DFRDB and ESO'S info


UPDATE 25 - A MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Issue 25 Dated 8 November 2012

Happenings in the Parliament
Since our last Update, the action has centred on Parliament House where in both the House of Representatives and the Senate military superannuation indexation actions occurred with increasing frequency.
In the House, (22-23 August) the Coalition showed its intention to carry out its pledge for fair indexation by trying to force a fair indexation amendment to the Government's Veterans Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2012. The Coalition's amendment was debated extensively here and continuing here before being lost in a 69-68 vote. Voting against were Labor MPs including Craig Thomson, Green's Adam Bandt, and Independents, Windsor and Katter. Rob Oakeshott was not present in the House to vote. Andrew Wilkie voted with the Coalition. A full coverage of this activity was reported in Update 24.
In the Senate, on 12 September, the Coalition brought on a Matter of Public Importance (MPI) debate on "The Gillard Government's on going failure to deliver fair, just and unequitable of DFRB and DFRDB military superannuation pensions."Read the debate here 
This generated further ADSO activity with three short videos
Video 1:
Video 2:
Video 3:
from AVM Peter Criss exposing Parliament's ongoing failure to properly address this issue and the hypocrisy and ignorance of some politicians.
Please watch the videos, click LIKE and leave a supportive comment on the youtube page. Share the youtube links or forward them on to all of your Association networks and other contacts. And if you have a facebook page, please share the link there too.
In the House on 11 October, Rob Oakeshott's Notice of Motion to consider increasing military superannuation payments, received the House's unanimous support. That approval imposed no requirement on the Government to legislate a money bill. What does that tell us? As Rob Oakeshott explains in his media release, "Only the government can introduce what is termed a money Bill (legislation that has an impact on the Budget), however, the unanimous support of 150 MPs in the House of Representatives sends a clear message to the executive government". Does it?
We recall Rob Oakeshott's similar motion in June 2010 that was also approved by the House with no ensuing legislative action from the Government.
Rob assures us that he will continue to push for a fair deal for veterans to be enshrined in legislation. We hope that means he will vote for some other Private Member's Bill (Bob Katter's) or next time submit his own Private Member's Bill.
In the House on 29 October, Bob Katter threw his support into the ring by tabling his Private Member's Bill that has been adjourned to a second reading which is unlikely to be debated before the 2013 sittings in February.
During the Parliamentary recess, all MPs will be at home in their electorates. This is our opportunity for our Local Electorate Action Groups to engage with them personally and with the local community and for you to become a volunteer with your local action group: contact me at tchitham@bigpond.com for details of your local action group co-ordinator.
2012 Report Card
How have each political party and independents addressed our call for fair indexation?
The Government stands steadfast in accepting the Matthews Report that CPI is the right indexation measure. It has shown no intention to date to change the CPI based indexation because, in the words of some Labor politicians we are "receiving what was legislated", military superannuation schemes are "generous", it's "too costly" and is not in the "national interest".
The Coalition has pledged that in its first budget in Government to introduce fair indexation for DFRDB superannuants over 55 years (but excludes Under 55 disability and reversionary persons). MSBS is also excluded until the Coalition says in Government it can assess the nation's financial position and its ability to afford it.
The Green's policy for fair indexation, although acknowledging the unfairness of the current situation, has not been supported by positive action.
The Independents support fair indexation but they are restricted by their commitment to support the minority Labor Government against unbudgeted money bills and no confidence motions. Their support is seen in moving and seconding motions to consider the matter. Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie have taken positive action with Bob's Member Bill to introduce fair indexation.
Our Strategic Direction
As we enter the election year, we will persevere and pursue our issues with increasing vigour and engagement, on a non partisan basis, with all Parliamentarians, political parties and the Australian people in the most appropriate way.
2013 will be a challenging year that will test our commitment and resolve. We need our defence family to make that commitment with us. Join us at www.standto.org
Remembrance Day
On Remembrance Day Sunday 11 November at the eleventh hour we pause to remember those who fought and died in service for Australia. At the same time we pay our respects to those who participated in those conflicts and to recognise that many too were and remain casualties of wars.a

As well as honouring our fallen please help our living veterans and their families fight for justice.
Please circulate the flyer to all your contacts, and post to facebook pages where possible. It is also a great idea to print copies and post them to appropriate notice boards in Clubs etc, where you have the opportunity to do so.
Operation MUSTER

Support Needed
You can help us in a number of ways:
1. As a SUBSCRIBER you will be kept informed of the Campaign's progress
2. As a VOLUNTEER you take the next step forward to join your Local Electorate Action Group promoting the campaign direct to your local community. You can choose the extent of your involvement from the tasks outlined on our volunteer form
3. As a DONOR you help to fund the Campaign. To expose the governments' unfairness of our military superannuation indexation payments and veterans' disability pensions we need every dollar we can raise. We have to be able to get ads on TV, radio and online to expose the true facts and better explain just how much is at stake for the defence family of current and past serving men and women and their families.
Choose the amount and frequency of your donation here
4. As an ADVISOR you can guide us with your experience and expertise in a particular field associated with our Campaign, such as accounting, financial planning, superannuation, public relations, marketing, media, investigative journalism, legal, health etc.
5. Buy a Bumper Sticker and carry the message wherever your car goes.
Thanks for your support to the Fair Go Campaign to date.
Remember - You're the Voice


 

From the "Fair Go!" Team
Campaign Directors: Ted Chitham , Alf Jaugietis
Campaign National Spokesperson: David Jamison
Stay current with the Campaign at www.standto.org




ignore the 'Public Sector Pension' title and assume it is DFRDB because the same CPI indexation applies.
You just enter your date of discharge (month and year) and your current fortnightly gross DFRDB and it will 'reverse engineer' the total indexation by both CPI and Age Pension rates to present your comparison graph.
You will then see what we are all on about!
This is but one item we are fighting this government on.
scoatas.info/indexation.php



A member of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations

MONTHLY UPDATE #273 – 20 July 2012

‘UPDATE’ is a monthly e-letter produced by the Defence Force Welfare Association. It is a means by which the Service and ex-Service communities can be informed of those current issues that are of most concern to them. Distribution is intended to a wide audience that includes Members of Parliament, media outlets, Senior Service and Public Service Officers, and the members of DFWA and their supporters.

Introduction

There can be little doubt as to what issue took almost exclusive centre stage amongst members of the ex-service community in this reporting period. The issue arrived as all bad-news issues sometimes do, silently, unannounced and with little fanfare and, of course, via the mailman. Ex-service members and their families Australia wide stood in their kitchens or elsewhere reading with incredulous disbelief a letter from a Government offering them an increase in their superannuation payments of 0.1%. Further reading of the letter revealed exactly what that meant - in real terms, it meant for most $0.78c per fortnight.

Therein started a virtual rolling thunder of voices growing ever louder and questioning yet again how it could be that the CPI was used as the basis for increasing their already meagre pensions. More on this issue in later paragraphs of this Update! Suffice to say that no consoling words could be invented that mitigated the sheer disappointment the thousands of ex service men and women who had once served their country so proudly, and with distinction, felt about how unfairly the Government was treating them.

Needless to say, the saddest news for the period was to learn of the death of another Australian soldier, this time that of fallen SAS digger, Sergeant Blaine Diddams, who was killed during a firefight in Afghanistan. Vale to his passing and the sincerest of condolences to his family, friends and fellow colleagues. Moments after news of his death hit the public domain, a media frenzy virtually ensued with TV and radio drive hosts competing for air time to talk about the various aspects of the incident. Our National President found himself in demand for comment on it, particularly in relation to the number of times Australian soldiers should be allowed to volunteer their service in theatres of war – Sergeant Diddams had been on his seventh tour of duty!!

Major Activities CPI – The Unfairness of Using It

Back to the announcement of the CPI-based 0.1% increase in the superannuation payments of ex- service retirees. What made that announcement seem even more starkly miserly and unfair was what was being announced almost on the same morning in media outlets that Federal MP salaries would yet again be boosted by $5,550 per year, and that this boost was to be added to the massive $44,000 yearly increase they all were awarded a mere three months ago.










2

Can anyone imagine what anger ex service retirees were feeling when holding in one hand a letter that told them of their $0.78 per fortnight increase in superannuation and in the other a newspaper that told them that all Backbenchers would have their salaries increased by $106 per week (or $212 per fortnight to make a comparison with what retirees had received), thus taking Backbench annual salaries to $190,550. Combined with the pay rise they were awarded earlier in the year, it meant that they would receive almost $1000 per week more than they did last year.

And what happens when many of these Backbenchers either retire or are voted out at the next election? Their incredibly large pensions will be increased not by the CPI, rather, by the cost of living.

CPI Protest

And thus sprang to life frustration and anger among virtually all members of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations Australia-wide. The measure of the unfairness of using CPI, its inadequacy, and its injustice could not be believed. If proof was needed and it wasn’t, yet again there in stark contrast was evidence that CPI is not a fair measure of maintaining purchasing power to keep pace with the cost of living. The CPI is not a measure used by those who have been elected to vote on such issues, and have the power to legislate a mechanism for fair and equitable treatment of ex service retirees. A fair indexation method must be adopted to bring them into line with the way age pensioners and/or retired Parliamentarians receive increases in their pensions.

The anger of members was such that they demanded a tangible protest of at least some kind to highlight the universal feelings of frustration. This frustration was vented by members forming small representative protest teams on Wednesday 11 July to meet at selected marginal seat holders at their Electoral Offices. The intent was to hand a protest letter to either the relevant MP or Senator, or their representative. Personal letters to their respective Parliamentary representatives was also encouraged. All reports suggest that ADSO members were well received and the protests successfully served their purpose.

Related CPI Activities Under Fair Go

The National Office fielded numerous media enquiries on CPI-based issues throughout the reporting period, and took calls from many members seeking advice on what action was intended from DFWA and ADSO. A number of interviews by our spokesmen followed. The main ones on air included:

2UE (Sydney) - Peter Criss interviewed by Jason Morrison, listen here – excellent lead-in and comment: media.mytalk.com.au/2ue/audio/040712jasonmorrison.mp3

4BC (Brisbane) - Wayne Swan interviewed by Greg Carey, listen to the podcast
here: media.mytalk.com.au/4bc/audio/040712morningsswan.mp3 The reaction from members to Mr Swan proffering the CPI methodology as ‘fair’ was one of disbelief.

4BC (Brisbane) – Peter Criss interviewed by Greg Carey in response to Mr Swan. Both interviews must be heard. This one here: www.4bc.com.au/blogs/4bc-blog/military- pensioners-struggle/20120705-21ilb.html

6PR (Perth) - Peter Criss with Howard Sattler – an excellent interview but no podcast posted.

3AW (Melbourne) by Neil Mitchell – indexation and CPI issues solicited numerous calls.

The print media was also active. Letters to the editor appeared in many newspapers. Two articles stood out: The Canberra Times on Friday 6 July titled 'Veterans fuming Over Pension Hit', and the






3

other by Ross Eastgate in the Townsville Bulletin on Saturday 7 July titled 'Pay Increase Illogical'. See here: www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2012/07/07/344661_defence.html

Budget Cuts – Removal of Travel Entitlements

Stuart Robert MP has tabled a motion in the House of Representatives to disallow the Labor Government’s abolition of travel entitlement to those over 21 wishing to return to their families. The Member’s strategy is to bring on debate that could see the Government arguing against the interests of ADF members. The voting numbers will depend on the Independents and Green MPs. If the motion is left for 15 sitting days without it being brought to debate by Parliament then the regulation to implement the removal of the travel entitlement is disallowed. An interesting manoeuvre by the Coalition!!

The Prime Minister says: Post and vote on OurSay!

Most will now know that the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, invited questions to be put to her ‘on a Google hangout’. This was to take place at 11.00am on 21 July 2012. The three individuals submitting a question receiving the most number of votes on OurSay would be invited to put those questions to the Prime Minister for answer.

The National President, DFWA put this question:

“Prime Minister, you discriminate against Defence Force men and women when you say the country can afford fair indexation that protects pension purchasing power for over 3 million age pensioners but cannot afford to protect the purchasing power for 65,000 military superannuation pensioners (around $20M in the first year). You compound your discrimination when you add that the country can also afford the latest indexation increase for superannuated MPs, a massive 30 times greater than that for military superannuation pensioners. Given that fair indexation was an employment condition upon enlistment and given that it is clearly affordable, why won't you index military superannuation pensions fairly?”

And thus started a quick three-day campaign to encourage ADSO members to vote. And vote member did, with outstanding success.

The final result - we came in with the second most votes to get a seat at the PM's 'round' table. The results were:

First Question - total 12,749 with 511 voter comments;

Second Question (us) - total 10,933 with 598 voter comments; and

Third Question - total 10,756 with 562 voter comments.

See this link for the first article on the result: www.smh.com.au/national/love-religion- overtake-tax-for-hangout-with-pm-20120719-22bjc.html

The ADSO team is proud of those who voted, who mustered family and friends, and who passed our plea to vote further, to others. Thanks and congratulations to all for a team-spirited effort, well done.

Here is the site to watch live: www.youtube.com/user/deakinuniversity?feature=inp-tv-jul





4

Research Study – Anger Management

Volunteers Sought for Interview Many will understand that anger is a common emotional response to trauma. It is well recognised that veterans’, particularly those who have been on combat and peacekeeping missions, have had difficulties managing anger.

This is known to have had a devastating effect on an individual’s personal relationships, their capacity to fulfill roles at work, and may lead to other emotional difficulties such as depression and anxiety. It can also affect a person’s physical health. Research thus far has found that experiencing high levels of anger may actually interfere with a person’s recovery from a traumatic experience.

Ms Carmen Germain, a Psychologist and a Doctor of Clinical Psychology candidate, at the Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University, has initiated a study into these matters. Carmen hopes her study will provide a better understanding of how current approaches to anger treatment may be enhanced to achieve better outcomes.

To advance her study and research work, Carmen seeks to interview both current-serving and retired members of the Australian Defence Force residing in the Sydney Metropolitan Area. The form of the interview is in two parts as follows:

A face-to-face session (approximately one hour) during which participants will complete a series of questionnaires about their emotional well-being and coping styles, and then participate in a memory recall task about a recent anger-provoking event and complete an attention exercise; and

On the following day, participate in a 10-minute follow-up phone interview to conclude involvement.

Participation is completely anonymous and confidential. Participants will not be asked to talk about their traumatic experiences from their military service. Interested persons who would like to participate in the study and/or would like further information about all this, please contact Carmen direct. Email: carmen.germain@students.mq.edu.au, or Mobile: (0432) 020 66




Media Contacts

Executive Director:
Alf Jaugietis (0438) 282 284


www.dfwa.org.au


National President:
David Jamison (0416) 107 557


*ADSO comprises the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), the Naval Association of Australia (NAA), the RAAF Association (RAAFA), the Royal Australian Regiment Corporation (RARC) and the Australian Special Air Service Association (ASASA).

Evening All,

I’m Back. After a short sanity break following Op AWARE, then attending the National DFWA Meeting in Canberra, and catching up with a few hundred emails on my return home, I am now back up to speed (sort of!).

We should have a new ADSO Update ready for release shortly, but in the meantime, for those who haven’t seen it, I thought I should share the important message below with you.

I imagine most of you would have heard about the latest cut to conditions of service for serving members in the form of the once a year free trip home for single ADF members over 21 years of age as a budget saving measure.

Our DFWA Conditions of Service VP raised this matter at last week’s NATEX Meeting. We believe it is the start of a new round of death by a thousand cuts to current conditions of service.

We also believe there is a concerted push underway to reduce the proportion of the overall Defence budget spent on salaries and conditions of service from 45% down to about 33%.

Such a clever initiative will no doubt do wonders for retention rates and morale! It seems the ADF is forever destined to relive the lessons learned from the challenges of past experience.

This move follows on the heels of a recent decision by CDF and the Service Chiefs not to re-open the WRA case before the Tribunal after a better deal was struck for Defence civilians.
In DFWA's opinion, serving ADF members are disadvantaged by their recent Workplace Remuneration Agreement when compared with the agreement applying to Defence employees. You can read more about this in the message below and at:
www.dfwa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=27&Itemid=11

If you or any of the associations you are involved with have links to serving members, please help by passing the message below on to them.

You may also want to express your support for serving ADF members by:
EMAILING TO wra@dfwa.org.au - SUBJECT: SUPPORT DFWA DECA / WRA POSITION and/or
ENCOURAGING SERVING MEMBERS TO JOIN DFWA BY FILLING THE APPLICATION FOR THE ‘VIRTUAL BRANCH’ AT www.dfwa.org.au
('Virtual Branch' membership is open to serving ADF members)
Thanks for your support and cooperation.

Regards,
Ray Gibson

(DFWA never condones personal attacks or abusive emails. Please ignore any such emails that you may receive.)




OPERATION AWARE UPDATE REPORT
Issue #18 Dated: 24 April 2012


Operation AWARE is drawing to a close as far as the involvement of our supporters in the major activities is concerned, and already we can say it has been a major success. Our activities have generated a "frenzy of interest" in radio and print media and national TV coverage, and this interest continues in the lead up to ANZAC Day.
AVM Peter Criss's appearance on TV Channel 10 Breakfast Show on 16 April generated an item on their evening National News and his radio interview on 2UE's Jason Morrison Show, as well as his interview on the ABC AM Program on 19 April.
Peter was again interviewed by Greg Carey on 4BC on Friday 20 April.
Peter was also interviewed for 3AW news broadcast in Melbourne. Other radio stations are also expressing interest in wanting to find out more about the Fair Go Campaign.
Concurrently on the TV front, Major General Jim Molan gave a "plug" for the Campaign at the end of a Channel Nine interview on Afghanistan. He was invited to re-appear on the Channel Nine Today Program on Sunday 22 April to specifically talk about the indexation issue. With the aid of a new comparison graph Jim was able to clearly present the indexation injustice. We are waiting for the Channel 9 podcast to be posted on their website.

Note: In this graph Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) are the base constant against which are shown the relative cumulative percentage increases or decreases, over time, of the several classes of Commonwealth pensions.
Peter Criss appeared on the Channel 10 Breakfast program today Monday 23 April. No video podcast has yet been posted. When posted watch it here and leave a comment : The tab "My Breakfast" offers a Have Your Say:
Pete Criss was again in action on Howard Sattler's Drive Time on radio 6 PR this afternoon. Now this was rivetting thanks to Howard allowing suitable time for both Pete and MP Gary Grey to discuss the military superannuation indexation matter in some detail. This is a must listen to hear the Government's rationale for not accepting our claim. After the interview, listen to the radio talk back comments here.
Please understand that many of the media opportunities are fleeting and we receive too little notice to alert you by email. Therefore, we will post media alerts on www.standto.org Home page. Please keep in touch here. Note that many media activities are planned events and subject to the fluidity of the TV world of news and current affairs.
Your support for the OP AWARE media exposure has been excellent, thank you. The 2UE Website in particular, was inundated with comments from our supporters after the Jason Morrison interview with Peter Criss. Your continued support for these media events is critical to the ongoing campaign. Please go to the 4BC link now and leave a comment after listening to Friday's interview with Greg Carey.
As a standing operational task please support all our media appearances by listening/viewing or reading them and having your say by adding your comments on the website.
We are encouraged by the number of print media reports, opinion pieces and letters to the editors. They can be seen on our website home page www.standto.org under News.
As at today the video "The Honourable Thing to Do" by Colonel Ray Martin has generated 7,743 hits. Watch the video here. Let's keep this going by relay to your family and friends
Senator Xenophon's Action
The Senator has reacted to our Op AWARE Campaign with a Media Release calling for an independent investigation into the Government's costs of Fair Indexation. See it here

Bumper stickers are now on sale. Order at www.standto.org




From the "Fair Go!" Team
Campaign Directors: Ted Chitham , Ray Gibson
Campaign National Spokesperson: David Jamison
Stay current with the Campaign at www.standto.org



DFWA Monthly Update # 270
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Alliance Media Release 18 Apr 12
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The Challenge – 2UE broadcast with Peter Criss
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Channel 10 Morning Show Interview
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RSL Sub Branch Support for ADSO Campaign – A letter to the Sub Branch by a member – have a read

The Directors at My RSL

Dear Sirs,.

I always believed that the RSL stood for the Diggers rights and welfare. How canour claim for a just and proper handling of our DFDRB payments etc be considered 'political'? We never made it so! Of course we aim at the government of the day-who else can we ask to 'fix it'? I and many of my ex-comrades are bitterly disappointed with the RSL stance on the issue and I needed to say so. (For what good it will do.)

