VETERANS PARTY – VETERAN POLICIES
We offer an unwavering commitment to lobbying the 45th Parliament to ensure that they adequately look to redress the failures of successive previous governments and actively move ahead with improving conditions for Australia’s men and women who serve. Our team is committed to returning Parliament to effective houses of legislature, and we are determined that if we are fortunate enough to have representation in the 45th parliament, that we hold the next Government to account on Veterans’ and ADF issues at every single opportunity.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Culture and Processes
We have on a number of occasions stated that we do not support a Royal Commission into DVA. As a party we think a Royal Commission would be too drawn out, offer limited terms of reference and come at an exorbitant cost: should it by slim chance pass both houses of parliament.
The Veterans Party is of the belief that an external business process redesign organisation should be commissioned early in the tenure of the next Government to overhaul and streamline processes and redesign. Additionally, we believe that a standalone Joint Parliamentary Committee should be formed to oversee the redesign and that Veterans’ Affairs become a standalone ministry; at the very least for the period that DVA undergoes reform and it is proven to be effective.
The fact that DVA has to administer three separate Acts is tremendously insufficient, and we believe that any external review would cite this as a key issue and support the amalgamation of Acts.
Personally, I feel for many staff of DVA who do the very best to support veterans, however are hamstrung by understaffing and training and administration strains placed upon them. Many frontline staff of DVA appear to have been let down by their senior departmental management.
The business process redesign process would also improve the perception of the department as a brand. Becoming more progressive and effective may allow DVA to encompass the perception that ‘We served Australia, now Australia serves us’.
Veterans’ Disability Payments
The Veterans Party acknowledges and commits to supporting the TPI Federation’s objective to parity the Above General Rate component against the tax-adjusted minimum wage as a community standard. We are scathing of the Labor party to exclude the general Veterans Disability Pension (VDP) rate in the 2009 budget. We support a “one off” increase to realign the VDP rate to that of the Service Pension and furthermore, we believe that a retrospective ‘back payment’ be made to those affected.
Veterans’ payments are not a form of welfare. They are an earnt entitlement that has been degraded by successive Governments.
The Veteran’s Party are fully aware of the ongoing and unresolved issue of indexation. Post the 2013 Abbott (now Turnbull) Government’s election, the indexation of DFRDB pensions was modified to reflect the age pension for those over the age of 55. The legislation enacting these changes did not remedy the problems for those under the age of 55 and all those on MSBS pensions, or preserved (employer) benefits, which are only indexed to CPI.
Preserved (employer) Benefit is an amount indexed to CPI notionally and members can only get access to it after they reach the preservation age. Given that CPI is significantly lower than that of the long term annual returns for superannuation, the potential detriment for members with preserved benefits can be financially significant.
The Veterans Party commits to seeking that all Military Superannuation pensions are indexed the same way as the age pension, and MSBS members who have preserved benefits immediately be given the option of transferring their employer benefits to a complying superannuation fund.
Furthermore, we are committed to removing the Maximum Benefit Limit that has been imposed on MSBS members. Stupidly, this is adverse to those men and women who choose to serve longer periods in the ADF.
The Veterans Party fully supports a covenant assented in legislation and has publically stated this previously in the media. It is important to ensure that the obligations of service men and women and their nation are reciprocated. We are aware that there have been numerous instances of precedence set not only overseas, but also in Australia.
The Veterans Party congratulates state governments who have prioritised veterans for subsidised housing. We also recognise the contribution of various organisations that provide emergency accommodation in various forms to veterans. The fact that some 10% of veterans make up the population of the homeless is unacceptable and demonstrates that the Government is not fulfilling their commitment to ‘serving those who served’.
We have been vocal in criticising both major parties’ pork barreling in promises like sports stadiums, when the veteran and wider community is faced with such a growing social problem.
The Veterans Party commits to lobbying the next Government to further fund centres that can not only accommodate veterans, but also provide a rehabilitation and support network.
Life Cycle Help
The Veterans Party believes that all service men and women with qualifying service should automatically be granted a DVA Gold Card on termination from the ADF.
Additionally, all other personnel should automatically receive a White Card for non-liability health care (eg, mental health issues and other determined common conditions) on termination from the ADF.
The Veterans Party opposes the current Medibank Health Solutions contract with the ADF that limits the ability of medical practitioners to refer ADF personnel to a specialist of the medical practitioner’s professional choice.
Toxicity of Mefloquine and Tafenoquine medications
If represented in parliament, the Veterans Party will seek a Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into the use of this medication and that affected personnel receive appropriate health treatment and liability acceptance without delay.
Federal Leader of the Veterans Party / Senate Candidate for Queensland
Tl: 0400 398 367
Australian Defence Veterans Party P.O. Box 3335