Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tangney Electorate: Military Pensions
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.