Betrayal of Newstart & Defence Force Retirees

25 Jan 2013

A letter to the Sydney Morning Herald 24 January 2013.

Defence force retirees receiving defence force superannuation, empathise fully with the recipients of Newstart, which now includes single parents, because we closely understand how these former taxpayers have, like us, been betrayed by governments since 1997.
Newstart and our superannuation have been seriously eroded in that time, by the operation of the basis on which they are both adjusted each year, namely, CPI based indexation.  In our case, we are, individually, hundreds of dollars per fortnight worse off, than if the fairer system used to adjust the age pension, since that time, were used.  The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has been asked to look at this unequal treatment of these two government payments
The present government was formally advised twice last year; first,  in March 2012, when it received the ACOSS/UNSW study and by a Senate inquiry in late 2012, that the Newstart payment was seriously inadequate, but. to its eternal shame, still moved single parents, whose situation is often more desperate than either the unemployeds or ours, on to it from 1 January, 2012. The governments argument is that limiting the benefit is an incentive to get work, but the situation is now extreme.  In any case,that line certainly has no currency in our case.
The government  has also been formally advised repeatedly, at all levels: Minister, Prime Minister (she has had ten letters (circa) from me alone for no reply) and even the Governor- General, of our parlous situation, in which many of the former defenders of this country, including those  physically and psychologically wounded, are being exposed to a form of serious financial elder abuse, through this discredited CPI based adjustment mechanism.
Best wishes,
Michael Gill