R.J. 'Nobby' Clarke
Member No. 01287
Ex -WO1 RACMP & DVA Recipient

RSL Sub Branch Support for ADSO Campaign

At the monthly General Meeting of the Goodna RSL Sub Branch (Qld) meeting held Sunday, 15 April 2012, the following motion was moved:

“The members of the Goodna RSL Sub Branch do not accept the National RSL’s current apolitical position
on ADSO issues as stated by Tony Meehan, Qld RSL State President.”

This motion was seconded and carried by the members present and they asked that the motion be widely distributed all RSL Sub Branches to advise them of this action.

Supporting Statement:

Recently Tony Meehan, Qld State President released a statement via email saying the National body of the RSL would maintain its apolitical stance and not support the ADSO’s current “Fair Go!” campaign. The members of Goodna RSL Sub Branch are of the opinion that the National Body of the RSL will side with any political party of the day when it comes to representing veterans and service men and women’s issues. The members are well aware that it is the Federal Government of the day that determines the outcome of all financial issues relating to veterans and service men and women. It is the Federal Government of the day that controls decisions on:

Fair indexation of military superannuation pensions
Equitable treatment of veterans' disability pensions
Certainty in military compensation
Increased support for Veterans' health care

The members are of the opinion that these are generic veteran’s issues and do have the full support of all RSL members. These issues should be supported and represented by the National body of the RSL to the Federal Government of the day.

The divisive apolitical stance of the National RSL body not to accept and embrace the ADSO and all ESO’s under its umbrella of political representation to Federal Parliament on all veterans and service men and women issues is not a reflection of the true feeling of RSL members.


Minutes from AVADSC AGM 2012
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Operation Aware poster
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THE HONOURABLE THING TO DO
Issue # 17 Dated: 5 April 2012


VIDEO – THE HONOURABLE THING
This ADSO Update announces the general release of a new video that brilliantly captures the injustice of Unfair Indexation for current and former members of the ADF. The Video was created independently by retired Colonel Ray Martin with the full support of the ADSO Fair Go Campaign.
Watch the video here.
The video is addressed to the Members of the 43rd Parliament of Australia with a direct challenge to them to do the honourable thing. The YouTube link was specially released to every sitting member of the House of Representatives and the Senate on 3 April to provide them the courtesy of viewing the clip before the general release today.
You may be interested to learn that at the time of making this public release fewer than 53 of the current 226 members of Parliament (or their staff) have bothered to spend 6 minutes of their time to watch it. This sends a very clear message about the level of interest and concern our Parliamentarians have for the Military Family.
We will be distributing the video link widely to all media in Australia.
We must get this video into full viral circulation around Australia and we need your help to do that.
This is what we ask you to do.
1. Please watch the video as soon as possible. It only takes 6 minutes of your time.
2. Then send this message with the YouTube link to every contact in your address book. This is a video that deserves to be seen by every person in the Nation who calls themselves Australian. Also add it your facebook page where you have one.
3. Contact your local MP and State Senators, preferably face to face, but if not, then by phone or email or fax. Ask them the following questions (as appropriate), and don't accept unsatisfactory fob-off answers:
• Have you watched the video clip that was sent to you from the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations via an email link on 3 April?
• If not, will you give a personal commitment to watch the video, and get back to me with your intentions after you have watched it?
• If you have watched the video, what have you done about it, or what do you intend to do about it?
Regarding Action 2 above, here are some sobering mathematics:
• There are approximately 16,000 ADSO members who have email capability;
• If each of them forwards this message to just 4 of their contacts on email, 64,000 people would see the video;
• If each of those contacts forwards this email to just 4 of their contacts, 256,000 people would see the video;
• From there, there would be no stopping the viral circulation of this important message and it would have a profound effect on the future actions of members of our Parliament.
So, what are you going to do?
You can choose to not lift your fingers, and let yourself and your mates down,
OR
You can choose to do the honourable thing and help get this video to every corner of the Country.
Let's do this together
All for One and One for All!



From the "Fair Go!" Team
Campaign Directors: Ted Chitham , Ray Gibson
Campaign National Spokesperson: David Jamison
Stay current with the Campaign at www.standto.org


PUNCH
Click here to download this file


***URGENT***
OPERATION AWARE
WE NEED YOU

ADSO is conducting a National operation (Operation AWARE) over the period 5-15 April to increase public and media awareness of the Fair Go Campaign. Many of those who have already registered on our volunteer list would already know of the operation.

Please note that ADSO does not endorse any campaign action on or close to ANZAC Day.

To ensure the success of Operation AWARE we need to call on all our supporters to help out wherever they can.
When the Operation commences, we will be asking you to use your personal contacts and networks to circulate a new flyer with an ANZAC theme and other material virally as you have done in the past.
However, another important part of this Operation involves the physical distribution of the new flyer in selected areas around Australia.

The Action Group Leaders in each State will be coordinating this and other activities during the operation and they would love to hear from you.

Can you spare a day or two, or maybe an hour or two
over the period 5-15 April, or just before or after this period?
It could be enough to make a difference.

If you have not already agreed to help with this operation in response to a request from your State leader, now is your chance to do so.

If you can help, please contact your State Action Group Leader below and provide the following details:

First Name:
Last Name:
Federal Electorate (if Known):
Town or Suburb:
Postcode:
Contact phone Number:
Email address:
Dates/Times you are available:
Willingness to physically distribute flyers in your area – Yes/No:
Action Leaders will respond to your offer, and advise if your area is being targeted and what further assistance, if any, they require.

State Action Group Leaders:

Queensland: Kel Ryan: kel.ryan45@gmail.com;

New South Wales : Ian Scott: ian@scottadr.com;
(Excluding Eden Monaro Electorate)

Victoria: Ray Gibson (temporary): raygibson7@gmail.com

South Australia: Mike Von Berg: mvb@michaelvonberg.com

ACT: Bill Murray: wrmurray@tpg.com.au
(Including Eden Monaro Electorate)

Western Australia: Richard Usher: rusher@iinet.net.au

You provided great support to Operation Letter Raid.
We now need you to go the extra distance with this Operation.
Your Mates Need You.
Please Don’t Let Them Down!

Please pass this message on to all of your contacts without delay.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Ray Gibson & Ted Chitham
Co-Directors
ADSO Fair Go Campaign



DFWA March Update

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Retreat in South West NSW & Wagga

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ADSO Update Number 15
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Grandparents in the Veteran Community Information Seminar
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Treasurer Swan's Press Club

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JOINT PRESS RELEASE
THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SENATOR THE HON. MICHAEL RONALDSON,
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS

COALITION COMMITTED TO MILITARY SUPERANNUATION REFORM

The Coalition has recommitted itself to the fair indexation of Defence Force Retirement Benefit (DFRB)
and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefit (DFRDB) military superannuation pensions.

We will keep faith with those who have served and protected Australia.

The Coalition’s signed pledge will keep faith with the 57,000 recipients of military superannuation pensions by providing fair indexation.

Under a Coalition government, DFRB and DFRDB superannuants aged 55 and over will have their superannuation pensions indexed in the same way as aged and service pensions.

This will ensure that 57,000 superannuants, and their families, will have access to fair, just and equitable indexation of their superannuation entitlements.

Our plan is fully costed and fully funded.

Prior to the 2007 election, Labor led people to believe that they would provide a fairer deal for ex-servicemen and women. Unfortunately, the Rudd-Gillard Government never delivered.

After the 2010 election, the Coalition introduced legislation into the parliament to deliver fair indexation to ex-servicemen and women and their families. Labor and the Greens used their combined numbers in the Senate to defeat the Coalition’s legislation.

Unlike Labor, we will honour our word.

Our veterans and their families deserve fair indexation. A Coalition government will deliver it.

5 March 2012

5 March 2012

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR
JOINT DOORSTOP INTERVIEW WITH
SENATOR THE HON. MICHAEL RONALDSON,
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS AND
SENATOR BRIDGET MCKENZIE, SENATOR FOR VICTORIA
BENDIGO, VICTORIA

Subjects: The Coalition’s commitment to fair indexation for military superannuation pensions; visit to Bendigo; Julia Gillard’s carbon tax; Steve Gibbons; Wayne Swan; Commonwealth war graves.

EO&E..............................................................................................................................................................

TONY ABBOTT:

It’s great to be here in Bendigo with Senator Michael Ronaldson, the Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and with Senator Bridget McKenzie, who is a senator for Victoria. I’d like to thank the Bendigo RSL for making me and my colleagues so welcome and I think this is a very fitting place to recommit the Coalition to justice for our ex-service men and women.

I don’t think the public quite understand that service pensions are not indexed in the same way that civilian pensions normally are. I think the public would be shocked to know that old age pensioners are getting a fairer deal when it comes to indexation than our ex-service personnel. So, this is an anomaly. This is an injustice. The Coalition will fix this. We’ve tried to do it in the current Parliament. We’ve been knocked back by the Labor Party and the Greens. We will definitely do it if we are in government after the next election. This is an absolute commitment. Our ex-service personnel deserve appropriate recognition from a grateful nation and the Coalition will give it to them.


ANZAC Day poster
Click here to download this file


National Presidents Message No 1
Click here to download this file


Issue # 11 Dated: 27 February 2012
MILITARY SUPERANNUATION BENEFITS SCHEME (MSBS)
This is the first in a new series of videos that addresses the shortcomings of the current military superannuation scheme – MSBS.
To view the video click here
We understand that many of our supporters are not MSBS members and that most of the issues raised in these videos do not directly affect them. But they do affect some 50,000 members of the ADF who are still serving as well as others who have already left the ADF. Details of MSBS can be seen at www.militarysuper.gov.au/_lib/pdf/milsuperbook.pdf
Unfortunately, many of those still serving are unaware of the shortcomings of the MSBS superannuation scheme. We must do all we can to overcome that lack of knowledge by spreading the word to all of our supporters by all means including email contacts, facebook etc. You may not personally know anyone who is serving today, but one of your ex-military or civilian contacts might.
Please don’t assume that someone else or some other group will pass this email and video link on to other individuals and groups.
Assume they won’t!
It is better to have multiple emails arriving at inboxes than none at all.
None of us want to see the current generation of ADF Diggers fighting the same superannuation battles as us in 20 years time!
MSBS problems need to be fixed NOW.
The solution starts with getting the facts to all of those affected.
You can help us do that.
This is our challenge:
Starting here with this email,
let’s see if we can virally reach
50, 000 inboxes
of those MSBS members now serving.
Don’t forget to click on the like button and the share button after watching the video. This encourages others to do the same and widens the broadcast.
From the "Fair Go!" Team
Campaign Directors: Ted Chitham , Ray Gibson
Campaign National Spokesperson: David Jamison
Stay current with the Campaign at www.standto.org





Retired pollies fight for perks


Former federal politicians have threatened to launch court action to prevent the federal government from reining in their taxpayer-funded travel entitlements and from blocking ''windfall'' pension increases to retired MPs and senators.
The Association of Former Members of the Parliament of Australia has attacked plans to impose new limits on the number of free air and rail journeys taken by former politicians and their spouses.
The association is angry that retired MPs and senators will be deprived of a pension increase fully indexed to a pay hike that serving parliamentarians are set to be granted. It also claims that former politicians may have been receiving lower superannuation payments than they were entitled to under law.
Advertisement: Story continues below
Former MPs association president Barry Cunningham said the consequences of a bill being considered by Parliament would be, ''the perpetration by the Remuneration Tribunal of a giant 'con' directly and unfairly detrimental to the welfare of retirees under the 1948 Act''.
The federal government wants to reduce the maximum number of free trips former politicians and their spouses can take under the gold pass scheme from 25 to 10 each financial year. MPs and senators elected at future elections will not be able to qualify for the scheme at all.
Eligible former backbench MPs can claim an annual pension of between 50 and 75 per cent of the base pay of a sitting backbencher.
The Remuneration Tribunal plans to increase backbench MPs salaries from $140,910 to $185,000 and scrap some travel entitlements.
But for the purposes of determining pension increases for former parliamentarians, the tribunal only wants to base determinations on a salary of $146,380.
In a submission to a Senate committee, Mr Cunningham said his association had legal advice that de-linking pension calculations from an MP's full salary could breach the constitutional requirement that property only be acquired under just terms.
''The only logical conclusion is that there is no moral, ethical, or legal justification for any of the Remuneration Tribunal's proposed $45,000 salary increase determination to be 'de-linked from the calculation of the 1948 Act retirees' superannuation'', the former Labor member for the Victorian electorate of McMillan said.
Mr Cunningham also said the reduction of travel entitlements could be found to result in the acquisition of property under the Constitution.
''The association believes this acquisition to be the case, potentially prompting a legal claim for compensation, if this drastic reduction in entitlement is implemented,'' he said.
As a compromise, the association suggested that gold pass return trips be reduced to 17 per year. Or, 10 trips could be made in accordance with existing guidelines and up to 10 more could be taken if the user identified a specific purpose relating to a community benefit.
The Remuneration Tribunal last year put substantial pay rises for MPs and senators on hold until Parliament could pass amendments preventing the changes from boosting superannuation payouts.





DFWA UPDATE FEB 2012

DFWA Update December 2011
Click here to download this file

Major Issue - Letter to the Minister
Click here to download this file


Friday, 25 November 2011

VA0105

ON BASE ADVISORS SUPPORTING ADF MEMBERS ACROSS AUSTRALIA

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today visited the Campbell Barracks Army Base in Swanbourne to meet with specialised staff from the new On Base Advisory Service.

Mr Snowdon said staff from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) have now started work at 35 bases across the country including at Campbell Barracks, helping Defence members and their families better connect with DVA services.

“The work being done by these advisors here at Campbell Barracks, and on other bases around Australia, provides for a smoother transition into civilian life for those who have served our country with distinction.

“The On Base Advisors work directly with Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, providing them with assistance and information about support they may be entitled to receive such as health services, rehabilitation and compensation,” he said.

DVA is providing either a full- or part-time presence on bases, depending on the local need.

The advisors work out of Defence Health Centres, or within the health precinct, allowing all ADF members to access the service, regardless of their location.

Mr Snowdon said that the new On Base Advisory Service is providing significant benefits for the Defence community, and ensuring the Government’s priorities to ensure physical and mental health care meets the needs of our ADF and veteran community.

“This service is a part of a much larger program of work, such as the Support for Wounded, Injured or Ill Program (SWIIP), which will enhance the way Defence and DVA work together in supporting and caring for our ADF members,” Mr Snowdon said.

For more information about the On Base Advisory Service or to make an appointment call 133 254 or for regional callers 1800 555 254.


Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 0417 917 796 or 02 6277 7820
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203




DFWA 2012-2013 Budget Submission

PO Box 4166
KINGSTON ACT 2604
T: 02 6265 9530
F: 02 6265 9776
File: 58.13
24 November 2011
Budget Policy Division
Department of the Treasury
Langton Crescent
PARKES ACT 2600
cc: Minister for Finance and Deregulation
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel
Submission for the 2012-2013 Budget
Background Information on the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations
The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations was formally constituted in July of 2010. It
was formed as result of the constituent organisations desire to work in a more cooperative
and coordinated manner.
The membership of the Alliance comprises the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA),
the Naval Association of Australia (NAA), the Royal Australian Regiment Corporation
(RARC); the Australian Special Air Services Association (ASASA); and the RAAF
Association (RAAFA).
The objective of the Alliance is to provide a stronger voice on issues impacting the conditions
and wellbeing of currently serving and former members of the Australian Defence Force.
Its major functions are to:
1. Improve communication, cooperation and collaboration between member
organisations;
2. Gain mutual advantage from the differing of expertise of each member organisation;
3. Ensure for each issue being pursued, the appropriate organisation is identified as the
“lead organisation” for coordination of the actions undertaken by the Alliance; and
4. Help spread the workload and ensure the resources of the Alliance members are used
to produce the most effective result.
2
In particular, the Alliance seeks to achieve this by:
• monitoring those matters affecting, or likely to affect, the welfare of the defence, exservice
and veteran communities;
• developing agreed policy positions on matters effecting the defence, ex-service and
veteran communities.
• promoting and/or participating as appropriate in activities of mutual interest to the
member organisations; and
• advocating as necessary on matters of mutual interest.
Underlying Principles for our Submission for the 2012-2013 Budget
Two interconnected principles should guide the Government and form the philosophical
context within which decisions on employment conditions for service men and women made.
These are the “unique nature of military service” and the need to compensate members of the
Australian Defence Force (ADF) for that uniqueness in their pay, superannuation, invalidity
and death benefits, and other conditions of service. An explanation of what makes service in
the ADF unique within the Australian community is attached to this letter.
In the above context the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations believes the following
areas outline issues where not only are the above principles ignored but in some instances
subject serving and former ADF members to discriminatory treatment at the hands of the
Government. These do not constitute the full range of issues for which we seek Government
action and in particular, we await the outcome of the review of military rehabilitation and
compensation. We believe though, these items warrant attention in the coming budget.
We therefore submit the following policy proposals relating to the Government’s support of
serving and former ADF personnel for consideration in the 2012-13 Budget. All of the
proposals in this submission have been raised with the relevant Ministers previously.
Proposed Budget Initiatives
1. Indexation of all Military Superannuation Payments
The present military superannuation payment represents an unacceptable minimal level.
Governments must maintain the real value of these payments by adopting an appropriate
method of indexation.
Military pensions were originally indexed by the CPI to maintain their value relative to
national wages. In the last 15-20 years, national standards of living have increased in real
terms, which are not reflected if relying on the CPI in its present form. Acknowledging this,
in 1997 the then-Government changed the method of indexing the Aged and Service Pensions
from CPI to a combination of CPI and Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and
the present Government further extended this formula to include the “Pensioner and
3
Beneficiaries Living Cost Index” to keep pace with increase in prices and improvements in
community living standards.
Military retirement and invalidity pensions now stand out as being more harshly treated than
almost every other long-term Commonwealth payment that is subject to regular indexing to
maintain its value.
Proposal
- We seek the same community standard of indexation, as adopted for the Age and
Service pensions to be applied to all components of DFRB/DFRDB/MSBS military
superannuation pensions including the total reversionary pension for partners of
deceased military superannuation pensioners and preserved employer benefits.
- The total estimated cost for this initiative for FY 2012-2013 is estimated not to
exceed $20M and an additional $86M over the forward estimate period. This is a
gross figure before clawback.
- Such amounts are easily affordable under a number of recent Government initiatives,
including:
- The DoD Strategic Reform Program which is finding savings of some $2B a
year.
- The current Senate Inquiry into the Defence Material Organisation, where the
Senate has been asked by Senator Xenophon to find funds to fund this
initiative.
- The expected passage of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill which will
provide significant funds and which the Greens have indicated should be used
for such purposes..
2. Abolition of MSBS Maximum Benefit Limits (MBL)
MBL's in MSBS are limits on the maximum amount that the military superannuation fund
will pay out. They should not to be confused with Reasonable Benefit Limits which limited
the amount that could be contributed and accumulated at concessional tax rates. RBL's were
abolished in “Better Super” changes but MBL's were not. MBL's include the sum of both
Employer and Employee benefits. There are two MBL's;
a. All pension MBL at which the member must stop contributing because the member’s
total payout has peaked; and
b. Lower Lump Sum MBL at which the member may stop contributing because the
member is getting close but is urged to seek specific advice.
The effect of the application of this measure is that many long serving ADF personnel are
receiving no retirement income benefit for their final years of service.
The Report of the Review of Military Superannuation recommended that MBLs be scrapped
for the MSBS. The combined Ex-Service Organisations response supported that particular
recommendation.
4
Proposal
- We seek the immediate removal of MBLs in the MSBS superannuation scheme. The
exact number of MSBS members affected by this initiative is not available to us at
this time but is not substantial.
- The cost in FY 2012-2013 is estimated to be at best a minimal figure with the cost
over the forward estimates an equally modest amount.
3. Adjustment of the Veterans Disability Pension Rates
The Government has stated it understands the impact of rising costs of living and the
importance of ensuring that entitlements do not erode in value and is committed to making
sure that our disabled war veterans have their pensions adjusted to take account of “not just
of the cost of living but also the standard of living”.
Analysis undertaken as part of the Harmer Review confirmed that at certain times, the rates
of change in the out of pocket living costs experienced by age pensioner households have
moved faster than the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI. In 2007 the Parliament
recognised this in relation to Veteran Disability Pensioners and provided a “one off” catch up
increase and also brought their indexation arrangements into line with the other pensions. The
September 2007 Legislative changes to the indexation arrangements for DVA disability
pensions have gone some way to ensuring that the veterans’ benefits did not suffer further
erosion but the failure to adjust the rate of the veterans disability pensions in line with the
adjustments made to other government pensions in the 2009/10 Budget, has meant that the
relative value of the Veterans’ Disability Pensions measured against the other pensions has
diminished.
We firmly believe that the Nation’s “social contract” obligation to our servicemen and
women should be honoured and those who have suffered injury to their person as a result of
their service deserve fair and compassionate treatment to alleviate the detrimental effects of
that service.
Proposal
- That all rates for Veterans’ Disability Pensions be adjusted by the same increment that
was granted at the time for the Single Rate of Service Pension in the 2009 Budget.
- The projected cost to implement this initiative in FY 2012-2013 was estimated to be
in the order of $169M with an additional estimated $500M over the forward
estimates.
- It is noted that there has been a reduction in the number of disability pensioners in the
past 5 years and this trend is expected to continue (reference p86 of the Military
Rehabilitation and Compensation Annual Report 2010-2011).
5
4. Unfair Balance of Legal Resources at the Administrative Appeals
Tribunal
Veterans, when appealing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal against the rejection of a
claim for compensation (or the Department is appealing against the acceptance of one) are
entitled to Legal Aid funding. This funding covers the preparation of the case, one medical
report, the appearance of the author of the medical report at the Tribunal to defend it, and a
barrister to argue the case before the Tribunal for one day. But more and more cases are not
conforming to these limits. More and more cases are lasting two, three and four days and
require more than one medical report. However Departmental legal representatives do not
operate within these limits and can take as many days as they like. Neither are they limited in
the number of medical reports they commission nor the number of medical specialist
appearances at the Tribunal hearing. To make matters worse, the best qualified doctors are
reluctant to provide reports for veterans because Legal Aid funding does not cover their usual
fees. They have no such reluctance to provide reports for the Department which pays the
higher fees. To make matters even worse, many law firms simply refuse to take on veterans’
cases citing inadequacy of remuneration but exercise no such reluctance in working for the
Department which pays higher fees.
Proposal
- In the interest of fairness, the Department of Veteran Affairs must restrict itself to
employing similar legal resources to those available to the veteran and observe the
Model Litigant Rules. In this proposal we are suggesting a rebalancing of financial
resources allocation rather than advocating additional funding to cover this proposal.
Yours Sincerely,
Colonel D K Jamison AM. (Retired)
National President, Defence Force Welfare Association,
on behalf of The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations.
Attachment: The Unique Nature of Military Service
6
Attachment
THE UNIQUE NATURE OF MILITARY SERVICE
In recent years there has been a shift in assumptions and attitudes underpinning the
way military service is viewed. Those in government who shape policy are
increasingly attracted to the idea that the soldier (sailor or airman) is adequately
provided for by salary and allowances that compensate for his service both while it is
being given and after it has ceased. Military service can be mistakenly seen as
comparable to other forms of service that involve risk and danger, and therefore no
longer viewed as unique.
The unique nature of military service is rooted in the nature of society itself. Most
democratic societies recognize the central place of the individual as the primary unit
of sovereignty. Sovereign individuals are vested with inalienable human rights,
recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as, among others, life,
liberty and the security of the person (Article 3). Australia is a signatory of the
Declaration, adopted by the General Assembly of the UN in 1948
Implicit in Article 3, there is also a right to defence of self and of others from attack,
and this right inevitably gives rise to an obligation to do so if it is the State which is
under threat or attack.
The inter-relationship of rights and responsibilities borne both by the state and the
individual is complex, and based on the principle of the social contract. The state may
not alienate the rights of the individual without his assent. The individual, while
preserving the integrity of his or her rights, may assent to the state’s demand for
surrender of some of them for the common good, but in all circumstances save one,
the state is obliged to uphold and defend the individual’s rights.
In volunteering for military service, the individuals accept the surrender of their basic
rights under Article 3. They place their life, liberty and security of person in the hands
of the State. This surrender is not unconditional, though in extremis, it is absolute. The
State, for its part, accepts the obligation to preserve, as far as is consistent with the
achievement of the military mission, the physical and spiritual wellbeing of such
individuals who place themselves at its disposal. This obligation extends beyond the
period of service itself, to the physical and psychological consequences of that
service.
Even when the state demands surrender of these rights by imposing a compulsion for
service, the terms of the social contract imply that such compulsion is done only
within the democratic framework and is therefore with the assent of the individual,
who at all times is party to it.
In no other calling, occupation or profession has the State the power to accept or
demand the surrender of these rights. Military service in this fundamental respect is
unique, and the obligation this places on the State is inescapable, as it is enduring.
A service person’s calling is unique.



