The Australian Newspaper reports. Below is an extract from the full article relevant to the PMs alleged comments revealed by Peter Criss in a 4BC radio interview with Greg Carey on Wednesday 21 August
A RETIRED air vice-marshal has accused Kevin Rudd of “bully standover tactics”. Air Vice-Marshal Peter Criss revealed Mr Rudd had warned him in a private meeting that funding for veterans would be at risk if he “bagged” the Labor government. He accused Mr Rudd of using “classic bully standover tactics” and threatening veterans with getting nothing if they criticised Labors military superannuation indexation policy.
The retired airman alleged that at a meeting in the Prime Ministers office on July 11, attended by Mr Rudd, Defence Force Welfare Association national president David Jamison, DFWA executive director Alf Jaugietis and Defence Materiel Minister Mike Kelly, Mr Rudd warned the DFWA against bagging the Labor government.
“I told him I was going to have to point out to our members that what Labor is offering is not a good deal,” Air Vice-Marshal Criss said.
“Im the national media manager, so I told him I would be putting together policy comparisons of what each party is offering. Rudd said, Thats fine, but dont bag us, because if you bag us, well pull up the drawbridge and youll get nothing.”
Air Vice-Marshal Criss told The Australian yesterday he had been intending to stay quiet about the incident, but chose to speak out after becoming infuriated with what he termed Dr Kellys “untruths” about military superannuation indexation during an interview with ABC News Breakfasts Michael Rowland on Monday.
On July 30, the government announced it would boost the military pension of more than 26,000 retired Australian Defence personnel by indexing their payments in the same way as aged and service pensions from next July. But the measure only applies to those aged 65 and over, which according to the DFWA leaves more than 200,000 servicemen and ex-servicemen on insufficient payments.
Dr Kelly said the way Air Vice-Marshal Criss had characterised the meeting was “absolutely untrue”. “Hes basically saying that the Prime Minister was threatening,” Dr Kelly said. “Thats completely untrue. He was there to engage and support (the DFWA representatives) and they were very happy that they were there having the meeting.
“The only way he could have construed that was perhaps that we emphasised the importance of acknowledging the changes to the system that had been made by Labor.”
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said he did not accept Air Vice-Marshal Crisss characterisation of the meeting.
“The Prime Minister had a productive meeting with members of the Defence Force Welfare Association, including Air Vice-Marshal Peter Criss,” the spokesman said.
“The outcome of the meeting was that the Prime Minister agreed to support the next step of the DFWAs proposal for indexation and we look forward to ongoing constructive engagement with the DFWA on this matter.”