What he said.
The Hon. Gary Gray (MP Brand WA) responding to the Fair Go Campaigns criticism of the Government has written this article in the local Rockingham WA newspaper
The article caused an enormous amount of angst in the ex-service community as witnessed by these responses.
What Fair Go Campaigners said
From Gary Bates AM, Air Commodore (Retd) – Buderim Qld
Dear Minister Gray MP,
I have just read your public statement in Sound Telegraph of 27March.
It is bitterly disappointing for privileged politicians to mislead the general public by declaring Defence superannuants as better served than the community at large.
Your statement “exactly what they signed up for” is particularly galling.
Our Defence Superannuation Schemes rest in the hands of the Government of the day – YOU. We (Defence) did not get to choose to contribute 5.5% of every dollar since joining the ADF to Governments that chose to direct our contributions to Consolidated Revenue and failed to pay Commonwealth Contributions at the same time we paid our contributions. This free good to Governments was used at their choosing to benefit the wider community from a time when this community had no commitment to making any such superannuation payment themselves. To suggest the Commonwealth contribution is generous to Defence totally ignores the lost opportunity cost to Defence superannuants by having their funds redirected and not reinvested as all other superannuation schemes were and now are.
To say that a wage factor should not be incorporated into post-employment pensions is farcical.
- You know that CPI does not reflect actual cost of living increases.
- You know that the Government of the day is responsible to the Nation to ensure that Military superannuation is adjusted to maintain its relative buying power.
- You know that many military superannuants used their commutation entitlement to open supplementary superannuation schemes in the market place and were affected by the GFC in just the same way as non-military investors.
- You know that every Australian has the right to seek employment without having to forego entitlements previously earned so how can you state that such military beneficiaries are somehow better off than the community?
I resent politicians who seek to belittle the earned entitlements of those who have chosen to serve at the calling of their Nation and whose families have endured the contingencies of military life. I resent the manner by which you have characterised military superannuants as well off, greedy and undeserving.
Shame on you.
Garry Bates AM
Air Commodore (Rtd)
From Ray Gibson Queensland
I refer to the article attributed to Minister Gary Gray (Sound Telegraph 27 March 2013). I say attributed to because this piece of pathetic prose hardly contains an original thought and Im assuming that not even Gary Gray would be so arrogant as to claim authorship of such tiresome claptrap, previously regurgitated by Swan and Snowdon and many more of his Labor mates. I can only surmise that Minister Gray has been feeling the heat of veterans outrage over recent months and one of his minders has created the article for him by researching the archive of media statements and letters from Labors Spin factory in Canberra. Unfortunately for Minister Gray, his minder has failed to grasp that this litany of fabrication and half-truths has already been thoroughly exposed for what it is by respected veterans organisations such as the Defence Force Welfare Association and independent analysts.
As much as I would enjoy doing it, space limitations preclude me from tearing this article apart line by line. I simply refer your readers to www.adso.org.au where there is a wealth of material to allow any reasonable person to develop their own informed opinion on the merits of the veterans case.
As for Minister Gray, I suggest that he learn to live with the heat in the lead up to the election. We have barely started.
Alliance of Defence Service Organisations
Richard Usher replies in the Sound Telegraph
I refer to Gary Grays Opinion Piece where he seeks failed policy refuge in the comments of a former political has been, retired senator Nick Minchin, an individual who would not have any prominence today if it were not for Mr Gray.
As Mr Gray acknowledges the Coalition now has had time to rigorously reconsider the issue on its merits and has pledged to bring in fair Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) indexation for those aged 55 to align with other commonwealth pensions.
There are just too many half truths for Mr Grays article to address all the issues in a short letter.
He has shown he has no understanding of the unique nature of military service, and further more has no intention of working for or representing, the concerns of the military, mostly Navy, family that live in his electorate.
Mt Gray claims that since 2008 CPI increases have meant that DFRDB has increased 15 %. Careful analysis of my DFRDB records since 2008 indicates that my military superannuation has risen just 10.1%.
Mr Gray also fails to acknowledge that DFRDB recipients pay tax on their fortnightly payments unlike any category of pensioners in this country.
The real fact of the matter that Mr Gray overlooks is he will retire on an enormous tax free pension (properly indexed), regardless of any other income he receives.
His spouse would receive 83 % of his pension (properly indexed-not just at CPI) should she survive him.
Tim Matheson, for example, would receive a lifelong pension of $286,000 (again properly indexed) a year should he survive the PM.
If CPI is a fair measure of indexation, as Mr Gray thinks, then why is it that the Government changed from that system for aged pensioners in the mid 1990s? They changed because the value of the age pension was suffering significant decline causing falling living standards.
Even though Mr Gray has an economics degree from the ANU he fails to understand the issue instead relying on Labor Party spin in a continued obfuscation of their legal and moral obligations to former ADF employees.
At a more simplistic and political level Mr Gray fails to comprehend that approximately 6843 or 7.95% of his constituents are aggrieved about the Governments inaction to fix the indexation mechanism of their paid for retirement pensions.
Indeed with a margin of only 3.33% or 2866 votes he had better come up with another qualified “opinion” fast.
Defence Force Welfare Association
WA Branch Inc.