House debates

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Constituency Statements

Tangney Electorate: Military Pensions

9:30 am

Photo of Dennis JensenDennis Jensen (Tangney, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I wish to speak on behalf of the veterans who live not only in Tangney but all over the country. Their main concern is the same thing: indexation of pensions. One particular constituent’s email puts the case well. It reads:

I am an ex soldier of 20 years service and receive a pension in the DFRDB scheme.

I have some concerns in relation to the issues surrounding Military Pensions.

The Government’s endorsement of the four recommendations in the Matthews Report places Military super recipients at a disadvantage by keeping the indexation in line with CPI, whereas welfare and Age Pensions are indexed at a higher rate (the greater of CPI or Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLC) or Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE)).

Time is way overdue for a fair, equitable and reasonable indexation method that includes the CPI together with an outlay based living cost index and with reference to a wages based index such as MTAWE.

The PM stated that, “we have a particular responsibility towards those who have worn the nation’s uniform”. It’s time he lived up to his words.

These sentiments are echoed by many veterans in my electorate. We have seen many times that the Prime Minister’s words do not translate into actions. The full treasury and Future Fund left to them by the former coalition government have been looted faster than you can say ‘non-extraordinary solution’, without this very important issue being properly addressed.

Words of a party desperately seeking an election win have been transmogrified into the dry bureaucratese of the finance minister when he was asked about pension indexation. On 16 November 2009 he wrote to Ray Brown, the National President of the Injured Service Person’s Association, on the index issue. He acknowledged that the government’s response ‘may have caused disappointment for some recipients of Australian government civilian and military pensions’. He certainly got that right in spades.

The Matthews report did support an alternative index, but only if it reflects the price inflation experience of superannuants better than the CPI. The minister then gave a very convoluted reason why the PBLC was unsuitable. The bottom line after all that is the government has no plans to move from the CPI for indexing the pensions of Commonwealth superannuants. On behalf of all veterans in Tangney and elsewhere, can this matter please be addressed with some urgency? These veterans have served their country well, now it is time for the country to do likewise.


Peter Thornton
Posted on 26 Nov 2009 5:09 pm


Thank you for raising this very important issue and for your commitment to represent not only your local constituents but that of a national constituency also.

However, the Liberal Party has a lot to answer for in regards to not addressing this issue for the entire time it was in Government and it would appear that only You and Senator Humphries from the Liberal Party give a damn. In fact, I have it on good authority that it is still Liberal Party policy to refuse to address this issue. It would appear that successive governments (and wanabees) will continue to "triple dip" on its former employees (i.e. full marginal tax, compulsory after tax contributions and tax again in retirement).

The sad fact is that War Widows and Orphans (not to discount other Ex-Defence and Commonwealth disabled retirees) also wear the brunt of continued Government inaction. SGT Till's widows was right .... her benefit is less than the dole and will only get worse with the passage of time due to poor indexation (i.e. CPI only).

This situation is downright despicable and the Australian Parliament should hang it's bloody head in shame!!

Bernie McGurgan
Posted on 27 Nov 2009 1:42 pm

There a lot of discrimentary practices by Government with ADF super indexation being the main one. Other matters are Defence widow gets 62.5% of her Veteran husbands DFRDB, PS widow 67% and MPs widows 82.2%, War Widow should get same as MP widow;Commutation (lump sum) taken out by ADF memeber continues to be repaid till one dies and not ceased when original sum is repaid = continual deduction of repayment regardless; if ADF member does not commute the current CPI indexation is applied as though one had commuted = indexation of much lower figure than full FN entitlement; Vietnam era War widow entitlement to bury her husband is much lower than entitlement experienced by present day "Digger's wives"- costs same to bury a Digger regardles of which War they fough in; use of 1962 Actuarial Tables in 2009 = how rude and financially crippling is that for Digers from the 50s to the 90's who come under DFRB/DFRDB entitlements; Howard Government used the same stall tactics over 12 years in power; 2% COMPULSORY decrease in CPI indexation not paid by Hawke/Keating Govt in the 19770s/80s and NEVER reinstated for Defence superannuants; Officer discrimination for early retirement before Notional Retirement (Maj = 42 in 1980s) age of 2% discount from entitlements for each year under age; Defence couple cannot "SPLIT" yearly entitlements in half for Taxation purposes, PS and MPs (pre 1998 can = why????); Annual 2009 DFRDB entitlement is $22,092 PA = below Hendereson Poverty Line and well below Age Pension people = why as DFRDB/DFRB is paid for, taxed by three times (During service, on discharge, and last when entitlements are paid?) and Centrelink Age pension financially souced from Taxpayers of Australia; finally in the last 20 years military retirees superannuation entitlements have increased by just under 70%, whereas the Age pension has more than doubled, by 110%, and MPs superannuation entitlements have increased by over 130% = speaks volumes of UNJUST, UNEQUAL & UNFAIR indexation of Defence superannuation!!!!WE just wish to be treated the same!!!!!
Bernie mcGurgan (A Vietnam veteran & DFRDB superannuant)