Coalition Veterans Policy

REAL ACTION TO SUPPORT VETERANS

The Coalition will provide $45.6 million for initiatives to better support Australia’s veterans and their families.

To further help veterans with cost of living expenses, the Coalition will increase assistance for Veterans’ Pharmaceutical costs. From 1 January 2012, the Coalition will remove out-of-pocket expenses for pharmaceuticals for disabled veterans in receipt of 50 per cent of the General Rate of Disability Pension, or higher (including EDA and TPI). This will enable more than 87,000 veteran disability pensioners, including our most disabled veterans, to save up to $168 per year. This extension of the Pharmaceutical Safety net will cost $38 million over the forward estimates.

The Coalition will also provide more recognition for Veterans’ widows and wives. We will establish a ‘VWWInc’ website for networking, information and advice. A national memorial recognising the contribution of widows and wives will be funded following consultation with them. The Coalition will identify, contact and encourage eligible indigenous war widows to apply for their entitlements.

The Coalition will provide support to help Veterans make the transition from post-deployment and military life. The ‘We’ll Be There’ programme will provide training and support for volunteer veterans and ex-service people, to be available 24 hours a day, to speak directly to veterans. This programme will complement existing services provided by Vietnam Veterans’ Counselling Service.

The Coalition will provide $7.5 million to expand the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) Programme and the Training and Information Programme (TIP). These programmes assist ex-service organisations to provide pension and welfare assistance with resources and support. Giving these organisations support and training will help members of the veteran community and their family to receive practical assistance with claims for assistance from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The Coalition will respond to the Review of Military Compensation Arrangements. There is concern regarding the inflexibility of the current Act and the compulsory aspect of the rehabilitation requirement. The Coalition will consult with the veteran and ex-service community following this review.

The Coalition will provide $100,000 towards the building of the Montevideo Maru memorial. This funding will be provided in the 2011-12 Budget for this memorial for those who lost their lives on the Montevideo Maru and in the Fall of Rabaul in 1942.

The Coalition will conduct an audit of the locations of National Service Records, including the first and second intake, with the intention of having these records centrally located.

And this to me is the clincher;


As previously announced, the Coalition will introduce new indexation arrangements for members of the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme (DFRDB). Under the Coalition, from July next year, beneficiaries of the DFRB and DFRDB schemes aged 55 and over will have their pensions indexed to whichever is the highest of three indexes – the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) or the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI).

Australia’s service personnel, past and present, deserve respect and recognition from the community for their service. The Coalition is committed to caring for Australia’s veterans and their families and understands that this can only be achieved with renewed compassion, understanding and action.

12 August 2010

ALP Veterans Policy? Haven’t seen one yet that’s worth reporting.

9 Responses to Coalition Veterans Policy

  1. “ALP Veterans Policy? Haven’t seen one yet that’s worth reporting.”

    …And I’m tipping that you won’t.

  2. 1735099 says:

    Kev
    Sounds like some good policy initiatives for ex-regular service personnel, but most is irrelevant to ex-Nashos unless they are TPI.
    Can I suggest some improvements?
    1. A one-off ex-gratia payment to ex-Nashos to compensate for the difference between what they earned on active service and what they would have earned had they stayed in their civilian occupations for the duration of their service. In today’s dollars you’d be looking at 5 figure sums for most.
    2. Rather than setting up a website for widows (shades of “Grocery Watch”) the creation of a publicly funded advocacy organisation for service widows and their dependants, staffed by legal and medical people with an in-depth knowledge of the legislation.
    My DFRB, incidentally, didn’t survive my first month in Civvie Street. It all went to pay off my compulsory superannuation contributions which had continued (without my knowledge) whilst in the army. They also billed me with the interest on the money they borrowed to cover my fortnightly payments.
    “The Coalition will provide support to help Veterans make the transition from post-deployment and military life. The ‘We’ll Be There’ programme will provide training and support for volunteer veterans and ex-service people, to be available 24 hours a day, to speak directly to veterans. This programme will complement existing services provided by Vietnam Veterans’ Counselling Service.”
    Great idea – for many about 40 years too late.

  3. Bob says:

    Five figure sums???? Mate to kill and maim you were being paid about 70 bucks a f/night and keep after tax, including clothing, accomodation and food, not to mention the best training available at the time, and tools of the trade supplied(you claim this on your site). To teach and tame you would have been on no more than three times that amount and then had to keep yourself, pay the rent etc. In the immortal words of someone much funnier than you…..Keep it real. The difference in reality is not so great that it would amount to the numbers you claim. Todays figures would be probably be much closer by comparison although we don’t have nasho’s any more, soldiers are paid at a much higher rate and compare favorably with first year teachers.

    Your DFRBF payment was only derived from payments made over two years and was never going to last long if you withdrew it. Your super payments paid in your absence proved to be a godsend didn’t they? Teachers super was much better as it turned out or the boys wouldn’t be seeking the ammendments to the military super pensions.

    I assume that although you don’t mention who “they” are I assume you mean the teachers super fund administration and not the military.

    I won’t call you a whinger, but you have a way of relating everything you are not happy about to your previous service as one of the best trained soldiers in the world, a proud claim, which you continuously find fault with.

  4. 1735099 says:

    Bob

    “Five figure sums???? Mate to kill and maim you were being paid about 70 bucks a f/night and keep after tax, including clothing, accomodation (sic) and food”

    Do the maths –
    As a second year teacher in Queensland, I was earning $374 per fortnight. According to my army paybook, which I kept, on callup as a baggy-arse in training in Oz, I received $59.67 per fortnight. On active service in SVN it went up to $71.02.