National Veterans Affair Committee meeting

Click here to download this file


DFWA UPDATE FOR NOVEMBER 2011

Click here to download this file


DFWA National Office
Wilkie speaks about Indexation and other things

Below is an extract from speech made by Andrew Wilkie MP in the house yesterday:

rise tonight to address a number of defence personnel issues which have come to my attention and which warrant genuine consideration by
the government. But, before I do, I wish to acknowledge the death of three more Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. The political debate
about the war-as much as there is one-and my personal opposition to the conflict are one thing, but the fine performance of our soldiers
in Afghanistan and the tragedy when one or more of them is killed or hurt is another thing entirely. My heart goes out to the families and

friends of our most recent fatalities. May our nation's sons rest in peace. And may we in this place be careful to ensure the work of all
our service men and women is appropriately recognised and rewarded.

To that end, I urge the government to look afresh at the continuing unfairness in the superannuation arrangements for some serving and
retired defence personnel, in particular members of the Defence Force

Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme and the Defence Forces Retirement Benefit Scheme. In essence, the problem is that currently
the benefits paid by DFRDB and DFRB are indexed to the consumer price index instead of to male total average weekly earnings or the
pensioner and beneficiary living cost index as is the case with other government benefits and pensions. As a consequence, the real value of
the pension for some defence superannuants is falling further and further behind, to the point where evermore ex-service men and women
are struggling to meet even the most basic costs of living-and that is wrong.

Neither the government nor the opposition is in the clear on this matter because the problem has existed for many years and neither has
done anything about it. The should be condemned for not doing something about it since its election in 2007. The coalition should
be condemned for not doing something about it during the Howard years and, more recently, for tabling a patently unconstitutional private
members' money bill in a theatrical display designed to win over serving and ex-service men and women.

Another perennial issue of concern is defence compensation arrangements-for instance, the way some service personnel have to
choose whether to receive compensation by pension or a lump sum if they fit within the Veterans' Entitlements Act or the Safety,
Rehabilitation and Compensation Act. The way I understand it, in some cases, if they opt for a lump sum payment, their pension is reduced
to offset the cost. On the face of it, this seems perfectly fair, except that once the cost of the lump sum payment has been offset,
the pension does not increase to the full level. So those veterans who need a helping hand early on are forced to take less money
overall than those who opt for the pension alone. The review of military compensation arrangements released in March this year has
found that there are several alternatives which may address the perceived inequities in the compensation system, but they have been
deemed too complicated to implement. Again, that is wrong.

Such matters do need to be looked at afresh and every effort should be made to ensure our ex-service men and women are treated fairly.
While we are at it, we need to be mindful that the defence community is much bigger than the men and women in uniform and it is not just
service personnel who need the government's support. Defence families, in particular, experience unique pressures-for example,
regular relocations and lengthy time apart due to postings, operations and training. Helping out is the Defence Community
Organisation, which provides counselling, relocation support, crisis care for dependants and bereavement support. But cuts are proposed
which would drastically reduce the level of support the provides, including cutting skilled social workers, reducing allowed client
visits and a reduction in regional centres.

I understand that the natural instinct of governments is to cut costs by centralising service delivery. However, I firmly believe that our
defence families deserve the very best and most personal services we can give them, including being able to directly access services
locally without having to go through a national call centre. The Hobart DCO will be one such centre affected if the proposed reforms
are realised and it would be increasingly difficult for families, particularly in Tasmania, to access the care they need. Again, that
would be wrong.

Another important consideration for our soldiers, past and present, is recognition. I am concerned to have learned there is some division
within the Vietnam veterans community about the anniversary of the on 18 August being used as Vietnam Veterans Day. The issue is not the
importance of the Battle of Long Tan, which is clearly one of the most significant battles in Australian military history and one that warrants special
recognition. No, the issue is that some veterans of other battles in are frustrated because they feel Vietnam Veterans Day ceremonies focus too much on Long Tan to the exclusion of the
other significant battles. Some veterans even avoid the ceremonies on that day as they do not feel included or appropriately recognised.

Frankly, it upsets me to know that some, perhaps many, of those who made great sacrifices for us in times of war are left feeling
excluded on the very day meant for them. Make no mistake: I am ex-6 myself and I agree that the Battle of Long Tan is enormously
significant and should be remembered as such. Perhaps it should be granted its own commemorative day, but I do see how it could be
inappropriate to recognise the entire sacrifice made by Australian diggers in Vietnam on the day of just one of the many battles that
make up that sacrifice. Perhaps it would be more appropriate and respectful to recognise Vietnam Veterans Day on the date the first
touched down in Saigon or the date our combat troops completed their withdrawal.

Talking of anniversaries, and on a more positive note, I am delighted to recognise that in Hobart is the oldest continually occupied
barracks in Australia and on 2 December this year will celebrate its bicentennial-the first bicentenary, in fact, celebrated by the . It
goes without saying-but I will say anyway-that I was delighted with the Prime Minister's commitment to me earlier this year to keep
Anglesea Barracks regardless of any Defence recommendation to do otherwise.

Finally, I would like to wrap up this omnibus of defence issues with the plight of one particular ex-serviceman, a constituent about whom
I do not claim to know all the facts other than that there is a strong prima facie case that he has been treated unfairly and I think
it is time for the minister to intervene. My concern is to do with Wing Commander Robert Grey, retired. For over a decade now Mr Grey
has been seeking an inquiry into the dismissal of several senior officers, including himself, under defence inquiry regulations. He
has been told continually that the problem is an administrative one, thus denying him access to the military justice system. The has
repeatedly directed him to the Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration and refused to instigate an
inquiry. This is despite the fact that the Minister for and Personnel, the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force and
the Chief of the Defence Force have all recognised that significant errors occurred in the handling of Mr Grey's dismissal. Mr Grey is
currently left without answers, only being given the option to engage in the review process. But, given that this scheme has been largely discredited by the
Commonwealth Ombudsman and in the Street and Fisher report, it is a sad indictment that the department will not allow Mr Grey and his
colleagues to access a more appropriate avenue to address their grievances in the form of a merits review. I think it is time for the
minister to intervene.

In closing, Australia owes a great deal to our armed forces past and present. We need to recruit them carefully, train and equip them
well, put them in harm's way only when genuinely warranted, and care for their loved ones along the way. Our consideration must extend to
when they are hurt or retired. Finally, I should declare again that I have a personal interest in some of these matters on account of being
a beneficiary of both DFRDB and pensions myself.
_____________________

Les Bienkiewicz
Executive Director
Defence Force Welfare Association
PO Box 4166 KINGSTON ACT 2604
P: 02 62659530
M: 0411 444248






The latest video release from AVM Peter Criss (Retd) #6 focused on A Fair Go for Military Widows. His video highlights the discrimination and unfairness faced by spouses of those who have served and continue to serve.
A special video to reinforce that message has been released. It is compelling viewing, watch it here
The plight of military families left behind when a current or former serving member dies is a major issue for the Fair Go campaign. We recognise that many spouses and families have been through tough times and some continue to face major challenges today. That is why we are developing a series of videos to expose the Faces of Unfair Indexation.
The Government’s uncaring policy on military superannuation indexation is about much more than percentages and dollars. These videos will allow our Defence family to tell their individual stories, and in doing so, add a human dimension to our campaign.
We have other personal stories waiting to be told in the weeks and months ahead. If you or someone you know would also like to share their story, please contact us at the email addresses below.
Please, don’t just pass this video link on to your friends and contacts: ask them to support the campaign, by passing the link on to their social networks, including their family and friends and all of their contacts, both military and civilian, and adding the link to their facebook page where they have one.
In this way we can achieve the wider public awareness and support necessary to influence MPs and Senators for a change to Government policy. As always, we welcome your feedback on these videos and your recommendations for future ones.
Thanks for your continuing support. From the “Fair Go!” Team
Campaign Directors: Ted Chitham tchitham@bigpond.com
Ray Gibson storyweaver@internode.on.net
Campaign National Spokesperson: David Jamison Jamison@bigpond.com
Stay current with the Campaign at www.standto.org. "All for one and one for all"



From: Rob Hall [mailto:rob_hall@bigpond.com]
Sent: Friday, 21 October 2011 9:51 AM
To: 'Leigh, Andrew (MP)'
Subject: RE: Defence superannuation

Nice words in reply to my email, Andrew, but no substance!

Since I wrote to you, you and your compatriots have given yourselves a $70,000 de facto pay rise to compensate you for not getting re-elected. This is in addition to the 93% pay rise you’re working on. Talk about a cynical way to respond to your electorate’s concerns!

The “unfunded liability” you refer to is the ex-Service community’s superannuation entitlement.
For your information, that entitlement was entirely funded by Defence members’ contributions, until politicians emptied the fund on 2 occasions to pay for excessive spending on welfare issues.
Both “wealth transfer robberies” were perpetrated by Labor governments! Now there’s something to be proud of!
One of those “robberies” even included a promise to repay the DFRDB fund, but we all know what politicians’ promises are worth.

Honestly, the ex-Service community would have received better support from your Government if we’d never worked, did drugs and put our hands out for the welfare “entitlement” that dominates your party’s focus! Truly, you do the ex-Service community a very real injustice.

But you can show the world that your words have substance and that you really are trying an indexation method that is “fair and sustainable”.
You can reject the pay rise and separation payment! And you can support our claim for the same form of indexation that you allow the “welfare community”!
That would be a sustainable way of managing the nation’s expenses – and would free up the budget to pay, supported by realistic indexation measures.

But you’re right on one thing! This issue IS important to me – and to everyone in the ex-Service community.
I just hope you don’t need that severance payout you’ve given yourselves, because of your position on this issue!

Regards
Rob Hall

From: Leigh, Andrew (MP) [mailto:Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au]
Sent: Thursday, 20 October 2011 10:06 PM
To: 'rob_hall@bigpond.com'
Subject: RE: Defence superannuation

Dear Mr Hall

Thank you for your frankness.

Government is a challenging task and almost always a matter of tough, pragmatic, yet at times necessary decisions between important and competing interests.

However, I do not share your view that the Government or myself does not have the interests of current and former military personnel in mind.

Recent advice from the Australian Government Actuary indicates that changing indexation arrangements from 1 July 2011 for recipients of Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (and Defence Force Retirement Benefits) pensions over 55 years of age would immediately increase the unfunded liability by $6.2 billion. The increase in unfunded liability would be even greater if the changed indexation arrangements were applied to all military superannuation pensions. These are significant costs and as responsible economic managers for the nation, the Government believes now is not the time to be considering changes to indexation methodology.

As the Federal member for Fraser, I am continuing to work with my parliamentary colleagues for the indexation of Commonwealth and military pensions that is fair and sustainable.

Thank you for your email regarding the indexation of Commonwealth superannuation pensions. I know this issue is important to you.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Leigh

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Andrew Leigh
Federal Member for Fraser
web www.andrewleigh.com
blog www.andrewleigh.com/blog/
email andrew.leigh.mp@aph.gov.au
phone 02 6247 4396
address 8/1 Torrens St, Braddon ACT 2612

From: Rob Hall [mailto:rob_hall@bigpond.com]
Sent: Wednesday, 5 October 2011 9:08 PM
To: Leigh, Andrew (MP)
Subject: RE: The Leigh eReport - Oct 2011

Andrew
I thank you for your email, but have to ask, “Why should I take heed of anything in your email”?

When you stood for the last election, you and others, including Kate Lundy, promised to support ex-Servicemen in their attempt to gain a fairer form of indexation of their “pensions”.
Just calling it a “pension” is an anathema; it is payment of superannuation, which ex-Servicemen and women compulsorily contributed to each pay, at 5.5% of their gross pay.

But you lied – you buckled to party politics and reneged on your promise!
You did not provide the support you promised us!
To add insult to injury, you didn’t even bother to respond to my email questioning of your change of position on this issue.

You and your Labor mates denied ex-Service men and women reasonable representation on the issue of fair indexation (Labor used the excuse that the budget couldn’t afford such an impost) , yet politicians have started working with Treasury to gain a pay rise of nearly 50% - truly a cynical act and a far greater impost than our claim to our superannuation.

And now you’re trying to build support for your re-election.
You are making a joke of your responsibility to represent your electorate.
Shame on you!
Robert Hall
Ex-Serviceman



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Wednesday, 19 October 2011 VA090

VETERANS URGED TO STRENGTHEN THEIR MENTAL HEALTH

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today joined Member for Moreton Graham Perrett in urging all veterans to connect with their mates and consider their mental wellness during Veterans’ Health Week.

Monday, 24 October, kicks off Veterans’ Health Week which runs until Sunday 30 October 2011 and this year focuses on building on the strength of the veteran community–mental wellness.

Mr Snowdon met with veterans today at the Sunnybank RSL in Queensland and took the time to talk to them about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

“Enjoying a healthy lifestyle is important for every Australian, but for many members of the veteran community, war and conflict can have long lasting effects, so it is important they receive support to live a healthy and happy life.

“Veterans’ Health Week is a great opportunity for veterans, war widows, widowers, family members and the general community to celebrate the strengths of our veterans and importantly improve awareness and understanding of health and wellbeing issues,” he said.

Events will be held around the country not just encouraging veterans to consider their health, but also providing opportunities to re-connect with mates and try something new.

Sports events, sight-seeing tours and music concerts will run alongside information sessions focused on health issues particularly affecting veterans.

All of these activities are aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles, spreading the word about the mental health benefits of exercise and nutrition, through to sharing the best ways to stay connected and how to handle specific mental health conditions, including depression.

“While Veterans’ Health Week is rightly focused on our veterans, their families, friends and all Australians should also take the opportunity to learn more about the issues facing our veterans, and to become educated about the importance of their own mental wellness as well,” Mr Snowdon said.

Graham Perrett said Veterans’ Health Week is a great opportunity for veterans to spend time with their mates, support one another and to take the lead demonstrating to friends and family the ways to better mental and physical health.

“I’d encourage all communities to support their local veterans, and consider hosting events this Veterans’ Health Week and into the future,” Mr Perrett said.

For more information on events happening throughout VHW visit www.dva.gov.au/vhw.htm

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999 or 6277 7820
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203


Click here to download this file


IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS

WHY DOES THE GOVERNMENT LEAVE SOME EX-MILITARY FAMILIES OUT IN THE COLD?

Minister Snowdon, in announcing increases to some veterans’ pensions, said:

320,000 veterans, partners and war widows and widowers will now receive increased pensions and income support payments from 20 September 2011.

“The indexation reforms introduced by this Government have delivered a fairer pension system for our veteran community and will help them to meet the increasing costs of living,” he said.

What a strange world Minister Snowdon lives in!

The announced increases are welcomed, but they will do nothing to help more than 57,000 military superannuation pensioners, most of whom are on pensions lower than those who will receive the announced increases; and all of whom compulsorily paid for their pensions through their military superannuation scheme.

Where is the fairness in that, Minister?

I AM SENDING THIS EMAIL AND FLYER TO YOU BECAUSE WE NEED YOUR HELP!

PLEASE SEE THE ATTACHED FLYER AND SEND IT, ALONG WITH THIS EMAIL TO EVERY AUSTRALIAN IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK:

· PAST AND PRESENT AUSTRALIAN MILITARY PERSONNEL NEED A FAIR GO.

· THEIR MILITARY SUPERANNUATION PENSION IS NOT FAIRLY INDEXED TO RETAIN PURCHASING POWER; THE ADJUSTMENTS THEY RECEIVE DO NOT REFLECT THE REAL COST OF LIVING;

· LOOK AT THE ATTACHED FLYER TO SEE WHAT EFFECT THIS HAS HAD IN THE LAST 10 YEARS ON THREE TYPICAL MILITARY FAMILIES;

· NOW LOOK AT THE INCREASE TO POLITICIANS’ SUPER PENSIONS OVER THE SAME PERIOD. IT IS GREAT TO SEE AGE PENSIONERS ARE NOW TREATED FAIRLY – SO WHY DOES THE GOVERNMENT IGNORE OUR SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN?

IT IS A NATIONAL DISGRACE!

THE LABOR PARTY CAME TO POWER IN 2007 WITH A PROMISE TO FIX THIS INJUSTICE. THEY HAVEN’T!

. BUT WORSE THAN THAT, ON THE 16 JUNE 2011, THE GOVERNMENT VOTED AGAINST A COALITION BILL THAT WOULD HAVE PROVIDED FAIR INDEXATION FOR MOST RETIRED MILITARY FAMILIES.

· WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FEDERAL MP AND TELL HIM THAT YOU WANT A FAIR GO FOR ALL MILITARY SUPERANNUATION PENSIONERS.

