Just one day after the budget, it is no surprise to see a number of facebook pages sizzling with comments from former ADF members venting their disgust and anger at the failure of the Gillard Government to again face up to its obligations to serving and former members of the ADF, many of whom have been discriminated against for more than twenty years.
Military widows and former ADF members on invalid and disability pensions are among those who feel betrayed by continued denial of their correct entitlements. Despite the state of federal finances, the Government has a clear obligation to restore the commitments Parliament gave to the Nation’s servicemen and women. In last night’s budget the Government failed yet again to address the obscenity of unfairly discounting cost of living adjustments for military superannuation pensions and the failure to include veteran disability pensions in the 2009 budget pension increases.
Continued inaction by this Government is inexcusable. It has nothing to do with budget deficits or fiscal responsibility. It has everything to do with a lack of political will to honour its “employer” responsibility to those who have honourably served their Nation in uniform. Even in its dying days, this Government could still do the right thing and restore fair indexation of all Military Superannuation Payments, abolish Military Superannuation Benefit Scheme Maximum Benefit Limits (MBL) as recommended in the 2007 Review into Military Superannuation, and adjust the Veterans Disability Pension Rates in line with the adjustment of Age and Service Pension single rate in the 2009/10 budget.
But it won’t.
If any other employer failed to keep its part of a workplace agreement, there would be recourse to Fair Work Australia for redress. ADF members have no such right! This places an added responsibility on governments to recognise the unique nature of military service and act honourably – something demonstrably missing from the current administration.