’s review and its overwhelming acceptance of the findings) and ADF members and veterans’ health issues with a number of initiatives taken by the previous Labor government and ongoing work in this area.
ADSO is non-partisan and does not represent any political party. It does not support or oppose any political party.It does, however support or oppose policies that may help or hinder serving or former ADF members and their families.
ADSO engages directly with the Government and political parties to achieve its mission: “To obtain parliamentary approval for ADSO objectives.” By necessity it operates within the political arena on an issues basis.
I SSUES – OUR LOG OF CLAIMS
ADSO’s Fair Go Campaign’s objective is to protect the interests of the Defence Family and restore their legal entitlements that have been denied or removed by successive Governments.
Our major issues list is:
- Restoration of Fair indexation to DFRB/DFRDB under aged 55 and all MSBS members because of the inequity from excluding them from the Government’s legislation (Fair Indexation Bill 2014) that restores its purchasing power to DFRB/DFRDB superannuates from 1 July 2014.
- Restoration of DVA Disability Pension indexation to parity as legislated by the Coalition Government in 2007 and removed by the Labor Government in 2009. Veterans’ Disability Pension is compensation for injury and foregone ability to earn wages/salary. It is not a welfare payment.
- Abolition of MSBS maximum benefit limits .
- Increased support for Veterans’ health care .
This does not represent all ADSO policy objectives but is a reflection on our concentration of effort and concurrent activity.
We remain disappointed that the Coalition has avoided any firm commitment to restore the DVA disability pension indexation to that which they, the Howard Government in 2007 legislated but was withdrawn under the Labor Government’s term in 2009.
Why won’t the Coalition Government restore what was their 2007 correct decision?
There are 109,000 disabled veterans who are damaged physically and/or mentally from their military service. Of those 109,000, 29,000 have TPI/Special rate status that limits the hours they can work and hence capacity to maintain their standard of living: their loss since the 2009 removal of indexation parity is $3,300 p.a. and increasing each year
See a summary of the issue and the pre-election positions of the ALP and LNP here.
ON – GOING DIALOGUE WITH THE POLITICAL PARTIES
Our strategy to build good relationships with mutual respect and understanding with all political parties and Parliamentarians is in place with good working relationships with relevant Government Ministers, their Opposition counterparts, including the Greens and minor party individuals. We appreciate their commitment to on-going informal dialogue on matters effecting veterans.
While the Government has not pledged an early ‘fix’ of our priority issues, their pledge is to keep them under review, and to discuss them at regular informal meetings with us.
Recognition of this relationship can be seen in the Fair Indexation Bill’s reading in both the House and the Senate where specific mention was made of ADSO leaders; David Jamison, Alf Jaugietis, Bob Ihlein and supporters Peter Criss and Peter Thornton, who had helped those MPs/Senators to understand the veterans’ issues.
2014 DEFENCE FORCE REMUNERATIION TRIBUNAL (DFRT) TRIBUNAL CONSIDERATIONS & WORKPLACE REMUNERATION ARRANGEMENT (WRA)
In 2014 DFWA representing ADSO will consider a number of matters that will affect remuneration payable to ADF members. These include Special Forces and Special Operations Allowance, Field Allowance and most importantly later in the year, the umbrella for the ADF for the three years following the expiration of the current WRA in November 2014.
As an independent intervener in the DFRT process, DFWA will lobby hard on behalf of ADF members and will seek advice from them on their views as the case progresses.
WILL YOU HELP DEFEND THE DEFENDERS?
With over 250,000 people directly affected and who will benefit from the campaign’s success, we expect that they and their families would want to help us to help them.
If you’re a Defence Family member and none of the injustices directly affects you or your family, then please get involved to help care for the Family.
If you’re not a Defence Family member then please help those who are willingly to give their lives in service for our nation’s defence.
Here’s what you can do:
- If you are have already joined us as a SUBSCRIBER to receive our Updates, then increase your involvement by VOLUNTEERING to join your local electorate Action Team: check out the commitment HERE and bring your friends and relatives to join.
- If you have not yet joined us, then VOLUNTEER for your local electorate Action Group HERE or SUBSCRIBE to receive our Updates HERE and/or,
- DONATE to fund the Campaign. We need money to pay for our promotions, professional advice and administrative costs. Choose the amount and frequency of your donation HERE and/or,
- Become an ADVISOR. Help guide us with your experience and expertise in a particular Campaign activity, such as marketing/ public relations, media, investigative journalism, superannuation, legal, health, information services and technology, accounting, financial planning, sales etc.
Get your whole family involved, especially your spouse/partner. Remember that for military superannuants your widow receives a portion, five/eights of your superannuation payment, for her life time: a paltry amount that is an issue on our agenda.
Social media, in particular youtube and the ADSO facebook page have become an increasingly important and effective way to report our campaign and for people to engage us with their comments. Share our postings with your network
THANK YOU AUSTRALIA FOR YOUR SUPPORT
From The Fair Go Team our thanks to all our Action Team warriors and supporters.
Campaign National Spokesperson: David Jamison