2. GO TO www.STANDTO.ORG AND REGISTER YOUR DETAILS TO STAY INFORMED, VOLUNTEER, OR MAKE A DONATION – IT ALL HELPS.

3. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, PLEASE KEEP THIS FLYER CIRCULATING – BY EMAIL, BY ADDING TO YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE, AND BY PHYSICALLY PRINTING COPIES AND HANDING THEM TO OTHERS WITHOUT EMAIL.

WE NEED THIS FLYER TO REACH EVERY CORNER OF THE COUNTRY.

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

From the “Fair Go!” Team
Campaign Directors: Ted Chitham tchitham@bigpond.com

Ray Gibson storyweaver@interndode.on.net



Campaign National Spokesperson: David Jamison Jamison@bigpond.com

www.standto.org




A. G. Denovan
6/1 Acapulco Road
Safety Bay WA 6169
27 Sep 2011
Phone: (08) 9591 1517
Mob: 0400 246 238
e-mail: ngc104tuc@bigpond.com

Senator Penny Wright
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Dear Senator Wright,
Your letter relating to DFRDB pension indexation was received yesterday and I note that several points have been overlooked in your ‘explanation.’
• The Commonwealth and DFRDB superannuation schemes are administered by two different acts and are therefore not linked.
• Even government bodies recognise that the CPI is only an indication of inflation and not cost of living increases.
• Recognition of this fact has seen politicians’ pre 2004 superannuation scheme and the Age pension increased to maintain real purchasing power. Serving and retired Service personnel are not getting this fairer form of indexation.
• Yet (unlike aged pensioners) tens of thousands of us were forced to pay 5.5% of our pre tax income from the time of joining the ADF and as a result were promised a fully indexed retirement pay as part of the recruitment ‘contract.’ The Government has been knowingly negligent in not providing this for at least 15 years.
• Prior to the Whitlam Government the ADF had a self-funding superannuation scheme that was so successful that we would get ‘refunds’ after each five-year audit. The Whitlam Government took over the fund and the money was put into consolidated revenue. The situation that we find ourselves in now is the result of this unfair – and in our minds, immoral - act by a greedy Government.
• The cost of bringing DFRDB and MSBS up to this fairer level over the next four years is much less than the government claims, more like $100 million.
• We are not asking for anything more than the restoration of our entitlement under the contract of our employment for which we paid during the 20 years or more of our service.

Your attention is drawn to the case studies shown in the attached ‘flyer.’

Regards,





A G Denovan.



A member of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO)*
MONTHLY UPDATE #264 – 15 September 2011
UPDATE is a monthly news sheet produced by the Defence Force Welfare Association containing current items
of interest to the Service and ex-Service community. It is widely distributed to Members of Parliament,
media outlets, senior Service and Public Service Officers and DFWA members.
PROFESSIONAL WORKPLACE RELATIONS ADVOCATE TO WORK WITH
DFWA
The response to DFWA’s request for feedback on the proposed ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement
2011-14 has been significant, indicating that a substantial majority of ADF members find the offer
unacceptable. Included in the feedback was an offer of pro-bono advocacy assistance to the Association in
its intervention to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal when the WRA goes to a Hearing later this
year.
Mr Gerard Nelson will become the Association’s Honorary Industrial Relations Adviser and has offered to
help develop our input and to appear before the DFRT along with Phil Morrall, our Vice President Pay and
Conditions of Service.
In order to provide both the DFWA and its Advocate with the widest range of opinions on the current WRA
offer of 3% pa for each of three years and what might be an acceptable alternative, David Jamison National
President of DFWA has re-emphasised the importance of ADF members to provide their opinion on the
WRA to in-house briefings and especially to DFWA (wra@dfwa.org.au).
If granted leave to intervene in the case the Association will faithfully represent ADF members’ opinions in a
professional and respectful manner to the Tribunal.
PROSECUTIONS DROPPED
The DFWA welcomes the news that the Director of Military Prosecutions has dropped charges against an
Australian Special Forces officer involved in the accidental death of five children in Afghanistan. It is a
matter for regret that the process has been so drawn out with the consequent stress on the members and their
families.
In commenting on the decision, the comments from the Defence Minister Stephen Smith are telling. The
Minister has requested a comprehensive assessment of the matter from the DMP and said that "These were
the first charges for manslaughter literally in the theatre or the fog of war in living memory".
Says it all really ……..
MILITARYSUPER LOSSES CAUSE CONCERN
Recent media reports on apparent management oversights by the Military Super Board have caused many
members of the Association to approach us and express their concerns. The matters relate to Military Super
fighting a legal battle against Melbourne-based hedge fund manager Agora Asset Management, over an $8
million exit fee.
The matter reminds the Association of the Ashington Development Fund No. 2 issue in 2009/2010 where it
was reported that Military Super was one of three superannuation funds that had sunk a combined total
$100m into a controversial Sydney land development and the developer was later liquidated.
These matters highlight the due diligence required by the Board to properly manage the funds of members.
The Association is seeking an assurance from the newly constituted Board of the Commonwealth
Superannuation Corporation that it will review its practices to ensure effective management processes are in
place to obviate such instances reoccurring.
PRIME MINISTER’S RESPONSE DISAPPOINTS
In what the Association can only conclude is a sad reflection of how the current Government approaches the
issue of caring for the interests of past and current ADF superannuants, the Prime Minister’s office has
refused in writing our request to meet with her to explain our position on fair indexation.
The reply by the Prime Minister’s Senior Advisor (having been “…. asked by the Prime Minister to reply on
her behalf…..” .. as if !) failed on the benchmark of what we believed we had a right to expect would be
thoughtful and useful response. It was not.
It ignored the detail our letter, instead it made the statement that the DFRDB / DFRB schemes “….provide
extremely generous benefits…...”. It then listed all the wonderful things the Government has done for the
veteran community, totally irrelevant to the issue in question. Then, just in case we didn’t know, it advised
us the Government had accepted the recommendations of the Matthews Review. Gee, thanks for telling us
that !
This patronizing and totally inappropriate response is insulting to our members and also to the wider ADF
community. Sadly, it is something we have come to expect from many in the Government and within the
bureaucracy. Maybe naively, we didn’t expect it from the highest elected office in the land.
One can only wonder what the letter would have said if authored by a junior advisor!
VETERANS' ENTITLEMENTS AMENDMENT BILL 2011 PASSES DESPITE EXSERVICE
OBJECTIONS
The Association supported the RSL and VVFA in their objections to Schedule 2 of the Bill because it
appeared to allow “double dipping” by the Commonwealth in certain circumstances when offsetting was
being applied to allowances. Despite opposition from the veteran community and the Coalition, the
Government with the help of the Greens passed this measure through the Senate on the 12th of September.
RETIRED SENIOR OFFICERS, COME OUT TO SUPPORT THE FAIR GO!
CAMPAIGN
The Association welcomes the public comments from the former Chief of Army, Lieutenant-General Peter
Leahy AO (Retd) who has condemned the indexation of military pensions for retired service personnel as
unfair. General Leahy has attacked politicians who, prior to changes to the parliamentary pension scheme in
2004, were given dramatically higher pension increases than provided to veterans. He said it was a matter of
fairness and politicians who benefited from a very generous system and large annual increases to their
pensions should think about soldiers: "For soldiers who were junior in rank these are not large pensions. Why
is it OK for politicians and not the military?" he rightly asks.
The General joins a growing list of retired senior ADF Officers including a former Chief of Air Force, who
have spoken out about the discriminatory treatment of ADF superannuation scheme members. We thank
those retired senior officers for coming out of the closet and providing public support for fair indexation and
hope they will be joined by more of their colleagues.
You can support the campaign firstly by being properly informed of the matter and then by taking every
opportunity to lobby – be it by way of overt public support or any covert opportunities that may present
themselves to you. A quiet word in the ear of a politician can be very useful as it will continue to reinforce
the point to those who need to be convinced !
Media Contacts
Executive Director:
Les Bienkiewicz 0411 444248
www.dfwa.org.au
National President:
David Jamison 0416 107557
*ADSO comprises the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), the Naval Association of Australia (NAA), the RAAF
Association (RAAFA), The Royal Australian Regiment Corporation (RARC) and the Australian Special Air Service
Association (ASASA).


From: Morry Hill [mailto:morryhill@iinet.net.au]
Sent: Monday, 19 September 2011 11:18 AM
To: Morry Hill
Subject: DFRB/DFRDB/MSBS - IPSWICH MEETING

Hi All,

A meeting has been arranged for Saturday 08 October at the Ipswich RSL Services Club starting at 10:30 am. There will be presentations and updates on DFRB/DFRDB indexation, Military pay increases (do you know that the latest pay offer to our serving defence personnel is LESS than the current CPI?), problems with the MSBS (are you aware that the government may have squandered $100 million of MSBS funds?).

The presentation will be followed by a Q & A session. The meeting is open to all serving and former defence force personnel and their family and friends. I know some of you live a bit far from Ipswich but let your family and friends know as some of them may be able to attend. The problems are generally well known within the serving and ex-service community but we need to get the message out to the whole community. Every Australian needs to know about the unfair treatment being handed out to us by the Australian Government (our Government).

Already a large number of serving and ex-service people have indicated they will be attending, we need as many people as possible to attend for two reasons, one is so that as many people as possible can be brought up to date on the lousy treatment that serving and ex-service people are receiving at the hands of the government, and secondly to show the government that we represent a large vote we will not give up and we will not go away. They are stuck with us.

Did you know that the government who cannot afford to give us FAIR INDEXATION or FAIR PAY can find $3 million to take 100 public servants on a holiday to Turkey.
The same government could find $5 million to buy phone cards to give to the boat people.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with humanitarian aid for the boat people, just like I have no problem with FAIR treatment of AUSTRALIAN SERVING AND EX-SERVICE PEOPLE

I believe that the people who put their lives on the line to SERVE and FIGHT for AUSTRALIA should be higher up the list than public servants or boat people.

DON’T FORGET – SATURDAY 08 OCTOBER 10:30 AM AT THE IPSWICH RSL SERVICES CLUB.

Email or call me if you have any questions or would like any further information.

I would also like to know if you or your friends or family are able to attend.


Morry Hill
0407 698 451




CHANGES TO THE CPI
NO PRIZES FOR GUESSING WHAT WILL HAPPEN
TO MILITARY PENSIONS !
According to Alan Kohler on ABCTV last night, changes to the September quarter 2011 issue of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) will have the effect of reducing last quarters CPI from 0.9% to 0.6%.

These changes reflect the ongoing and subtle changes in the methodology of calculating the CPI that has occurred in the last two decades.

Members of the Australian Defence Force were promised that their military superannuation pensions would maintain parity with purchasing power.

Yet today’s CPI does not measure purchasing power. That’s why CPI indexation was abandoned in 1998 for indexing Age and other welfare pensions, but not for those on military superannuation pensions.

This latest tinkering with the CPI now means that military superannuation pensions will have their purchasing power even further reduced. That’s why in the past ten years:
- military superannuation pensions increased by 29 %
- aged pensions increased by 51 %

Oh, and in the same time, Parliamentary pensions (for pre 2004 entry federal parliamentarians) increased by 57 % ! Nice !

“That’s a despicable way to treat past and current members of the Australian Defence Force” says National President David Jamison.

“The Government has a moral, if not a legal, responsibility to honor the contract it made with members of the ADF when it introduced the Defence Force Retirements and Death Benefits Scheme, to provide benefits that would maintain purchasing power” he said. “And that’s after the Government of the day absorbed the accumulated funds of the previous superannuation scheme into consolidated revenue, leaving the legacy of a so-called “untaxed” superannuation scheme which is now used as a justification to tax military (& public service) superannuation pensions, unlike other Australian superannuants ” he added.

“All that military superannuants can look forward to in their retirement is a steadily reducing standard of living whilst others in the lucky country move forward. The Government should be ashamed, but it seems they simply do not care. They stand condemned for their shallow words of support they spruke at parades and commemorative activities, then forget to look after them after their service to the nation is finished” he concluded.




DFRDB


www.radschool.org.au/magazines/Vol36/Page15.htm





Saturday, 10 September 2011 VA073

VETERANS ACCESSING MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE

Marking World Suicide Prevention Day, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Warren Snowdon said he was encouraged that more than 20,000 veterans, Australian Defence Force members and their families received support from the VVCS in the past year.

The VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service has centres across Australia, an after-hours counselling telephone service and provides counselling services in regional areas, to assist eligible veterans, ADF members, and their families.

“It’s great that an increasing number of veterans, serving men and women and their families are accessing the invaluable VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service,” Mr Snowdon said

“We know that VVCS has had an additional 2,000 inquiries this past year compared to 2009-10, up from 18,000. The Veterans Line after-hours telephone counselling service received more than 5,300 calls, an increase from 4,600 in 2009-10.

”I want to remind our clients that help is available at any time, where ever they may be.”

Mr Snowdon said modern technology adopted by VVCS is making it even easier to access services.

“VVCS now offers counselling services via video link so veterans can talk to mental health professionals face-to-face for specialised and confidential support in most rural and remote areas in Australia,” he said.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, Mr Snowdon encouraged the veteran community and wider population to learn more about mental health.

“We need to raise awareness about the signs of mental illness and reduce the stigma around it to help save lives. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has a range of online initiatives that provide information and advice on recognising the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in loved ones,” he said.

Initiatives include the Wellbeing Toolbox, and At Ease website. The VVCS Operation Life workshops also educate the veteran community about recognising signs of potential self harm.

For more information on DVA mental health initiatives or the VVCS visit www.dva.gov.au.
VVCS can be contacted 24 hours per day by calling 1800 011 046. For information on activities to mark World Suicide Prevention Day visit www.suicidepreventionaust.org.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999 or 02 6277 7820
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
________________________________________




VETERANS ENTITLEMENTS AMENDMENTS BILL 2011

Yesterday the Senate debated the Veterans’ Entitlements Amendment Bill 2011. Debate on the Bill began at 10am, continued until Question Time at 2pm, and then recommenced at 5.45pm. A final vote was taken on the Bill at approximately 8.40pm yesterday.
In particular, I draw your attention to Senator Ronaldson’s remarks where he discusses the details of the Bill, as well as other issues of concern including the Centenary of ANZAC, fair indexation and the cuts in veterans’ advocacy funding. Senator Ronaldson’s second reading speech can be found here: parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;orderBy=date-eFirst;page=0;query=ronaldson%20Date%3Ayesterday%20Dataset%3Ahansards,hansards80%20Speaker_Phrase%3A%22senator%20ronaldson%22;rec=45;resCount=Default
As the debate is extensive, including a detailed consideration of the Bill during the Committee of the Whole, I have included links the full Hansard for yesterday (Monday, 12 September 2011) for your information. The gap in the debate on the Bill relates to other business of the Senate which is required under the Standing Orders. Debate begins on pages 1 through 32 of Hansard and then continues on pages 79 through 93.
A weblink to yesterday’s Hansard can also be found at:
www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/dailys/ds120911.pdf and
parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;orderBy=date-eFirst;page=0;query=ronaldson%20Date%3Ayesterday%20Dataset%3Ahansards,hansards80%20Speaker_Phrase%3A%22senator%20ronaldson%22;rec=45;resCount=Default




Just Grounds Community
Real People - facing the forgotten issues with friendship and a little fun.
A message to all members of Just Grounds Community
Good Morning members,
I need your help.
We have all (or nearly all) been becoming more and more frustrated with this hopeless Govt and this has culminated in the list of resons which we supported the Convoy of no confidence.

Things would be very grim indeed if it weren't for the single handed efforts of one man.About a dozen years ago Peter Spencer - lost 80 % of his earning capacity on his land at Cooma. He was left to pay the rates and upkeep of course. He refused to give up. I have only known him for less than two years but I swear he is the most unique, tough, determined and fair man that any one is likely to find in the whole country.

You members know that I have devoted my time and money and effort to the two test cases that might reverse this downward spiral with- UN scams re AGW-ETS, land ownership, Agenda21 nonsense,sellout Govts, treaties that aren't in Aust best interests, green beauracrats destroying honest businesses etc etc.

Matt and Janet Thompson and the Peter Spencer -Just Terms are the ones. If we can't get the law to rule on something as blatant as this - we may as well pack up and hide as there will be no hope for the future.
Thankfully the Spencer case is shaping up very well with the "Discovery" being spectacular. Everyone is getting very anxious about these Carbon bills to come but it is the ones that have been that are the KEY.
Read the letter at the link here-
justgroundsonline.com/forum/topics/a-letter-needing-an-explanation

This is where the work comes in.We need this link to go to every facebook page and every single member of Parliament both state and federal today. This is the first shot over the bows and I am fairly confident that all this craziness is unlawful before the just terms are addressed. SOS News has the letter as well.

As this unfolds -I would imagine it should be headlines and will have some massive resistance from the beneficiaries of the air traders and we may need the general support of the 80% of the population that don't want a bar of this sellout. Hang onto your hats and lets get this first shot out.

Thanks,
Rob.




A member of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO)*
MONTHLY UPDATE #264 – 15 September 2011
UPDATE is a monthly news sheet produced by the Defence Force Welfare Association containing current items
of interest to the Service and ex-Service community. It is widely distributed to Members of Parliament,
media outlets, senior Service and Public Service Officers and DFWA members.
PROFESSIONAL WORKPLACE RELATIONS ADVOCATE TO WORK WITH
DFWA
The response to DFWA’s request for feedback on the proposed ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement
2011-14 has been significant, indicating that a substantial majority of ADF members find the offer
unacceptable. Included in the feedback was an offer of pro-bono advocacy assistance to the Association in
its intervention to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal when the WRA goes to a Hearing later this
year.
Mr Gerard Nelson will become the Association’s Honorary Industrial Relations Adviser and has offered to
help develop our input and to appear before the DFRT along with Phil Morrall, our Vice President Pay and
Conditions of Service.
In order to provide both the DFWA and its Advocate with the widest range of opinions on the current WRA
offer of 3% pa for each of three years and what might be an acceptable alternative, David Jamison National
President of DFWA has re-emphasised the importance of ADF members to provide their opinion on the
WRA to in-house briefings and especially to DFWA (wra@dfwa.org.au).
If granted leave to intervene in the case the Association will faithfully represent ADF members’ opinions in a
professional and respectful manner to the Tribunal.
PROSECUTIONS DROPPED
The DFWA welcomes the news that the Director of Military Prosecutions has dropped charges against an
Australian Special Forces officer involved in the accidental death of five children in Afghanistan. It is a
matter for regret that the process has been so drawn out with the consequent stress on the members and their
families.
In commenting on the decision, the comments from the Defence Minister Stephen Smith are telling. The
Minister has requested a comprehensive assessment of the matter from the DMP and said that "These were
the first charges for manslaughter literally in the theatre or the fog of war in living memory".
Says it all really ……..
MILITARYSUPER LOSSES CAUSE CONCERN
Recent media reports on apparent management oversights by the Military Super Board have caused many
members of the Association to approach us and express their concerns. The matters relate to Military Super
fighting a legal battle against Melbourne-based hedge fund manager Agora Asset Management, over an $8
million exit fee.
The matter reminds the Association of the Ashington Development Fund No. 2 issue in 2009/2010 where it
was reported that Military Super was one of three superannuation funds that had sunk a combined total
$100m into a controversial Sydney land development and the developer was later liquidated.
These matters highlight the due diligence required by the Board to properly manage the funds of members.
The Association is seeking an assurance from the newly constituted Board of the Commonwealth
Superannuation Corporation that it will review its practices to ensure effective management processes are in
place to obviate such instances reoccurring.
PRIME MINISTER’S RESPONSE DISAPPOINTS
In what the Association can only conclude is a sad reflection of how the current Government approaches the
issue of caring for the interests of past and current ADF superannuants, the Prime Minister’s office has
refused in writing our request to meet with her to explain our position on fair indexation.
The reply by the Prime Minister’s Senior Advisor (having been “…. asked by the Prime Minister to reply on
her behalf…..” .. as if !) failed on the benchmark of what we believed we had a right to expect would be
thoughtful and useful response. It was not.
It ignored the detail our letter, instead it made the statement that the DFRDB / DFRB schemes “….provide
extremely generous benefits…...”. It then listed all the wonderful things the Government has done for the
veteran community, totally irrelevant to the issue in question. Then, just in case we didn’t know, it advised
us the Government had accepted the recommendations of the Matthews Review. Gee, thanks for telling us
that !
This patronizing and totally inappropriate response is insulting to our members and also to the wider ADF
community. Sadly, it is something we have come to expect from many in the Government and within the
bureaucracy. Maybe naively, we didn’t expect it from the highest elected office in the land.
One can only wonder what the letter would have said if authored by a junior advisor!
VETERANS' ENTITLEMENTS AMENDMENT BILL 2011 PASSES DESPITE EXSERVICE
OBJECTIONS
The Association supported the RSL and VVFA in their objections to Schedule 2 of the Bill because it
appeared to allow “double dipping” by the Commonwealth in certain circumstances when offsetting was
being applied to allowances. Despite opposition from the veteran community and the Coalition, the
Government with the help of the Greens passed this measure through the Senate on the 12th of September.
RETIRED SENIOR OFFICERS, COME OUT TO SUPPORT THE FAIR GO!
CAMPAIGN
The Association welcomes the public comments from the former Chief of Army, Lieutenant-General Peter
Leahy AO (Retd) who has condemned the indexation of military pensions for retired service personnel as
unfair. General Leahy has attacked politicians who, prior to changes to the parliamentary pension scheme in
2004, were given dramatically higher pension increases than provided to veterans. He said it was a matter of
fairness and politicians who benefited from a very generous system and large annual increases to their
pensions should think about soldiers: "For soldiers who were junior in rank these are not large pensions. Why
is it OK for politicians and not the military?" he rightly asks.
The General joins a growing list of retired senior ADF Officers including a former Chief of Air Force, who
have spoken out about the discriminatory treatment of ADF superannuation scheme members. We thank
those retired senior officers for coming out of the closet and providing public support for fair indexation and
hope they will be joined by more of their colleagues.
You can support the campaign firstly by being properly informed of the matter and then by taking every
opportunity to lobby – be it by way of overt public support or any covert opportunities that may present
themselves to you. A quiet word in the ear of a politician can be very useful as it will continue to reinforce
the point to those who need to be convinced !
Media Contacts
Executive Director:
Les Bienkiewicz 0411 444248
www.dfwa.org.au
National President:
David Jamison 0416 107557
*ADSO comprises the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), the Naval Association of Australia (NAA), the RAAF
Association (RAAFA), The Royal Australian Regiment Corporation (RARC) and the Australian Special Air Service
Association (ASASA).