    Let’s be really generous and say that “keep, after tax, including clothing, accommodation and food” was worth $50 per fortnight”. I received (according to my paybook), $1551.42 in 1969 and $1846.52 in 1970. Add the notional $2600 for keep etc across the two years and the total I earned as a Nasho was $5997.94.
    As a teacher I would have earned $19448.

    The difference is $13450.06.

    $100 had the same purchasing power in 1970 as $904 in 2007.
    See – http://www.thomblake.com.au/secondary/hisdata/query.php

    Therefore, that difference is worth, in today’s money – $121588.54
    Six figures actually…..A tidy sum, and it would go close to making up for my losses during the GFC when some shonks across the Pacific went belly-up because of lack of regulation and dragged even cautious investors with them. The market rules…even when it belts self-funded retirees.
    “Keep it real”.
    That’s the reality.

    “I won’t call you a whinger, but you have a way of relating everything you are not happy about to your previous service as one of the best trained soldiers in the world, a proud claim, which you continuously find fault with.”

    I’m not “relating everything” to my previous service – I’m simply adopting a perspective from a different point of view in a comment about the Coalition’s Veteran’s policy, which, incidentally, I haven’t condemned. As for whinging, none of this is meant as a complaint; rather it’s a statement of historical fact.

    It is possible, you know, to entertain two conflicting concepts at once. One is that I am proud of my service and my unit, the other that I believe conscripts were treated unjustly.

    Apparently some (conservatives??) are capable of entertaining only one concept at a time, and have no idea of cognitive dissonance. I guess that explains a few things….

  5. Bob says:

    As luck would have it I have had a look at a paybook held by a 7RAR member and his gross pay per f/n was about $75 with net of about $62 and he got a great big bonus when he married of about $25 f/n. DFRBF was at around $6 f/n.(that’s about $300 or so over two years).

    I am concerned about your figures for a second year teacher in 1968/9. Is there somewhere I can check those numbers? I know my old man was a storeman earning $55 a week or $110 f/n. I was making $228 clear per f/n and keep as a builders labourer in W.A. A mate was a copper and paid $126 clear a fortnight. Sounds like you may be quoting monthly figures or including allowances for travel to remote areas. That is a pretty good perk, but does not give a true indication by which to make comparisons.

    You did not factor in your expenses paid 11 day cruise to South East Asia or your R and R holiday or your early return flight to Australia.

    I take note that you are not attacking the policy and just wishing to make additional improvements. Although a number of my friends would no doubt benefit from the inclusion of your suggested ex-gratia payment, I do not see it as practical or economical.

    Some of your vocabulary, may send me in search of an Oxford, but I’m not that interested. I understand the idea of entertaining more than one concept…..I enjoy entertainment, hence my communications that cause you to feel that you must justify your beliefs. I dislike many of your points of view particularly when you wave that red flag while claiming to a Green and when you knock the service and the methods by which they operate. Two concepts….Don’t particularly like you , but find you entertaining.

  6. Cav says:

    What is this?

    The old Reg Vs Nasho thingy revisted?

    This is why the veteran community is divided into so many little groups intent on keeping their own little latch on power. Veterans cannot get along. We harbour jealousy against one another especially now that Nashos have one extra medal. If only we could be MEN and put aside our differences and concentrated on helping veterans and their families instead. Wouldn’t that be a great ideal? Did you know that over 120,000 war widows have been refused the war widow’s pension? Boy if we only had ONE veterans group. Think what a powerful organisation that would be.

    The concept of advocacy is interesting as I do a lot of this work as a volunteer. My wife remarked in my early days when I was going on courses. She asked “why do we need volunteers to help veterans with their claims on DVA? They don’t need then at CenteLink.” Well there’s no answer is there?

    BTW the veteran cannot use a lawyer to assist them with their appeal to the Veterans Review Board

  7. 1735099 says:

    Bob
    My figures are based on old payslips. I was a graduate, and was getting some allowances and was working in a relatively remote location, but even accounting for that, the shortfall was more than a little significant. In any case, the amount is less of an issue than the principle, given that choice didn’t enter into it. It’s about justice.

    Cav
    As for the Nasho/Reg thing, I’m not begrudging the Regs anything – they deserve any compensation that comes their way. They, at least, volunteered, and believed in what they were doing. They should have had better treatment than governments of both persuasions have provided since Adam was a pup. The more accurate comparison is between those for whom the marble didn’t come out, and who continued in their civilian occupations.
    I don’t have the extra medal – Ian MacFarlane does, and even if I did, wouldn’t wear it. It’s logically inconsistent to be given an award for doing something simply because there was no choice.
    Volunteer advocacy is and has been of tremendous benefit to the veteran community. Part of its value lies in the fact that veterans are best placed to understand where other veterans are coming from.

    • Bob says:

      Acknowledged…..

      Totally agree with the last paragraph. I am a believer that there are too many bureaucrats in a good many positions without the necessary experience that affect other peoples lives. Academic theories and studies of the perceptions of others does not compare with first person experience, especially involving the military and post war effects.

      The volunteers with a proven track record, in reality, should be remunerated and some of the clerical and bureaucratic staff could well be shown the door.

      I have noted over the years that the personnel (not only in the Military) required to do the hands on stuff are the worst equipped, least paid and least recognised for their efforts. Political persuasion does not alter that fact.

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