WHATS IT ALL ABOUT?
The “FAIR GO!” campaign is an issues based, apolitical campaign to correct existing wrongs and improve the well being of the defence family.
It began with the formal establishment of The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) comprising DFWA, NAA, RAAFA, RAR Corporation and ASASA prior to the 2010 Federal Election to influence all political parties to accept our objectives and in Government to implement them.
Restoration of Fair indexation to DFR B/DFRDB under aged 55 and all MSBS members – because of the inequity from excluding them from the Government’s legislation (Fair Indexation Bill 2014) that restores its purchasing power to DFRB/DFRDB superannuates from 1 July 2014 .
Restoration of DVA Disability Pension indexation to parity as legislated by the Coalition Government in 2007 and removed by the Labor Government in 2009.
Increased support for Veterans health care – because mental health and residential accommodation for younger veterans in particular are issues that are increasing in frequency and severity. We want increased funding and DVA support for appropriate community accommodation in order to meet the needs of veterans with mental health issues as well as younger veterans in need of care.
4.Abolition of MSBS maximum benefit limits.
5. Increased support for primary carers and their own health needs.
6. Increased % to Spouses Reversionary Benefits.
7. Abolition of tax on Superannuation.
8. Access to Government Superannuation for the ADF Reserve members.
9. Enhanced support for self management mental health programs.
The Campaign is governed by the National Coordination Council, consisting of the Presidents of each Alliance partner and the Campaign Director. It initiates and represents ADSO at meetings with the Government, Parliamentarians, political party organisations , government agencies and the national media. ADSO has a national support network of State/Territory and Local Area Action Groups in all federal electorates.
The strategy promotes our objectives by direct and indirect means to the elected decision makers (Government, Parliamentarians and their political parties), the media and the electors (our defence community and the voting public).
Overview – Campaigns Progress
To date the Campaign has moved through two distinct phases and is currently in the third phase of direct action. You can track the details through our Updates and past events.
Phase 1 – Pre 2010 Election
We launched the Campaign publicly on the 11th July, just 40 days before the election amid the political circumstances our fair go for military superannuation indexation garnered no interest from the media, nevertheless we were successful in having the Coalition, the Greens and the Independents adopt our indexation objective as their election policy.
We failed to win the Governments acceptance of our fair indexation objective on the basis of the Matthews Review recommendation that CPI was the right formula and the changed formulas implementation costs were too large.
The Coalitions commitment was limited to DFRB and DFRDB recipients aged 55 years and older only and excluded the current Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme (MSBS) contributors. We reluctantly accepted this on the basis that the Coalition in Government would remove these exclusions. Better to gain 80% of the objective than 100% of nothing.
The Campaign succeeded in having many voters support our cause at the ballot box and in some marginal seats, particularly in Queensland, did influence the result.
The election resulted in a minority Labor Government with an Agreement from the Greens and Independents to support its fiscal target of returning the Budget to surplus by 2012-2013.
Our challenge to the Government to reveal its costing assumptions and calculations on which the Government accepted the Matthews Reports recommendation was ignored.
Phase 2 – Post Election to 16th June 2011
In line with the Coalitions pre election commitment to support fair indexation, the Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, on 18th November 2010 tabled the Defence Force Retirement Benefits and Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Amendment (Fair Indexation) Bill 2010 in the Senate to index military pensions at the higher rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) or the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI).
In early June 2011 the House of Representatives the Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel Mr. Stuart Robert MP, succeeded in having his Private Members Motion for “support to the concept of the unique nature of military service and Coalitions policy to index military pensions to members of the DFRDB and DFRB schemes who are aged 55 years and over, to the higher movements in CPI, Male Total Average Weekly Earnings or Pensioner Beneficiary Living Cost Index”, passed.
On the 16th June 2011 the Government, with the complicity of Greens Senators Brown, Milne, Hanson-Young, Siewert, Ludlam, and Independent Senator Xenophon, who had all publicly supported fair indexation, voted down the Fair Indexation Bill. Read the Hansard report (pages 1-20)
The House of Representatives, just two weeks earlier unanimously agreed to support fair indexation of military superannuation pensions. (Read our media release Senate rejects Fair Indexation Bill.)
Our Defence Family was angered by this duplicitous action.
See our Update 1/2011 and our Update 2/2011
Phase 3 – Since 16th June 2011 Direct Action
The Bills rejection united the defence community, especially serving ADF men and women and their families, to direct action.
It created the opening of the Campaigns Second Front “People Power” under the leadership of retired Brigadier Neil Weekes AM MC. See his Just a Fair Go website here.
The Government continues to deny our requests for a full exposure of its costing used to defeat the Fair Indexation Bill and to dispute our costing we have submitted to them.
We will continue to engage with the Government and Parliamentarians in Canberra and in all federal electorates.
Activities in 2012 saw the Governments avoidance to engage ADSO despite numerous requests to the PM and relevant Ministers whereas the Coalition continued to reaffirm its pledge that in its first budget in Government it would introduce fair indexation as sought by ADSO for DFRB/DFRDB superannuants over age 55 years only. That pledge did not include MSBS. The Coalitions exclusions were based on their unwillingness to promise anything that they could not fund until in Government when they were able to assess the true state of the Governments finances. ADSO sought the Coalitions affirmation that this would be an aspirational objective. The Coalitions actions in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to successfuly raise the matter in both a notice of motion and to debate a matter of public importance showed their determination to implement fair indexation.
Phase 4 – January 2013 Advance to the Federal Election
The PM’s early announcement of the election date of 14 September gave us ample preparation time. Follow our progress through Updates 27 to 33 here
A major breakthrough came in early March when at our rally at Rooty Hill during the PM’s visit to the Sydney’s Western suburbs, she agreed to meet with ADSO executives in Canberra (she had previously refused three previous requests). That meeting eventually occurred in July with the new PM Rudd in July. Following that meeting the Government’s policy on military superannuation was announced. Although severly inadequate it showed that the Government had accepted that CPI indexation alone did not maintain the payments purchasing power. With the new announcement of an earlier election date we now had a comparison of policies for all to see. The appearance of two new political Parties, The Katter Australia Party (KAP) and the Palmer United Party (PUP) added further impetus to our Fair Go campaign with veterans’ policies that in the case of the PUP was aspirationally superior to the major parties.
Phase 5 – After the 2013 Federal Election
The Coalition Government delivered its pledge for for fair indexation with the restoration of purchasing power for DFRB/DFRDB superannuates over aged 55.