THIS IS A MUST LISTEN: AVM Pete Criss was interviewed by Jason Morrison of Sydney Radion 2UE again this morning. The link is below.

www.2ue.com.au/blogs/2ue-blog/disgust-how-we-treat-exservicemen/20110915-1ka96.html

Speaks about indexation, the new CPI indexation calculation being introduced by the ABS etc.



Incorrect Reporting on CPI

On Wednesday, 14 September 2011, the ABS issued an information paper outlining a change that will be occurring when the 16th series CPI is released in the September quarter 2011, due out on Wednesday 26 October 2011. There has been some media reporting referring to revisions to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The reporting is incorrect and the All groups CPI (headline measure) has not been revised. The All groups CPI for the June quarter 2011 was 0.9% for the quarter, and 3.6% through the year.

The ABS produces, together with the quarterly headline CPI, a suite of related indexes that help users understand the pattern of inflationary pressures in the Australian economy. These indexes include the measures of underlying trend inflation (the Trimmed mean and Weighted median) that filter out the effects of unusual price movements, such as the effects of the recent Cyclone Yasi on the price of bananas. These underlying trend indexes are also seasonally adjusted to remove the effects of normal seasonal price variations such as occur with fruit, and are subject to revision each quarter.

The ABS emphasises that, as in the past, the headline CPI will not be subject to seasonal adjustment, so as to avoid unnecessary revision of previously reported price movements.

As part of its recent review of the CPI, the ABS has undertaken an investigation of price seasonality and will be improving the seasonal adjustment of the underlying trend indexes (the trimmed mean and weighted median) from the September quarter 2011 by adjusting for seasonality in the prices of a wider range of goods and services than had previously occurred.

The new and improved underlying trend indexes will be published on 26 October 2011, in conjunction with the regular release of the quarterly September quarter 2011 CPI. This will be the first release of the 16th series CPI, which will also incorporate new expenditure weights and an updated commodity basket reflecting the latest information on current household spending patterns obtained from the 2009/10 Household Expenditure Survey.

To assist users in understanding the new indexes, the ABS released on the 14th of September a preliminary new version of the previously published underlying trend indexes (the Trimmed mean and the Weighted median) incorporating the new seasonal adjustment method. These indexes have shown differences in recent underlying inflationary trends, from the previously published data. The results in the information paper are a preliminary analysis and are subject to revision when the September quarter 2011 CPI data are released. Moving to the new seasonal adjustment method will result in a greater than usual number of revisions to the historical Trimmed mean and Weighted median series when they are first published on the new basis in the September quarter 2011.

More information on the impacts of moving to the new seasonal adjustment method is available in Information paper: Seasonal adjustment of Consumer Price Indexes, 2011 (cat. no. 6401.0.55.003).

More information on other changes associated with the release of the 16th series CPI in the September quarter 2011 is available in the June quarter 2011 issue of Consumer Price Index, Australia (cat. no. 6401.0), and in an upcoming Information paper: Introduction of the 16th series CPI, Australia, September 2011 (cat. no. 6470.0) to be released on 22 September 2011.

2. THIS IS A MUST LISTEN: AVM Pete Criss was interviewed by Jason Morrison again this morning. The link is below.

www.2ue.com.au/blogs/2ue-blog/disgust-how-we-treat-exservicemen/20110915-1ka96.html

Speaks about indexation, the new CPI indexation calculation being introduced by the ABS etc.


According to Alan Kohler on ABCTV last night, changes to the September quarter 2011 issue of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) will have the effect of reducing last quarters CPI from 0.9% to 0.6%.


These changes reflect the ongoing and subtle changes in the methodology of calculating the CPI that has occurred in the last two decades.


Members of the Australian Defence Force were promised that their military superannuation pensions would maintain parity with purchasing power.


Yet today’s CPI does not measure purchasing power. That’s why CPI indexation was abandoned in 1998 for indexing Age and other welfare pensions, but not for those on military superannuation pensions.


This latest tinkering with the CPI now means that military superannuation pensions will have their purchasing power even further reduced. That’s why in the past ten years:


- military superannuation pensions increased by 29 %

- aged pensions increased by 51 %


Oh, and in the same time, Parliamentary pensions (for pre 2004 entry federal parliamentarians) increased by 57 % ! Nice !

“That’s a despicable way to treat past and current members of the Australian Defence Force” says National President David Jamison.


“The Government has a moral, if not a legal, responsibility to honor the contract it made with members of the ADF when it introduced the Defence Force Retirements and Death Benefits Scheme, to provide benefits that would maintain purchasing power” he said. “And that’s after the Government of the day absorbed the accumulated funds of the previous superannuation scheme into consolidated revenue, leaving the legacy of a so-called “untaxed” superannuation scheme which is now used as a justification to tax military (& public service) superannuation pensions, unlike other Australian superannuants ” he added.

“All that military superannuants can look forward to in their retirement is a steadily reducing standard of living whilst others in the lucky country move forward. The Government should be ashamed, but it seems they simply do not care. They stand condemned for their shallow words of support they spruke at parades and commemorative activities, then forget to look after them after their service to the nation is finished” he concluded.


Les Bienkiewicz
Executive Director
Defence Force Welfare Association
PO Box 4166 KINGSTON ACT 2604
P: 02 62659530
M: 0411 444248
E:national@dfwa.org.au
W: www.dfwa.org.au







DFRDB SITREP Number 7

General
Congratulations to all those who participated in OPERATION LETTER RAID.
It was an amazing effort and we know that Parliament House was inundated
with several thousand letters during the 15 –18th August. The politicians
can pretend it didn’t happen, but we know it did. Well done everyone.
It was great to see the Defence family, all working together for a common
cause, all three Services involved for the common good of all our
members. We have no doubt that the politicians must recognize that we are
a very large, cohesive and well- organized group. This has resulted in
the apparent readiness of some politicians to engage more openly with
representatives from The Alliance of the Defence Service Organisations
(ADSO). However, let us not be fooled as this has happened before and we
cannot sit back and expect the politicians to accommodate our demands.
As many of our members have been receiving letters from politicians, or
from their offices, in response to our OPERATION LETTER RAID, we know for
certain that our registered letters did arrive at Parliament House. In
fact, one reliable source indicated that some politicians had t o employ
additional staff to cater for the increased spike in letters being
received. However, this has not resulted in the plight of our military
superannuants being raised in the House of Representatives.
On the one hand, the Government continues to treat us with absolute
contempt and their rare letters of response arrogantly refer us back to
the Mathews Report and to a Fact Sheet which could be best described as
fanciful!! Letters from the Opposition continue to reassure us that once
in power, they will remedy the question of fair indexation for military
superannuants.

We should all remember that we have been fighting this fight for the last
two decades with all governments and we should not take anything for
granted until the appropriate legislation is enacted.
Complacency will not win the day!

Task
We encourage all members to write a follow up letter to the politicians
to whom they sent their initial letters, if they have not received a
response within three weeks.

Execution
This time letters need not be registered and we also encourage members to
flood our politicians with emails demanding a personal response to their
initial letters.

We must keep reminding the politicians that we are still here and they
can ignore us as much as they like, but the bottom line is we are not
going to go away. We always knew there would be disappointments and we
readily acknowledge that many people went to considerable expense by
posting their letters by registered mail (some members sent as many as
sixty to eighty letters). This is no time to say it was a wasted effort.
On the contrary, it is time to increase our resolve and our determination
to convince the politicians that this National scandal must be righted –
and it must be righted now, not just before the next election in 2013.
Too many of our recipients will not be around to benefit!!
We encourage all our members to continue writing to, or emailing, their
local politicians, including their State Senators, about this terrible
injustice. We must keep this matter right under their noses.

The Media
To date, while we have received some coverage, we have not gained maximum
exposure in any of the major media outlets. Their standard response seems
to be that they want a human side to the issue before it becomes
newsworthy. So we urge anyone who is willing to and who would like to put
their case forward as an example of the difficulties being experienced by
those trying to survive on a DFRB/DFRDB superannuation to contact us.
We understand and respect your rights and privacies, however, if we do
not get people to come forward, the media will not proceed any further
with this story. We are working on this and hopefully, we will have some
more information in the next SITREP.

Registrations
Our website, www.justafairgo.net has been opened for just over a month
and we have already doubled our registered members to approximately
1,600. This is awesome progress, but when we put it into perspective, we
have hardly scratched the surface.

Of the 1,600 registered members, nearly 500 of them are actually serving
members from all three Services, from all ranks, Colonel to Private and
their equivalents.

However, there are approximately 56,000 DFRB/DFRDB recipients and we need
to continue to recruit as many of these members as we can. This is where
we need your help as many of these people will be unaware of the Fair Go
Campaign, or they may not have access to a computer.

Please continue to post these SITREPs in your newsletters or hand deliver
a copy to your mates. There is much more we can do to get all our members
involved. Talk to your mates at your local RSL Club and get your
Committee to write a letter of support and post it on the net. It is the
grass roots and people power that will win the day.

WE NEED YOUR HELP to inspire others to become involved, just as you are.

The March to Canberra
To date the cry “THE MARCH TO CANBERRA HAS BEGUN, WILL YOU JOIN US” has
been a metaphorical call to get people to join the fight for “A FAIR GO”.
For too long, our members have sat back, complained bitterly and did
absolutely nothing, expecting someone else to win the fight for them.
This has changed dramatically, as evidenced by the huge increase in
members talking to each other, expressing ideas and a willingness to
become involved in whatever way they can, including the provision of
accommodation.

If push comes to shove, and as a last resort, we may have to seriously
consider actually “MARCHING TO CANBERRA”.
We observed the experiences and conduct of the CONVOY OF NO CONFIDENCE
very carefully and we believe there are very valuable lessons to be
learnt. If it is decided to conduct such a march, then it must be
meticulously organized. It must be for more than one day, and in fact,
should be a minimum of three days.

Unless we have at least 5,000 Ex-Service personnel, plus at least the
same number of family members (a minimum of 10,000 people in total)
committed in writing, to participate, then it would be
counter-productive.

We saw how contemptuously and arrogantly the Greens/ALP Government
treated the CONVOY OF NO CONFIDENCE. The Prime Minister did not even have
the courtesy to speak with the participants and the Government dismissed
them as the CONVOY OF NO CONSEQUENCE.

Future Plans
As the media have continuously refused to give any credence to our
plight, our next proposed plan of action is to inundate selected media
outlets with letters and emails, along the same lines as OPERATION
“LETTER RAID”. We will select one major TV station, one major newspaper
and one major radio station in each capital city and each regional
centre, particularly in marginal seats and request our members to flood
them with letters and emails outlining our plight.

Draft letters will be provided for members and their family members.
These must be new letters, (not the same ones as were sent to the
politicians) couched in simple terms so that members of the public will
understand what we are trying to achieve and why. These letters need not
be registered. If everyone of these out lets receives a hundred letters
or more, we believe they may take up our story.

Cheers,
Neil Weekes


Click here to download this file

Find attached editorial from today’s Sydney Daily Telegraph.

That paper also had a front page item about Mike Kelly’s operational service at the ADF. The DFWA will not comment or become involved in this matter. However the editorial, attached, is most worthy of widest distribution.

Also this morning Sydney radio station 2UE interviewed AVM Pete Criss (Retd). He was interviewed at 7.30 am this morning on the 2UE Jason Morrison Show. It is worth listening to and the podcast is at:

www.2ue.com.au/blogs/2ue-blog/money-for-refugees-vs-war-veterans/20110831-1jkou.html

Canberra ABC radio 666 this morning also interviewed Mike Kelly. I only caught the last minute or so and he made reference to continuing working on fixing the indexation matter. I am not aware as to whether this will be podcast or not but if so it will appear at www.abc.net.au/canberra/programs/podcasts.htm



Minister for Veterans' Affairs Mailing List

24 August 2011 VA067

VETERANS ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE IN WORLD-FIRST RESEARCH

Some 27,000 Vietnam veterans, their peers and family members will be sent a questionnaire this week to participate in a world-first, intergenerational research project, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Warren Snowdon said today.

The Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study is investigating the long-term impacts of wartime service on families of deployed personnel.

“A questionnaire will be distributed to the 27,000 people who have registered to participate. The results will be combined with data from telephone surveys, focus groups and other studies which are now being finalised, including a child mortality study.

“The various research components completed to date will be built into the final study report, which will identify factors that help Vietnam veterans and their families effectively deal with the stress and impact of active service,” Mr Snowdon said.

Mr Snowdon said the research findings will also help to improve the support and services available to contemporary servicemen and women who have been or will be deployed on operations.

“The results from our Vietnam veterans and their families will help us to better plan for the future health needs of veterans from recent conflicts in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

“I urge everyone who has registered for the Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study to complete the questionnaire. I can assure all participants that every response counts and is vitally important in ensuring we get the full picture on the health of our Vietnam veterans and their families.”

Personnel from the Vietnam War era who were not deployed to Vietnam, as well as their partners, ex partners and children, are also being surveyed to provide comparisons between the two groups.

The final report is expected to be presented to the Government by late next year.

For those who haven’t registered to participate in the Study – it’s not too late.
For more information on registering, visit the DVA website, call 1800 502 302 or email healthstudy@dva.gov.au.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 4787



AS BRAVE AS THEY COME: 15 sailors honoured with bravery awards for 'swift and professional' efforts after SIEV 36 explosion - pages 1, 3
NAVY TO WELCOME HMAS CHOULES: RFA Largs Bay to be named after World War I and World War II veteran, the late Claude Choules, on its commissioning this year - page 2
CN PROUD OF NAVY PEOPLE: In his first major interview with Navy News, VADM Ray Griggs says Navy people are 'in control of our own destiny' - page 4
AIR CREW REACHES NEW HEIGHTS: Navy's first all-female aircrew forms at 816 Squadron - 5
KING OF THE ALPS: LCDR Justin Mangan crowned men's Alpine Champion at Interservice Snowsports Championships - back page, centrespread
Click on the front cover to read the latest edition.



Or follow this link digital.realviewtechnologies.com/?xml=defencenews_navy.xml.


Click here to download this file

Click here to download this file



Dear Member
pjcriss@bigpond.com
9 July 2011
The Hon. Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister of Australia
House of Representatives
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister,
Last night the ABC 7.00 pm TV News reported a speech made by you earlier in the day where you
said: “You can tell a great deal about a society by the way they look after their elderly.” How true.
The groundswell of discontent in the Defence community generally, and retired military
superannuants and disabled ranks in particular, clearly indicates an acute level of dissatisfaction.
If you or your staff are confused by the depth of this feeling then please review the table below and
then ask yourself this fundamental question; does the Labor Party genuinely care about this nation’s
society of retired military personnel? My assessment is clearly not and I assure you I am apolitical.
LEGISLATION / UNDERTAKING RESPONSIBLE PARTY
(in power at time of decision)
Labor Party Coalition
Pre 1971 DFRB superannuation scheme administered by own board and contribution held separately. Excess earning routinely returned to the member. █ █
1971 DFRDB replaces DFRB for new recruits. All personnel forced to contribute 5.5% of their pre-tax pay. Collected contribution paid into consolidated revenue. The Jess Report, which was the foundation of the DFRDB Scheme, argued that retirement pay indexation should be linked to military salaries, or failing that, average wages.
1972 The new Labor Government opted for the CPI instead. However, the CPI became a central plank in the centralised wage fixing system over this period and so effectively a condition of employment became a superannuation system with a cost of living index that maintained real purchasing power.




(Post Dec 1972) █
1 October 1972 The DFRB Scheme closed to new members on █
Circa 1973, $200 million in accumulated DFRDB /DFRB superannuation funds reallocated into consolidated revenue. Funds declared untaxed. █
1986 The Veterans' Entitlement Act (VEA). Under which all entitlements for veterans are administered. The VEA Act excluded the principles of equity (fairness and natural justice) from the administration of all veterans' entitlements, pensions and otherwise. (Federal Court of Australia ruling). Why █
1986 indexation unilaterally and arbitrarily cut by 2% from military pensions below the CPI percentage that then applied. █
Circa 1988. With the end of centralised wage fixing, CPI began to delink from wages and become a measure of inflation rather than cost of living. █
1989 CPI indexation restored but no compensation paid for the three year loss of retirement income from the cut in indexation. █
30 September 1991, DFRDB ceased to be an option for new members joining the ADF. MSBS only option for new recruits. Existing members given the option of staying with DFRDB or transitioning to MSBS. █
1997 CPI acknowledged as no longer protecting purchasing power of Age Pension, after a major campaign by pensioners because of falling standard of living. New measure adopted but military superannuation pensions excluded.. █
2001 Australian Bureau of Statistics declares that CPI is a measure of inflation, not purchasing power. █
From 2004 ‘salary’ used to calculate entitlements included all income (Service, Specialist and other allowances + basic salary). The effect is significant. DFRDB and MSBS superannuants discharged pre 2004 receive a pension as much as 50% less than their post 2004 counterparts. █
2007 ALP ‘promised’ to fix the indexation in lead up to the 2007 Federal election.
Result in power: Nothing (Matthews Review with constrained TOR recommended CPI be retained for Commonwealth & Military super - Review widely condemned as superficial and inaccurate) █
2007 ALP released the Podger Review into Military Superannuation, commissioned under the previous government. The report supported changing indexation of DFRB/DFRDB pensions to the Age pension formula. It also recommended fixing the MBL limits for MSBS members and other anomalies. For over three years, Both Labor Governments have sat on the report and done nothing █
2009 Age pensions indexation further adjusted by adding a pensioner and beneficiary living cost index (PBLCI). Military superannuation pensions ignored █
2009 –Coalition pre-election statement: “if elected to government with a majority, they would on 01 July 2011 submit a Bill to provide for ‘Fair Indexation” of DFRB/DFRDB pensions to a higher level than just CPI indexation.” █
2 June 2011, House of Representatives unanimously supported (on voices) a coalition motion acknowledging the unique nature of military service and the need for fair indexation of pensions. █ █
16 June 2011 the Government, The Greens and Senator Xenophon rejected Senator Ronaldson’s Fair Indexation Bill in the Senate. █ + The Greens and Sen Xenophon

Please do not misinterpret the data in the table above and what it unmasks – there is clear evidence of decades of deceit, deliberate manipulation and shameful neglect, if not gross abuse of employees by their Commonwealth employer. If a private employer did all this they would be before the courts.
Perhaps this historical snapshot of the political treatment of military personnel over the past 40 years may help you to understand why the Defence family throughout Australia is saying – we have had enough, give us A FAIR GO. You may also now understand the reason for the level of revulsion at your showing up at funerals for servicemen killed in Afghanistan. Loyalty must flow both ways.
Expect to see this table widely distributed throughout Australia. Underestimate the depth of this groundswell of disgust at your political peril. You are right, “you can tell a great deal about a society by the way they look after their elderly” (especially their retired service personnel).
Yours sincerely
Peter Criss AM AFC
Air Vice-Marshal (Ret’d)


