What Minister Snowdon doesnt understand

15 Jul 2013

In his reply letter to Minister Snowdons standard reply, Bert Hoebee. a military superannuate, asks a simple question. Read his letter here.

“Thank you for your reply of 12 June 2013, signed by Mr R Bain on your behalf, in response to mine about fair
indexation for military superannuation pensions (aka retirement pay).
I am dismayed that you still appear to miss the central point of Veterans concerns; and perhaps this simple
question will assist you in understanding their deep and continuing bitterness about their treatment.
The question is this: for what purpose (or to use legal terminology, to remedy what mischief), is an
indexation provision included in the MSBS Act and the DFR(D)B Act?
I would suggest to you that it is to ensure that a military superannuation pension (aka retirement pay) does not
lose value over time, but instead maintains its purchasing power. This purpose is both logical in the context
and abundantly clear in the debates leading to the relevant legislation, and is reinforced in a number of Joint
Committee Reports, Parliamentary Reviews and Enquiries (notably: Jess, 1972; Pollard, 1973; Watson, 2001
and Podger, 2007). It is the kind of provision one would expect reasonable Members of Parliament to make
for the reasonable purposive result I describe. What other purpose could they possibly have intended?

Now, if we use normalised male total average weekly earnings (MTAWE) as a constant base against which to model the maintenance of
purchasing power, then it is obvious that military superannuation pensions do not keep pace. 

It is quite unsurprising that the manner and frequency of indexation such as is applied to the age
pension does achieve that purpose, and has done so since 1997 when a MTAWE benchmark was legislated.
The respective individual amounts and different functions of military superannuation and social security
payments are not the point here – it is the principal purpose of maintaining the purchasing power of each
that should rightly be a common objective. It is also unsurprising that veterans, therefore, suggest that the
same means should be used to index their retirement pay.
That, quite simply, is the central point of the Veterans argument, and I fail to see why the Government finds
it so difficult to understand, and continues to refuse to deliver to Veterans their legislated entitlements. No
other employer would dare withhold the rightful dues of their employees, in the callous and unjust manner in
which the government continues to do so.
As I said to you earlier, I find the inaction especially galling from a Labor Government, given its philosophy
about social justice issues, and its fair go attitude.
Yours sincerely,”