WAR veterans and retired military personnel stepped up criticism of the governments decision to boost their pensions but by less than an increase promised by the Coalition.
Former Brigadier Neil Weekes, who served in Vietnam, accused Defence Materiel Minister Mike Kelly of seeking to buy votes at the eleventh hour before the election without fulfilling a promise to rectify completely the unfair indexation of pensions. In an article War veterans and retired military personnel slam pension shortfall Gemma Jones reported the militarys concern.
The government this week gave military superannuants aged over 65 more generous indexation of their pensions; switching from CPI to a pensioners and beneficiaries index to determine rises.
It fell short of a Coalition promise to introduce a more generous deal for those aged over 55 to link their pension increases to the male average weekly wage index as well as pensioners cost of living.
“This is a national disgrace,” Mr Weekes said.
“Just prior to the election, they had six year years. It is cynical electioneering at this late stage of the governments term to come out and do this when in 2007 they said they would rectify it.”
Former Air Vice Marshall Peter Criss said the governments deal indicated it knew indexing military pensions to CPI for decades had adversely impacted on retired personnel.
“We are really appreciative that at least we have both sides acknowledging CPI is not adequate to protect purchasing power,” he said.
“Labor has not delivered the same quality package that the Liberals have.”
Mr Kelly defended the governments indexation policy, saying he had worked for six years to deliver a result for military pensioners and that the government had also separately delivered benefits to veterans.
“You get three years in federal government to get things done… Ive worked for three years and we have made a lot of progress,” he said.
“It takes time to make these improvements, especially in the context of the GFC and our fiscal circumstances.
“My personal belief is you can never do enough for your ex service personnel.”