Dear Member

I seek your assistance in “spreading the word” about the forthcoming ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement (WRA) with the aim of seeking direct advice from serving and retired members on the issue.
The Agreement will establish ADF salary arrangements for the next three years. The initial pay offer is 3% per annum for each of the three years 2012, 2013, 2014 with no trade-offs in Conditions of Service.
For many years the DFWA has been an Intervener on the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, appearing before it on many occasions and we intend to again front the Tribunal and seek its permission to intervene in this WRA Case which in the past has been given routinely.
FOR ADF MEMBERS: In addition to passing individual views through your chain of command, the DFWA invites members of the ADF to provide feedback to the Association .. there is information about the WRA on the DFWA the website and comments can be sent via the link on the wenbsite or direct to the DFWA National Office (wra@dfwa.org.au).
Thank you.
Ian Scott
President
DFWA NSW Branch
________________________________________

The Defence Conditions of Service Presentation is at the attached link:

www.defence.gov.au/dpe/pac/WRA_briefing_pack.mht!WRA_briefing_pack_files/frame.htm

Interesting letter published in upcoming Army News.

www.justafairgo.net
OBJECTIVE……..TO WIN THE BATTLE FOR A FAIR GO
for all members of the Defence Community
In this website you will find numerous articles relating to the issues surrounding fair indexation for military superannuants, including videos, podcasts, letters to politicians and a “shame file”. It will include a place for you to add your own comments, on any of the topics. It will also include links to other relevant websites. The site is still being developed and more information will be added, as it comes to hand.
Your comments are important and will provide an excellent forum for your messages to reach others.
No letters or comments that contain inflammatory, derogatory or personal criticisms of other contribut ors will be accepted. Pseudonyms or nicknames will not be accepted. The website is designed to win the war for a “fair go”. All our energies must be directed for that purpose, and not lost to internal bickering and personal agendas.
So start browsing and tell your friends, so they can be kept informed as well.
Any suggested amendments/corrections, or follow up correspondence is to be directed to: acalltoarms@bigpond.com
Due to the avalanche of emails and phone calls received, particularly over the last few weeks, the “JUST A FAIR GO” site has been developed to provide information to help Veterans , ex-members of the Australian Defence and their families, in their fight for fair indexation for their “self funded superannuation” and to have it protected against the ever increasing cost of living.
Our aim is to collate the evidence and present it on the site to assist everyone gain a better understanding of the complexities and issues surrounding military superannuation (and other related issues). We would encourage you to take an active role in this Campaign by sending registered letters to Federal politicians of all political persuasions, voicing your frustration and demanding this gross injustice be rectified.
The site also provides important links to other sites, ie. TPI, DFWA and the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations. It is not our intent to replicate these sites, but we will reproduce their Updates and Newsletters, with their approval, on our site for ease of reference, and provide links so that readers can easily be redirected to the main website.
Finally, we must congratulate Dean, our Webmaster, who has spent many long hours in the last two weeks to develop the “JUST A FAIR GO” site. Now the Defence community has an opportunity to access the site and become better informed about military superannuation and the complexities that surround it. Well done, Dean, you have provided a great service for your mates.



www.justafairgo.net

OBJECTIVE……..TO WIN THE BATTLE FOR A FAIR GO
for all members of the Defence Community
In this website you will find numerous articles relating to the issues surrounding fair indexation for military superannuants, including videos, podcasts, letters to politicians and a “shame file”. It will include a place for you to add your own comments, on any of the topics. It will also include links to other relevant websites. The site is still being developed and more information will be added, as it comes to hand.
Your comments are important and will provide an excellent forum for your messages to reach others.
No letters or comments that contain inflammatory, derogatory or personal criticisms of other contribut ors will be accepted. Pseudonyms or nicknames will not be accepted. The website is designed to win the war for a “fair go”. All our energies must be directed for that purpose, and not lost to internal bickering and personal agendas.
So start browsing and tell your friends, so they can be kept informed as well.
Any suggested amendments/corrections, or follow up correspondence is to be directed to: acalltoarms@bigpond.com
Due to the avalanche of emails and phone calls received, particularly over the last few weeks, the “JUST A FAIR GO” site has been developed to provide information to help Veterans , ex-members of the Australian Defence and their families, in their fight for fair indexation for their “self funded superannuation” and to have it protected against the ever increasing cost of living.
Our aim is to collate the evidence and present it on the site to assist everyone gain a better understanding of the complexities and issues surrounding military superannuation (and other related issues). We would encourage you to take an active role in this Campaign by sending registered letters to Federal politicians of all political persuasions, voicing your frustration and demanding this gross injustice be rectified.
The site also provides important links to other sites, ie. TPI, DFWA and the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations. It is not our intent to replicate these sites, but we will reproduce their Updates and Newsletters, with their approval, on our site for ease of reference, and provide links so that readers can easily be redirected to the main website.
Finally, we must congratulate Dean, our Webmaster, who has spent many long hours in the last two weeks to develop the “JUST A FAIR GO” site. Now the Defence community has an opportunity to access the site and become better informed about military superannuation and the complexities that surround it. Well done, Dean, you have provided a great service for your mates.


Click here to download this file
I draw your attention to :A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO ALL DFWA MEMBERS AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

This email seeks the active involvement of as many individuals as possible in a one-off action in the campaign for fair indexation of military pensions.

Parliament resumes sitting on 16th August and we are asking you, your family and friends, to become part of the “OPERATION LETTER RAID” Campaign. This campaign was initiated by Brig Neil Weekes and is supported by the DFWA as part of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations.
What we ask as many people as possible to do
Our Politicians need to be reminded that we have not gone away, and that we are more determined than ever to pursue our claim for fair indexation for military superannuants and their families.

We ask that you consider sending a minimum of three letters (and/or emails) to politicians at Parliament House to be received on or about 16 August. The aim is swamp Parliament House with “hard” material and re-enforce to politicians that there is a large group of our Defence community who are completely disillusioned with the current indexation method of our DFRB/DFRDB superannuation.
Attached is a document with some words you could use in your letter……. use whatever words you wish. but please remember that abusive and/or insulting letters will have a negative impact. There is also a lot of information on the DFWA website.
All these letters should be addressed to Parliament House, not to the individual electoral offices. We encourage you to write at least three letters:

- first one to your local MP (regardless of political party),
- second one to your State Senator
- and finally one to the Prime Minister.
Timings
Letters should arrive at Parliament House on either Tuesday, 16th (the day Parliament resumes) or Wednesday 17th August, (the day before Vietnam Veterans’ Day.)

This means your letters must be posted on either 12th August or 13th August. If you can afford registered mail, all the better.

Names, addresses etc

These can be found on the Parliament House website (www.aph.gov.au). If unsure simply use:

Name
Parliament House,
CANBERRA ACT 2600

This “letter raid” is being undertaken by a number of organisations and we hope to bombard Parliament House in a coordinated manner. It is anticipated the campaign could achieve over 50,000 letters arriving at Parliament House within a span of two days !


Regards

Ian Scott
President
DFWA NSW Branch



Finally, a letter to Perth’s Sound Telegraph chastises the federal government for refusing to index DFRDB members to the same measures applied for aged and other pensions, arguing that leaving them indexed to a 15 year old CPI figure leaves up to 50,000 recipients struggling to cope. The letter comes after the Senate rejected a 2010 bill to amend the policy in June.

A report in the Australian details a discrimination case launched by a serving army officer who claims he has not been deployed to overseas combat postings because of a stutter.





The Federal Court of Australia interpreted the Veterans' Entitlement Act
1986 (VEA) as one which excluded the principles of equity (fairness and
natural justice) from the administration of all veterans' entitlements,
pensions and otherwise.


Letter from Phil Clark, Retired Solicitor 17 July 2011 (from Just a Fair
Go) As a retired solicitor, I would like to make a point at law which is
very relevant to all veterans. Please bear with me.
The Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986 (VEA) is an Act passed by the Hawke
Labor Government. Under the VEA all entitlements for veterans of the
Vietnam conflict (and others) are administered. Some years ago a veteran
had cause to challenge a decision made by the Department of Veterans'
Affairs in relation to his entitlements. The matter ended up before the
Federal Court of Australia; which Court interpreted the VEA as one which
excluded the principles of equity (fairness and natural justice) from
the administration of all veterans' entitlements, pensions and
otherwise. That "fact" has been confirmed to me by the Department of
Veterans' Affairs in writing.
Successive Ministers for Veterans' Affairs have consistently, to date,
failed to address the issue. The former Minister, Alan Griffin, gave me
a written assurance "equity" did apply in the administration of
veterans'
entitlements but when an excerpt from the DVA letter (citing Mr Michael
Weiss) was produced to him stating otherwise, Mr Griffin was forced to
admit that equity had no application in the administration of veterans'
entitlements as the VEA was a "beneficial" (whatever that means) Act of
parliament. Some 14 letters to Mr Griffin later no satisfactory response
has been received and the current Minister is simply not interested in
responding either.
Being a retired lawyer, I appreciate that all Acts of parliament are
"beneficial" to someone or something. But veterans are, obviously, not
entitled to any "beneficial" interpretation of that particular Act. We
are denied equity. Clearly the Hawke government either drafted the VEA
with the intention that it be interpreted by the Courts in the way it
has been or, alternatively, the interpretation of that Act came as a
welcomed surprise.
The government was then more than happy to go along with the court's
decision without introducing amending legislation to correct the
inequity created. Either way, a gross miscarriage of justice has been
inflicted on the veteran community generally.
The current refusal by the Senate to deny proper indexation of veterans'
superannuation and pension benefits, is yet another example of equity
being denied to the veteran community.
Now I ask: "Why do criminals have the principles of equity enshrined in
statute law (fair investigation and collation of evidence, etc), illegal
immigrants have the right to invoke equity in the administration of
their entitlements to be, or stay here, and those seeking permanent
residency status have not only the right to invoke equity regarding
their claims but also have a power of Ministerial intervention when
"wrongs" are done to them by the Department of Immigration and
Citizenship, but veterans do not have similar rights?"
Veterans are the only section in our community I am aware of that are
denied the right to be treated fairly and with natural justice in the
conduct of their affairs.
Regrettably, the Department of Veterans' Affairs receives, and will
continue to receive, the blame for many matters it has decided and
veterans have to appreciate that Department is bound to follow both the
government policy and the interpretation of the VEA by the courts in
relation to administration of veterans' entitlements. But, in reality,
the majority of the angst against the Department by the Veteran
community would be alleviated if only the politicians would introduce
legislation to the VEA to restore equitable rights to veterans. The
Department would then, presumably, have discretion to correct
inadvertent or negligent errors internally without the veteran having to
go back through the whole system again to have the wrong redressed; as
is the present requirement. Administrative costs to the taxpayer and the
social effects for the veteran would also be substantially reduced if
Tribunals and Courts were able to invoke equity to resolve inadvertent
or negligent decisions made within the system. At the present time lower
courts and tribunals are bound by the Federal Court precedent denying
equity to veterans.
The Gillard Government now has a moral and social obligation to restore
equity to veterans and allow for proper indexation of veterans' pensions
in line with the indexation given to the rest of society. If the Gillard
Government believes that it cannot afford to do so then it should look
at the profligate waste of public moneys supporting failed schemes
nationally and unnecessary foreign investments in priority to internal
interests, and determine where the government's priorities really lie.
The general media should be onto this like a shot as it has been going
on for far too long. Why are veterans denied equity?
I leave this thought with you:
"That you can read this is due to the general diligence of our education
system. That you are able to read this in English is due to the service
and sacrifice of the veteran community, present with us and departed,
and those currently serving in the Defence Forces of this great
country."


Click here to download this file

Click here to download this file

To all, Mass circulation please.

Reference my last email which referred to a letter sent by me to Neil plus an attachment, I understand many did not see the original letter plus an spreadsheet, so for those interested here it is . The quote referred to is highlighted in red now. The original email was sent out 29th June 2011. If you have MS Excel Spreadsheet on your PC you will be able to open the attachment and edit the various columns to suit your own annual ComSuper payment, remember the figures used are all guesswork on my behalf.

“it would create a multi-billion dollar black hole in its Budget”. Swan & Wong.

I ask the question on what authority the spin twins of “Swan and Wong” for federal finances can have the audacity to quote “it would create a multi-billion dollar black hole in its Budget”, that statement made all labor members and others vote against the proposal to change the method of calculating increases for Superannuation payments to DFRB and DFRDB members. That is not the moral reasoning or giving Scheme members a Fair Go, that decision was made to escape scrutiny and not to increase the budget deficit.

The only black hole in the budget for the 100 years to come is the politicians’ superannuation scheme. It will be on a never ending increase due to the entitlements and age range or retired politicians and their most beneficial method of calculations to raise the payments.

I am not knocking the liberal Member for Longman (I actually would congratulate him) just turned 21, although think if he does 12 years and retires, look at the benefits for the next 60 years. Our service personnel did 20 years plus and compare the benefits for the next 40 years - No comparison at all.

The Treasurer has used some form of statistics to come up with the brazen statement “it would create a multi-billion dollar black hole in its Budget”. I am only guessing that they very loosely used statistics maybe referring to ALL Superannuation Schemes for all Government workers.

It is well known that the DFRB and DFRDB Schemes are a particular Superannuation Scheme for a select period of time in the ADF. These two schemes have an ever decreasing number of members in the prime of their life. The Politicians scheme is never ending as the additions are continuing to rise. The second question is “When is the forecast year that the DFRB and DFRDB WILL HAVE NO surviving members and the scheme closes”.

The fight for this right to fair recognition may well have to use some more statics to show that the brazen statement above is untrue. My suggestion for those who can have access to numbers is to produce a new Graph and I can only give a simple sketch to illustrate what I am getting to:

Annual ComSuper Payments

52899 - Decreasing numbers of surviving Members-------------------------0 (How many years to get to this point?)

This would appear as a “Bell Curve” type graph.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics can give current life expectancy rates for males and females currently between the ages of
55 to 95 and the ComSuper has the numbers of members to then determine a possible annual ComSuper payout to the total numbers.
Data extracted from the Mathews Report shows that:

1. By June 2008 the DFRB Scheme had 4,582 members and the DFRDB Scheme had 52,899 members;
2. The DFRB Scheme closed to new members on 1st October 1972; and
3. The DFRDB Scheme closed to new members on 30th September 1991. Salary was taxed then 5.5% deduction of superannuation payments.

As one could say we are a dying group so how can we be the cause of a Multi-Billion dollar Black hole in the Budget if the methodology was changed to give members a Fair Go

Third set of data may be harder for getting the sample range to show the difference to what retired parliamentarians are receiving and its place on the graph. I am suggesting a graph as it is a picture for those “pollies” to easily absorb into the brain.
I am aware that parliamentarians pay a different percentage into the MP’s Scheme, the question is “Why is the method of calculations for annual/bi-annual increase different and more beneficial to one select group and not to ALL, this is not Fair Go”.

As I said above the politicians Scheme is a never ending rising graph line, yet the graph lines for the DFRD and DFRBD will have a peak then decline to zero.

This half year 01/01/2011 - 30/06/2011 my benefit is annual No tax = $22,334.00 now if I guesstimate an annual 2% CPI increase till I reach 90 I shall then have an annual income of $38,121.00. The 2% is being very conservative to this Fed Government.

The disappointing figure is the Dollar value increase each year overall for 2011 it can be just $446.68 – very easily eaten into by the actual price rises in electricity, fuel, insurances, registrations and food.

Secondly, to try to see how and where a Multi-Billion Dollar Black hole in the budget can be predicted – to me that statement means that any change to the method of calculation will ADD Billions – billions is plural so 2 or more “A Black Hole in the Budget” usually refers to a mistake made in the calculations – so are the spin twins OPENLY admitting they have made a mistake??

Also, I have attached a simple spreadsheet using my personal ComSuper details and added numbers of Scheme members to show the possible costs of the total payout for 30 years. Two points to note Sheet 1 is a 2% CPI increase each and every year and we all know that does not happen, plus over the total years the payouts increase only by $437.6 Million. Sheet two has a 5% CPI increase (Well outside RBA figures) each and every year and we all know that does not happen either and this sheet is where
$2.5 Billion is added.

Please remember that the numbers of members is the unknown ever decreasing quantity, my estimates on member numbers could be way wrong. It is wrong to ADD each and every year (over 30 years) to give a total sum to then quote:

“it would create a multi-billion dollar black hole in its Budget”.

So, for the technical, statistical, mathematical minded Accounting person there is a challenge to produce a graph to also support that graph distributed several years ago with the differing percentages rising left to right.

So many years ago I saw or heard the joke and I have taken the liberty to change the sender of the second telegram

“ A pensioner reaches the grand age of 100 and as tradition goes gets a telegram from the Queen, saying Congratulations on becoming a Centenarian, unexpectedly he gets one also from the Federal Treasurer saying Drop dead you bastard you are causing a black hole in our Budget”

I sincerely mean no offence to any centenarian service man.

Best wishes and good luck to all .

Regards,

Rodney Alexander


Ph: Afghanistan +937 88 11 00 77
Australia +61 418 949 239, +61 434 364 454

Email: construction47@yahoo.com



27th July, 2011
The Hon. Dr. Mike Kelly, AM, MP
Federal Member for Eden- Monaro
House of Representatives
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Dear Dr. Kelly,
I refer to your response to “Mr” Peter Criss of 25th July, 2011. It was recently reported by the media that our erstwhile Prime Minister and your leader, the Honorable Julia Gillard, MP, reportedly told the media that they should “..stop printing crap!” With all due respect to your position, Dr. Kelly, I would strongly recommend that you also heed the Prime Minister’s advice!
Before I respond to the content of your letter, may I also express my disgust regarding your lack of respect to a very senior retired officer of the Australian Defence Force. I notice that your letterhead shows very clearly “The Hon. Dr. Mike Kelly, AM, MP and I thought it would have been protocol for you to address this officer by his retired rank – “Air Vice-Marshal Peter Criss”!
Dr. Kelly you know, as well as all members of the Defence community know, that there is a huge difference between retired members of the Australian Defence Force and the retired members of the Commonwealth Public Service. They have different employment obligations and they are not linked legislatively. To try to combine the cost of meeting any increase to their pension with the costs of a fair indexation for DFRB/DFRDB recipients, is pure hyperbole! You extol your service in the Australian Defence Force (…..”my career in many war zones came at great threat to my life in countless situations…..I was forced to fight with my rifle in every way it is possible to use it, including butt stroke and bayonet….”) therefore you know full well the huge difference that exists between Commonwealth Public Servants and Defence Force personnel. While we do not deny the Commonwealth Public Servants may be justified in submitting their own claim for a higher pension, this is an entirely different argument. It is nonsense to lump the Commonwealth Public Servants with the Australian Defence Force – and you know it!!!
You ramble on about the failures of the previous Government. We are very familiar with all this rhetoric and we could quite as easily lay the same blame against Whitlam, Keating, Hawke and all previous governments for the last twenty years! So please don’t play games with us or patronize us! It is very tiresome and we are no longer gullible fools who loyally click our heels together whenever the government tells us to so. Those days are gone, because we learnt this after the former Prime Minister, the Hon. Paul Keating, MP “stole” 1.8% of our DFRB/DFRDB entitlements during 1986 – 1989 (which has never been repaid!!!!). So please don’t lecture to us about what previous governments have done to ex-service personnel! We have had enough of this puerile argument!!
You say that you can honestly substantiate the projected additional costs for the implementation of a fair indexation for DFRB/DFRDB recipients. Yet, you indicate that the alternative costings include all military and civilian personnel (i.e. all DFRB/DFRDB recipients plus Commonwealth Public Service Pensioners). Again, this is blatant misinformation, and again you know it!! Our calculations have never included the Commonwealth Public Service Pensioners and why should we? Again you are using smoke and mirrors to obfuscate the inadequacies of your government’s calculations. If you are so confident of the accuracy of the projections by the Department of Finance and Deregulation, and Finance Minister, Senator Penny Wong, please release a copy of the full financial analysis with its assumptions for public scrutiny and independent professional analysis.
Our submission has always been deliberately based on achieving a fair indexation for those members who have served our nation for twenty years or more. While we would have included those DFRB/DFRDB recipients, who are under fifty five years old, we very quickly acknowledged that this would increase the associated costs significantly. This would play right into the hands of the economic rationalists of all political parties and no one would achieve anything. Those DFRB/DFRDB recipients who are over fifty five need to have their future guaranteed as a matter of priority. To quote your own words, we are “….chipping away…..” at the multitude of injustices that have been imposed on Defence Force personnel and their families for decades.
Again, you attempt to lump MSBS recipients into the same basket as the DFRB/DFRDB recipients and the Commonwealth Service Pensioners, knowing full well that the MSBS recipients operate completely differently to the DFRB/DFRDB recipients. It’s no wonder your government’s projections are astronomically higher than the real costs? To compound this, these costs are then extrapolated over an unspecified period of time to produce figures that absolutely petrify the Australian public.
Whatever happened to the Prime Minister’s assurance of “……complete transparency…. and evidence based decision making”?
This deliberate obfuscation substantiates Mr Lindsay Tanner’s comments:
“…misuse of government spending information is a favourite artifice………as a shadow minister and Minister for Finance I became adept at these dark arts using some of what are now the standard tricks employed to maximise political appearances: switching between cash and accrual accounting; using nominal, real or proportion of gross domestic product indicators of spending according to which indicator suited the argument better; classifying yearly spending as capital; making commitments beyond the forward estimate years……..”
Mr Tanner went on to say:
“The lesson is simple: whenever a politician cites spending figures to show what a fine job he or she is doing, examine the fine print very carefully.”
Stop playing games with us, Dr. Kelly and at least have the courage and the integrity to tell us the truth.
Dr Kelly, all your posturing, all your reassurances, all your sterling efforts on our behalf will mean absolutely nothing at the next election unless the Greens-ALP Government support our demand for a fair indexation of the DFRB/DFRDB superannuation. If the Government continues to deny us this “condition of service” then you will have to follow Party lines and vote against the Opposition’s bill, or you will be sacked!! If you support the plight of our ex-service personnel so ardently, as you claim, then here’s the crux, Dr Kelly. Will you be prepared to “cross the floor” against your own Party to vote for the Opposition’s bill?
Quod erat demonstratum!!!
Failing to do that, I suggest you do as you have stated “……it would be the easiest thing in the world for me just pack this in and go and get a better paid and easier job……” In all probability, you may just have to do that after the next election, remembering there are 15,429 ex-Defence and ex-Public Service voters in your electorate of Eden-Monaro. Good luck.
Yours sincerely

(Neil Weekes, AM, MC)


Media Contacts
DFWA Executive Director:
Les Bienkiewicz 0411 444248
www.dfwa.org.au
DFWA National President:
David Jamison 0416 107557
* The Alliance comprises the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA); the Naval Association of Australia (NAA); the Royal
Australian Regiment Corporation (RARC); the Australian Special Air Services Association (ASASA); and the RAAF Association
(RAAFA).
27 June 2011
MEDIA RELEASE
MINISTER SMITH, GET REAL !
In his appearance on ABC TV’s 7:30 Stateline Victoria on Friday 22 July 2011 the Minister for
Defence, the Hon Stephen Smith MP, continued the hypocrisy of the Government when on the
one hand he proudly implied that looking after our returned servicemen and women is a “very
important as part of the Australian ethos”, then on the other hand dismissing the case for
providing fair indexation to military superannuants when in relation to the recently defeated Fair
Indexation Bill he said that “The Bill … if passed would have seen the taxpayers of Australia
fork out billions of dollars”.
• Minister, that is a blatant misrepresentation of the truth. We assume you are smart
enough to know it. We know it.
• Minister, military superannuants may now have grey hair and served their time in
uniform some years ago, but the nation’s debt to them .... and your responsibility to
uphold…. remains in place.
Of more concern was the Minister falling for the old trick, constantly fed by an uncaring
bureaucracy to unsuspecting (and sadly in the main unquestioning) Parliamentarians, that the
cost of fair indexation is “billions and billions”.
• Minister, the reality is that the additional average cost, on a year by year basis, is
estimated to be $20m over each of the next four years.
• Minister, did your minders bother to tell you that? Did you ask?
• Minister, how does $20m a year compare to recent failed and mismanaged Defence and
other Government programs? We can provide you with a list if you wish.
We trust that the Minister would know that costs, when projected for many decades into the
future, will generate scary and confusing figures that can only distort any objective assessment of
such issues. The previous Minister for Finance, Lindsay Tanner, has said so.
The Minister’s cynical position is nothing more than a smokescreen and scare campaign to avoid
the Government meeting its obligations towards our currently serving and ex-serving members.
For a Minister for Defence to use such tactics is a disgrace, and an insult to serving and retired
members of the ADF and their families who are being deliberately obstructed and seriously
disadvantaged financially. This is contrary to their just entitlement as a condition of service,
expressly offered when the military superannuation schemes were established.
All we ask for is to have the purchasing power of military pensions maintained by having the
same indexation increases as the Age pension. That’s both simple and fair.


Please see below the stories making headlines across the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio last three days:


The Department is mentioned in a story from Victoria’s Whittlesea Leader, which reports that local Vietnam veterans will benefit from the expansion of a heart health program to the region.

Oppn Veterans’ Affairs spokesman Michael Ronaldson and Wannon MP Dan Tehan met with several RSL, ex-services and community organisations from southwest Victoria to discuss military superannuation pensions, declining membership and problem gambling, according to the Warrnambool Standard.

WA’s Mandurah Mail reports on household assistance to veterans and benefits recipients to compensate for carbon tax costs, quoting federal government MP Gary Gray.

The Grenfell Record & Bland Advertiser reports from Victoria, where national service veterans were honoured on Saturday 17 July at ceremonies.

Finally, the Singleton Argus reports that this year’s Vietnam Veterans’ Day will be moved from the Burdekin Park to the Singleton Army Base to better accommodate to the expected attendees.

Saturday’s Weekend West continued its expose into the struggles of returned service suffering from physical and mental trauma, with five SAS veterans speaking out against perceived flaws in the management of veterans’ affairs issues for the current generation of soldiers returning from Afghanistan. Examples here, here and here.

A letter in the Sunraysia Daily mentions Minister Snowdon, who was represented in PNG over the weekend by Parliamentary Secretary David Feeney, who presented 13 Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels with medals to honour their service.

WA’s Esperance Express reports on a commemoration ceremony held on July 17 to honour national service veterans.

The South Coast Register reports that two new plaques were unveiled at HMAS Albatross and HMAS Creswell to commemorate the Korean War, with Vietnam veterans and serving navy personnel in attendance.

Bundaberg’s News Mail reports that the local Vietnam veterans’ foundation has received a $1980 grant as part of the Building Excellence in Training and Support program. Similarly, the Fraser Coast Chronicle reports that $19,200 in grants have been made available to the Fraser coast community.

The Geraldton Guardian reports that superannuation will be a key topic for discussion when Michael Ronaldson addresses a forum in Geraldton next Wednesday.

Finally, the Northern Times – Caboolture reports that Petrie veteran Paul Webster is not entitled to a discount to access his local swimming pool with his DVA card.
The West Australian is critical of the Defence department’s failure to centrally administer information about soldiers’ injuries. Advocates argue that this endangers soldiers, and have called for the responsibility to be transferred to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The Townsville Bulletin reports that up to 350,000 veterans and war widows will receive a double whammy benefit after the carbon tax compensation payments are introduced.

Shadow Veterans’ Affairs spokesman Michael Ronaldson and Wannon MP Dan Tehan will address concerns of RSL members about the closure of Victorian clubs at a Warrnambool forum next week, according to the Warrnambool Standard.

SA regionals the Murray Valley Standard and Port Lincoln Times report on moves made by the state government to recognise Aboriginal veterans’ contribution to the defence of the country.

The Wingham Chronicle reports that the Newcastle branch of the DVA is inviting local veterans to a seminar at the services club to address topics like transport, health services, planning and other concerns.

National Service veterans will be honoured with a service next week at Broadbeach, according to the Tweed Sun.

The Colac Herald reports the planting of a commemorative grove of trees to honour the service of WWI soldiers at Eurack.

Finally, the Ovens and Murray Advertiser reports that a plaque will be unveiled at Rutherglen to commemorate the gifting of a Leopard tank to the local memorial gardens by the federal government.



A good clip.

The enemy has the red dress on - You'll recognise Mr Smith with the suit on

This is for defence retirees in general - which will (should) flow on to Comm Pub Servants and TPI's
mc

www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-22/war-veterans-campaign-for-better-pensions/2806974




Air Marshal JW Newham AC RAAF (Retd)
Church Point NSW 2105
14th July 2011
Hon Dr M Kelly AM MP
PO Box 214
Queanbeyan NSW 2620
I have read Peter Criss’s letter to you regarding the unconscionable attitude of you and your colleagues on DFRDB indexation and would like you to know I share his view. Speaking for many friends and erstwhile colleagues, we are astonished at your deception and gall. Frequently we see the ultimate hypocrisy when the Prime Minister assures families when there is a casualty, ‘we will look after you’. We note the hollow words attached to sentiments of praise and cringe when senior military figures are misused as backdrop for unpalatable announcements.
We are expected to swallow patent falsehoods in your peddling ‘reasons’ for preserving defence members’ retired pay status quo, while you, through suggestion, convey to the public the notion that pensions are straight drain from Consolidated Revenue without mentioning the fact that we contribute, and that the arrangement was changed from a superannuation fund overseen by a board until 1972 when the Jess Committee Recommendations were accepted by the Whitlam Government. For a time the provisions seemed OK until under government direction the CPI was fiddled to our disadvantage. You would have known this when you were serving, but now have switched to a scheme that contains the elements of fair, even generous, retirement benefits – a dirty dig I acknowledge, but we have been fended off for too long.
I do not apologise for the tone of this letter because we are being short changed and treated as gullible fools; the government has reduced retired servicemen and women to the lowest stratum of society.
Yours sincerely



SITREP Issue 4
23 July 2011
A CALL TO ARMS
The Seige - Consolidation
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF OUR NEW WEBSITE – “JUST A FAIR GO”
www.justafairgo.net
OBJECTIVE……..TO WIN THE BATTLE FOR A FAIR GO
for all members of the Defence Community
In this website you will find numerous articles relating to the issues surrounding fair indexation for military superannuants, including videos, podcasts, letters to politicians and a “shame file”. It will include a place for you to add your own comments, on any of the topics. It will also include links to other relevant websites. The site is still being developed and more information will be added, as it comes to hand.
Your comments are important and will provide an excellent forum for your messages to reach others.
No letters or comments that contain inflammatory, derogatory or personal criticisms of other contributors will be accepted. Pseudonyms or nicknames will not be accepted. The website is designed to win the war for a “fair go”. All our energies must be directed for that purpose, and not lost to internal bickering and personal agendas.
So start browsing and tell your friends, so they can be kept informed as well.
Any suggested amendments/corrections, or follow up correspondence is to be directed to: acalltoarms@bigpond.com
Due to the avalanche of emails and phone calls received, particularly over the last few weeks, the “JUST A FAIR GO” site has been developed to provide information to help Veterans, ex-members of the Australian Defence and their families, in their fight for fair indexation for their “self funded superannuation” and to have it protected against the ever increasing cost of living.
Our aim is to collate the evidence and present it on the site to assist everyone gain a better understanding of the complexities and issues surrounding military superannuation (and other related issues). We would encourage you to take an active role in this Campaign by sending registered letters to Federal politicians of all political persuasions, voicing your frustration and demanding this gross injustice be rectified.
The site also provides important links to other sites, ie. TPI, DFWA and the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations. It is not our intent to replicate these sites, but we will reproduce their Updates and Newsletters, with their approval, on our site for ease of reference, and provide links so that readers can easily be redirected to the main website.
Finally, we must congratulate Dean, our Webmaster, who has spent many long hours in the last two weeks to develop the “JUST A FAIR GO” site. Now the Defence community has an opportunity to access the site and become better informed about military superannuation and the complexities that surround it. Well done, Dean, you have provided a great service for your mates.
This website is still being developed and we readily acknowledge that there are still spelling and grammar mistakes, but these will be corrected in due course. Additional material will also be added.
________________________________________
PREAMBLE
MEDIA ALERT!!!
ABC 24 has aired an excellent item on Friday Night 22 July and re-ran it on Saturday 23rd July.
You can watch it HERE
Our fight continues... but success will not be achieved without your action. We must maintain a united and cohesive group. Those who are directly affected by the rejection of the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Amendment (Fair Indexation) Bill 2010 by the Senate on 16th June, must be prepared to take ACTION.... This means everyone must arm themselves with pen and paper and start writing. The power of our letters will be in the volume of mail that is delivered to Parliament House! (More about this further in this SITREP)
Even if you are not a DFRB/DFRDB recipient, this still affects you, as YOUR MATES NEED YOUR HELP as do OUR FUTURE WARRIORS, so please join the LETTER RAID CAMPAIGN!
We encourage you to continue to refer to the tasks in SITREP 1 – These are still very relevant and we must continue to perform these tasks regularly. They form the basis of our campaign strategy.
For those people who did not receive a copy of the Situation Report No. 1, the lists of tasks are shown below. For those who did, maintain your rage and keep sending those letters! By failing to do so, our message will not remain at the forefront, so please continue with your efforts. Copies of all SITREPS can be found on the new website.
All our earnest meetings with politicians and members of Government Departments will achieve little.
Politically and publicly shaming such people into action, just might achieve our objective.
Continue to bombard the politicians with your letters of protest. Ensure these letters are only sent by registered mail. (Emails achieve nothing!) See details below on OPERATION “LETTER RAID.”
If you have not received a response to your initial letter within four weeks, send another letter, by registered mail (it doesn’t cost much), demanding a personal response (not a formed letter), and remind the politician very firmly that they are only servants of the people. Remember, no abusive or inflammatory language please. We must maintain our professionalism and dignity. (if unsure what to write, samples of letters to politicians can be found on the new website to assist you)
Every time a politician visits your area, attend their press gatherings, or their public meetings. Make sure that you get to have your questions heard. We must be their constant shadow and always let them know we are in attendance.

We must humanise this Campaign. We implore those who are in serious financial strife to contact the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations, contact details below.
DFWA RARC
Email: national@dfwa.org.au
Website: www.dfwa.org.au
Email: secretary@rarcorporation.com
Website: www.rarcorporation.com

NAA RAAFA
Email: nationalsecretary@navalassoc.org.au
Website: www.navalassoc.org.au/index.html
Email: secretary@raafa.org.au
Website: www.raafa.org.au

ASASA
Email: Davcat66@oal.com

We must provide factual information to show there are many DFRB/DFRDB recipients, or their surviving spouses, who are doing it tough on their miserly superannuation “pension.” We will protect your name, but without personal experience stories, there will be many, including the media, who will continue to disbelieve our plight.

DO NOT invite politicians to attend our Commemorative activities. If they do attend, do not acknowledge them in any speeches. If they approach any Veteran groups, politely turn your back and refuse to engage in any conversation with them. Some organizations are already implementing this.
A “Name and Shame file” has now been established. (Now included on the our website). We have provided a list of those Senators who voted against the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Amendment (Fair Indexation) Bill 2010 in the Senate on the 16th June.

Maintain the “Airwave War” by continuing to bombard your local radio stations. These give immediate access to millions of Australians, most of whom have no knowledge or understanding of our fight for “A FAIR GO.” Remember to speak in simple language, do not use military jargon, as the general public will have no idea what you are talking about. Tell them of your personal hardships. To date, we are having some great success with interviews on Australia All Over with Macca (twice), Talking Back the Night, on Gold FM (Christian Argenti on the Gold Coast which was broadcast to 40 regional centres throughout Australia), Radio 2CC (twice), the largest radio station in Canberra. Victoria’s ABC 7.30 Show, which included an interview with several members of the Defence community, on the DFRB/DFRDB issue, earlier this evening, (Friday, 22nd July) will be replayed on Saturday morning at 11.30 a.m. on ABC Channel 24.
There have been several articles albeit, some small, in some newspapers, and an article in the Northern Services Courier.
Please let us know if you have spoken on radio, including the name of the Radio station and the date, so that these details can be included in future SITREPs. (We need to monitor our successes, and keep you informed). Email your details to: acalltoarms@bigpond.com
Opposing Forces
Our intelligence indicates that the politicians are deliberately ignoring all our correspondence in the hope that we will run out of “huff and puff” and that this Campaign will simply disappear like similar Campaigns have. How wrong they are!
Friendly Forces
The groundswell of anger and discontent continues to grow….and the sense of betrayal is palpable. We continue to receive dozens of emails every day, offering support and requesting to be added to our distribution list. Currently, we have 1,000 members on our email distribution list, many of them are currently serving members of all three Services.
My challenge to the retired Senior Officers of all three Services (2 & 3 Star) has had a pleasing result so far. Air Marshall Jake Newham (a former CAS), Air Vice Marshall Peter Criss, MAJGEN David Ferguson, MAJGEN “Digger” James and Commodore Matt Moncrieff, RAN, have joined our fight for “A FAIR GO”. We hope others will follow their lead.
Mission
To win the war for “A FAIR GO” for all Members of the Defence community (serving members, ex-service members and their families).
________________________________________
OPERATION “LETTER RAID”
Parliament resumes sitting on 16th August and we strongly urge you, your family and friends, to become part of the “OPERATION LETTER RAID” Campaign. Our Politicians need to be convinced that we have not gone away, and that we are more determined than ever to bombard them with our letters until they realise that we are serious in our endeavours to win fair indexation for military superannuants and their families! We will not give up until we win the battle!
The Operation (Tasks)
Everyone is to send a minimum of three registered letters, preferably five, to politicians at Parliament House.
The aims of this OPERATION are as follows:
• To encourage our people to take an “active”role, and not sit back and let others do the work.
• To take ownership of this campaign and actually participate – every action is a step closer to success!
• To swamp Parliament House with “hard” material. All letters have to be registered, signed for,delivered to offices, opened and read by the staff, because they cannot assume that every letter they receive has been written by one of us. By rights, every letter should be answered.(Ha! Ha!)
• To clearly demonstrate to politicians that there is a large group of our Defence community who are completely disillusioned with the current indexation method of our DFRB/DFRDB superannuation.
• Most importantly – to clearly demonstrate to the politicians that we are an organized and a cohesive group who can coordinate such actions, thereby implying that we can organize other activities.
Timings
All these letters must be addressed to Parliament House, not to the individual electoral offices. We will encourage people to write three letters: one to their local MP (regardless of political party), one to a State Senator and the third to our erstwhile Prime Minister.
Letters are to arrive at Parliament House on either Tuesday, 16th (the day Parliament resumes) or Wednesday 17th August, (the day before Vietnam Veterans’ Day.)
This means your letters must be posted on either 12th August or 13th August.
In the interim, members are encouraged to “trickle feed” letters, specifically to the Independents and to those ALP members holding marginal seats. If you do not receive a reply to your letter, then we would strongly urge you to take the initiative, and follow up with a further letter demanding a considered reply. These should also be sent on 12th/13th August.
OPERATION “LETTER RAID” letters must be posted in the first instance to PARLIAMENT HOUSE on 12th/13th August.
All letters must be addressed to:
Senator…..
The Senate,
Parliament House,
CANBERRA, ACT 2600
For those still feeling energetic….. please copy your letters and forward them on at the same time to the Electoral Offices of the Senators who voted against the Bill, to ensure they are totally bombarded!! A complete listing of Senators and all their electoral offices can be obtained HERE
The List of Senators who voted against the bill can be found HERE
The list of marignal Federal seats can be found HERE
It is worth noting that the number of Defence/Commonwealth public servants, living in the majority of marginal seats, far outweighs the number of votes required to unseat the sitting Member in each of those seats. When writing to these politicians, remind them that their seat will be targeted at the next election. (A comprehensive table giving all relevant information can be found on our website: www.justafairgo.net Please include the various figures in your letter to your particular politician. e.g.
“I note you hold your seat by………votes. However, I also note that there are ……….DFRB/DFRDB recipients and Commonwealth Public Service Pensioners living in your Electorate. I think you should consider this, going into the next Election.”
The success of OPERATION “LETTER RAID” will be guaranteed if you consider this formula.
• There 1,000 members on this emailing address
• If each member writes and mails three letters = 3,000 letters
• If one other relative in each household writes another 3 letters = 3,000 letters
• If each member then sends this SITREP to five other members and requests each new recipient and one relative of each new recipient, to each write three letters = 30,000 letters
TOTAL 36,000 LETTERS and this is only the beginning…….
There are some recipients of this SITREP who will on forward it to more than 100 (in some cases more than 1,000) other people, who hopefully, will do the same thing and all recipients will write their three letters. Not a lot to ask, we could easily achieve over 50,000 letters arriving at Parliament House within a span of two days.
Let’s make it happen! - People Power will Win!
________________________________________
ADDITIONAL INFORAMTION
Carbon (Dioxide) Tax
The average DFRB/DFRDB superannuation payment ("pension") is $22,559. Whilst our members might receive some tax relief with an increase in the non-tax threshold, as a result of the new Carbon (Dioxide) Tax, this certainly does not address the fact that the inflationary pressures of the proposed carbon price is not well known. Given the Government's track record, we lack any confidence in any modelling undertaken by the Department of Finance and Deregulation / Treasury. Basically the proposed carbon tax will impact on each member differently, as it will be determined by their total taxable income, whether they are on any other benefits and whether or not they receive a Commonwealth Health Card. Consequently it would be advisable to seek advice from a financial adviser, an accountant or from your tax consultant.

Once we have more precise details on how this tax will impact on DFRB/DFRDB recipients we will post it to this site and we will include the details in a SITREP.
Remember while the Government and the Opposition are completely preoccupied with the Carbon Tax debate, we have little chance of gaining any political traction. That is why it is essential for Operation Letter Raid to be carried out strictly in accordance with the program outlined above.
We understand that another action group will be conducting a Rally on the lawns of Parliament House on 16th August to demonstrate against the introduction of the carbon tax. www.hadenough.com.au
Unresolved Issues
The ‘FAIR GO” Campaign is a “rolling” campaign, as it will continue to address other related matters which still have yet to be resolved, including:
• TPI Pensions
• Commutation of DFRB/DFRDB pensions
• Life Expectancy Tables
• Taxation on DFRB/DFRDB superannuation payments
• Treatment of surviving spouses of DFRB/DFRDB recipients
• Pharmaceutical Expenses
• Restoration of PM Keating’s “stolen” 1.8% of the DFRB/DFRDB superannuation payments from October 1986 to November 1989.
Replies from Politicians
To date, very few responses have been received from our Politicians of all parties. Those that have been received have normally been written by staff members from the politician’s office. Responses have been identical and have been of no value to our cause. They have been full of rhetoric and “hot air.” This clearly demonstrates, once again, their lack of interest, their lack of concern and their determination to ignore us! Their puerile responses do them no justice and only continue to inflame the situation and increase our resolve to see this out until the bitter end.
________________________________________
Independent Australia (online publication)
All members are encouraged to continue posting their letters and emails, as well as any responses from politicians (both letters and emails), to the website above. This site has become the official historical document for our fight for “A FAIR GO” and it is essential that we maintain it up to date for the duration of our fight. You should be aware that this site is monitored regularly by the politicians and by an ever increasing number of the general public.
We acknowledge the fabulous work done by Tess Lawrence, Journalist Advocate. Without her inspiration and her indefatigable determination, we would never have got this far – thanks Tess.
________________________________________
Advocacy of Current and Former Defence Members Issues


Fair Go Campaign
The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) relies entirely on the generosity of public support to make the campaign successful. Your donations will greatly assist the Campaign - so we encourage you dig deep! The campaign is funded from donations and other revenue raising means.
DFWA manages the account and we request all payments be made direct to them. (donations, regrettably are not deductible)




Click on the boxes above to donate now......volunteer or to sign up to the ADSO.
Volunteer to join our State/Territory Action Groups (STAGs) or Local Action Groups (LAGs) established within your State and Electorate. Register at fairgocampaign@gmail.com with your name address and contact details and name your electorate and MP.
________________________________________
Unfortunately, there are some members from within our own Defence community who seem hell bent on creating divisions within our force. These people seem to be attempting to discredit some of our members, thereby encouraging internal fighting on our websites and in normal email communications. We must ignore these people and ensure all our energies are directed towards achieving our goal! (see further information below).
WARNING……..WARNING……CHARACTER ASSASINATION

My solicitor has advised me to post the following message……..

“I should advise you all that unsubstantiated and false allegations have been made against me (and others) by an apparent group of Veterans, the majority of whom choose to use pseudonyms to protect their identities. The allegations made have caused me to seek legal advice and, accordingly, I do not feel it is appropriate to make any further comments at this time whilst legal action is potentially pending.”

I will simply say “be careful” as the first tactic to disarm any political action is to cause disharmony within the core group seeking to rectify any injustice.

We must stay united and ignore any such falsities if they reach you.”

Neil Weekes, AM, MC
“I WILL MARCH TO CANBERRA WITH THE DIGGERS…WILL YOU JOIN ME?"





The DAN
Hi Ronald,
Welcome to the Defence Alumni Network (DAN).
The DAN gives you the opportunity to connect, share and engage with friends, colleagues and mates. Keep up to date with Defence issues and news. Join an existing group or create a new one, share your thoughts and photos, search for events or look for part time or permanent work, it's all there so go for it!
To log into the DAN simply click on following link: www.dan.gov.au/ or copy and paste it into your browser, then use your email/password combination.
Should you have any issues please contact us by email or call us on +61 2 6122 4204.
Kind Regards,
The DAN Team
www.dan.gov.au/



Please see below the stories making headlines across the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio today.


Today’s West Australian includes four letters to the editor endorsing last week’s article from Saturday 16/7 regarding post-traumatic stress in Vietnam veterans and the treatment and consequences for sufferers. The Department is mentioned in one or two, and all support the editorial approach of the story. Examples can be found here, here, here and here.

Melbourne’s Herald Sun reports that the state’s RSL will today write to the aircraft engineers’ union to protest against the use of the Last Post at a union event.

Mackay’s Daily Mercury reports from yesterday’s meeting with Dawson MP George Christensen and Opposition Veterans’ Affairs spokesman Michael Ronaldson, where the two spoke with veteran groups about carbon price impacts.

Grenfell will receive up to $3000 in grants under the Saluting their Service program, according to local MP Alby Schultz. The Grenfell Record and Bland Advertiser reports that the money will go towards a commemorative plaque.

The Kalgoorlie Miner reports that photographs of a memorial erected in Borneo to VC recipient Tom Starcevich in honour of his actions were presented to the Esperance RSL branch.

The Maryborough Independent reports that the town’s military and colonial museum has in its collection the medals of a WWI soldier whose remains were recently identified and reburied at Fromelles. The have informed the Defence Department and asked them to contact the soldier’s family and inform them of the medals.

Finally, an editorial in the Tweed Shire Echo argues that the casualty toll from the Afghanistan war is making ongoing commitment to the campaign untenable.




From: DFRDB-Justice
Date: 18/07/2011 6:49:30 PM
To: gordon@wwt4.com
Subject: New DFRDB Justice Web Site

The new web site dfrdb.com is now live. If you receive this email then you were previously registered on John Graham's web site ( www.militarysuperannuation.for-our.info). Unfortunately John passed away in 2009, so with the permission of his son Tony, I am taking up the challenge to continue his good work in our on-going fight for equality for our DFRB and DFRDB pensions.
Please get involved. A video help guide will be published on the site in the next few days.

Regards,

Gordon Wright
gordon@wwt4.com




Battleground ACT

We returned not as heroes, we were booed in the street
We could not wear our uniforms with family to greet
We snuck out of Australia in the early hours of dawn
When we returned home with memories and mates to mourn

Did Canberra stand up for us ….the answer was NO
They just sent conscripts and more soldiers to go
Why did they do this…. now what is their right
Why is it Canberra we now have to fight?

We did all that was asked by the governing power
We watched as our mates diminish by the hour
Years have rolled by….friends disappear due to age
Australia forgave us that softened our rage

Australia forgave us….that softened the curse
Are we now at war with the Senate to make things a lot worse?
We asked for nothing and nothing was given
To heal our pride …they only had to listen

We asked that our pensions be corrected ….and we came under fire
Asking for a paltry “MORE PLEASE so we can live life and retire
Should we send our politicians’ overseas to serve in some war
Then they MIGHT finally recognise our actions and the horrors we saw

I suppose that’s a bit harsh….so I ask you this question
If you were in the Veterans place ….would you knock back his pension
Please feel Ashamed…Please feel guilt …The country you serve
On veterans blood was built

So once again….Why is it Canberra we now have to fight
Fair go Pollies…..You know that we’re right
Battle formation all veterans of air land and sea
In the coming elections …remember Battleground ACT




“FAIR GO!” CAMPAIGN

PHASE 3

UPDATE 3/2011 – 12th JULY 2011


An Act of Bastardry - Bayoneted Again - A Second Front Opened

Trust The Government's Costs? - Meet the PM?

Frequently Asked Questions - Tribute to the ADF - Media Support?

How you can Assist - Help Us - What We Want




¬


An Act of Bastardry

Thursday the sixteenth June 2011 is a Day of Infamy.

In an act of bastardry the Government, with the complicity of Greens’ Senators Brown, Milne, Hanson-Young, Siewert, Ludlam, and Independent Senator Xenophon, who had all publicly supported fair indexation, voted down the DFR(D)B Fair Indexation Bill. Read the Hansard report (pages 1-20)

The House of Representatives, just two weeks earlier unanimously agreed to support fair indexation of military superannuation pensions. (Read our media release Senate rejects Fair Indexation Bill.)

If the Government and Greens supported fair indexation in the lower house why did they reject it in the senate? We can think of no conduct that could be more duplicitous.

Bayoneted Again

The Defence community has been bayoneted once again!

The anger can be seen in the articles and comments reported both to us and publicly through the current affairs web site Independent Australia (IA) where the matter is being exposed to the wider Australian community.

Our serving men and women are awake to the financial impact that this decision will have on their families in their retirement and even worse on their widow/widower. They know that a CPI indexed pension does not keep pace with the cost of living. They don’t like it and are saying so through their social media networks. The last line of Rudyard Kipling’s poem Tommy is still relevant today for the ADF;

“An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!”

A Second Front Opened

A letter from Retired Brigadier Neil Weekes AM MC to the PM Gillard, Senators Wong (ALP), Brown (AG), Lundy (ALP) Xenophon (Ind) and Opposition Leader Abbott posted by Tess Lawrence (a journalist advocate) on the IA’s web site under the heading Diggers V Gillard has been a catalyst for others to speak out.

As an independent voice Neil has opened a second front “People Power” to our Fair Go Campaign. He is working with us to achieve the same objective. Neil is no johnny-come-lately: he has been involved actively in veterans’ matters for over 17 years and is a member of DVA’s Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on veterans’ matters.

Neil’s sitreps are posted within the following

• Exclusive ‘Diggergate” continues: ‘The March for Justice
• Diggergate Campaign: A call to arms
• Independent Australia Campaigns for Diggers….and gets bigger

Keep the momentum going by having your say and posting it to this web site!

Actions on the Front Line

With the Coalition’s legislative thrust stymied by the Government and its Green supporters, we now move into our next phase of direct action.

Can We Trust The Government's Costs?

NO! Read why here in our paper “Can You Trust What the Government Says?” We challenged the Government to rebut our cost analysis that shows fair indexation is affordable.

The Department of Finance & Deregulation (DoFD) at a meeting in Canberra on Tuesday 28 June did not reveal its full cost assumptions and calculations. DoFD senior staff said they had followed all the Government’s financial conventions in their costing analyses. Our view that their figures are possibly irrelevant and certainly misleading fell on deaf ears.

Indeed, is Lindsay Tanner’s admission of the “dark arts” practice in his book “Sideshow” and reported in his article in the Weekend Australian 30th April -1 May 2011 at work here?

We believe so and that the Government (DoFD?) is using financial data slanted for its own benefit. For example our first year cash cost of less than $20M paints an entirely different picture to the alleged $6B over 45 years!

We have asked the DoFD to clarify their costing.

Will the Government offer us access to an independent authority to examine the matter?

Request to Meet with the PM

Following our meeting with the DoFD staff we wrote to the PM requesting a meeting with her. Read our letter here. We await a response.

Indexation - Frequently Asked Question.

Read the FAQ here It will help you understand the matter and become an advocate for our cause.

Tribute to the ADF

A very proud digger’s wife, Leesa Williamson, has produced this video. You can see it at Do You Support Me?


Media Support?

A media briefing package has been sent to the national media news editors/chiefs of staff for TV current affairs programs, press and radio, asking for their support in reporting to the Australian public this unfair treatment of the Defence community. It includes the “Can You Trust The Government's Quoted Costs?” paper, the FAQs and the letter to the PM.
See, read and listen to your local media and be prepared to add your voice to our cause.

To date there has been some response through the press (The Australian) and radio. Neil Weekes’ personal activities have created some worthwhile traction. On TV’s Sixty Minutes (17/07/2011) Peter Harvey’s mailbag printed an email about our issue in response to the disabled diggers segment from the previous week’s show. It was the last email at the end sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/

If the media fail to report the matter then we may need to initiate our own reportable events through all available means, particularly in the marginal electorates.


How you can Assist

In each State/Territory and in the marginal electorates we have Local Action Groups who co-ordinate our activities. We want to expand our presence to be a continuous influence felt in all Federal electorates. Here’s how you can assist;

a. Become a Volunteer. Join our action groups. If you are a DFRDB recipient or a contributor to a military superannuation scheme then we need you and your family’s support. Even if the issue does not touch you personally, but you believe in mateship and caring for the defence family then join us.

b. Donate to assist to keep the Fair Go Campaign going.

c. Sign up to be Kept Informed now.

d. Contact your local member of parliament. We need politicians and the public to know that we have a just cause and that we will not go away. It is critical to continue by contacting politicians, by writing letters and making phone calls. Letters should be registered [it does not cost much] to ensure that they are received and opened. Emails are fine but there is the danger that they will be ignored and/or deleted. Remember that if you don’t get a reply from the politician within four [4] weeks send another letter and demand a reply and not a ‘form response.’ Remind the politician that he/she works for you but do not be abusive or use inflammatory language.

e. Attend public meetings. These are an opportunity to ask questions on fair indexation e.g. “If CPI is the right indexation formula why isn’t it used for MPs?”

f. Use talk back radio. Ring in and ask a question. If it is not talk back and he/she gives a questionable statement then ring the radio station and record your concern: similarly with a TV station.

g. Keep a record of all your dealings with politicians and keep your State Action Group informed.


Help Us

We want to prepare a number of human interest examples of people on military superannuation who are doing it tough on their unfair DFRB/DFRDB superannuation pension. If you are, or any person you know is, please tell me Ted Chitham, tchitham@bigpond.com . All correspondence will be strictly confidential and not given to any other person without their approval.

Keep Informed

For the latest information log onto the following links:

www.dfwa.org.au Fair Go Campaign

www.rar.org.au Advocacy

www.independentaustralia.net/category/defence/

www.standto.org The Stand To site is currently under construction and is expected to be on line by 18 July 2011. It will be the central communications centre and depository of all information both past and present related to the ADSO “Fair Go!” Campaign

What we Want - Reminder

All we want is an indexation regime that again protects our military superannuation pension purchasing power, and that the present Age pension indexation regime does no more and no less than just that, we want the Age pension indexation regime.

Our DFRB/DFRDB/MSBS superannuation payment is NOT A WELFARE PENSION.

We all contributed compulsorily to our own superannuation scheme while in uniform. The Government for its part said that our superannuation pensions would have their purchasing power protected. We kept our side of the contract; the Government has not kept its side.

The Government, morally if not legally, is in breach of its contract.



Thanks for all your support

All for one and one for all.

From the “Fair Go!” Team
Campaign Directors: Ted Chitham tchitham@bigpond.com
Kel Ryan kjan1@bigpond.com

Campaign Spokesperson: David Jamison Jamison@bigpond.com


12th July 2011




All Members,
I am sure all DFRDB pensioners will be interested what the retired AVM has to say:

(02) 4471 3368 86 Illabunda Drive
M: 0400240049 MALUA BAY NSW 2536
Email: pjcriss@bigpond.com
8 July 2011
The Hon Dr M. Kelly AM MP
PO Box 214
QUEANBEYAN NSW 2620
Dear Dr Kelly,
I have just accessed a link sent to me by a Queensland colleague and listened to your recent interview on 2CC wherein you attempted to defend your Government’s rejection in the Senate of the Private Members Bill for fair indexation of military service pensions. You may be interested to know that your interview is being circulated to all retired Service personnel throughout the country, which explains how it came to my attention on the South Coast of NSW via such a circuitous route.

Mike, I knew you when you served in the Army and I know you now as my local member.
When you were elected to represent my electorate I expected you to fairly represent the interests of the retired military fraternity, without fear or favour, given your pre‐election statements and your understanding of military service and all that it entails – it’s the only form of ‘public service’ with ultimate sacrifice obligations.

As one ex-serviceman to another, let me convey to you in the simplest of terms my deep feeling of revulsion regarding your defence of the stance adopted by your party, with the support of the Greens, in overturning the Bill. My feeling of repugnancy was deepened by your contemptible attempt to shift the blame for the lack of fair indexation to the previous Government – in response to your comment regarding the ‘river of gold’ that the previous government had at its disposal and did nothing, I simply note the river is now much deeper and wider in 2011 and more is being squandered by failed Federal Government programmes than ever before.

You continue to proclaim that the cost of fair indexation places it beyond support because of budgetary pressures. The cost is only large if you are naïve and believe the figures proffered by DoFD which are pure political spin designed to sway support against the Bill. A thinking person, doing a modicum of independent research, instead of blindly regurgitating the “dark arts” figures (as revealed in the recent Tanner book), would find that the real cash cost of the Fair Indexation Bill is about half of what you assert, and that is before clawback. To suggest that $90m ($60m after clawback) over four years from an annual budget of $300Bn is unaffordable defies credibility, and fools few; certainly not those who elect you in Eden- Monaro.

Your party has erred badly in its reading of the strength of disgust within the community regarding this matter. The hypocritical actions of the Prime Minister and you, my local member, have not been lost on the extensive retired community that I associate with in and around Batemans Bay – we might be old but we still vote.

From your recent comments on 2CC, clearly aged pensioners (and your own political pension) rate far higher in your mind than Service pensioners, despite your much touted military (legal) experience. How quickly one can forget, but let me assure you those in your electorate will not, nor will the many now listening to your interview.
Yours sincerely,
Peter Criss AM AFC
Air Vice-Marshal (Ret’d)


Pls give this email the time it deserves to be watched and absorbed in its entirity.
Tks in anticipation.


This is well done and, no matter what your politics, our defence force need support.
Those who have been servicemen know this. A serviceman's life can be lonely


Dear Senator,

Thankyou. It is heartening to learn that you will continue to challenge the Gillard Labor Government and its arbitrary and gross neglect of DFRDB Superannuants, including the issue of currently remunerated ADF personnel. Both these sectors need you and your colleagues help. The Gillard Labor Government seems to think its perfectly acceptable to engage in a photo opportunity when RAN Ships and troops are deployed to the Middle-East and also when some are repatriated to Australia in a body bag, but conveniently forget the living who fought and continue to fight in heightened areas of conflict. What we want is equity in remunerative parity. A DFRDB recipient’s pension continues to lose rapid pace with other forms of pensions. I can assure you ADF personnel have long memories and none will rest until such injustices are appropriately addressed. To do otherwise will be political suicide for the Gillard Government or any government that follows it. As a matter of courtesy I intend transmitting your response to elements of the ADF community, with whom I’m in regularly contact. I can assure you they will retransmit your heartening response to their contact list, and so forth.

D J Preece
P.O. Box 3011,
Balgownie NSW, 2519


Hi All,

The link for this great video has been changed due to some licensing regulations, so the new link is,

www.youtube.com/watch?v=apScD-kcP84

Please send it to as many people that you know, it will help the DFRDB fight which is happening at the moment, plus it just a great video.

Leesa The 6 RAR Association’s PR lady, has done another excellent job.

Arthur Willemse
Secretary
6 RAR Association
secretary@6rarassociation.com
www.6rarassociation.com


Please see below the stories making headlines across the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio today.

The Herald Sun, Adelaide Advertiser and Courier Mail all report that veterans will receive ‘double-whammy’ benefits as part of the government’s carbon tax compensation scheme.

The Townsville Bulletin reports that Opposition Veterans’ Affairs spokesman Michael Ronaldson will join Herbert MP Ewen Jones in Townsville as part of a series of nationwide veterans’ forums.

A report from Victoria’s Murray Valley Standard quotes Minister Snowdon as part of an explanation of the new Work Force Bonus Scheme, which is designed to provide incentives for benefit recipients to remain in the workforce.

Brisbane’s Bayside Star reports on the Australian War Memorial’s travelling exhibition ‘A is for Animals,’ which is at South Bank until August 28.

An editorial in northern NSW’s Byron Shire Echo cites the recent death of Australia’s 28th combat casualty as strong cause for withdrawing from the conflict. Sgt Todd Langley’s funeral will be held in Sydney today, with PM Gillard and Opposition Leader Abbott attending.

Melbourne’s Pakenham Gazette reports that a man has escaped a custodial sentence after an historic vehicle he was driving crashed into a crowd of marching veterans at last year’s Anzac Day march.

The Tintinara Development Group has been awarded a Saluting their Service grant to help construct new memorial amenities in Murray Bridge, according to the Murray Valley Standard. Article mentions Minister Snowdon. A similar grant has been awarded to the Yorke Peninsula National Servicemen’s Association, according to Kadina’s Yorke Peninsula Country Times.

Finally, the East Gippsland News reports that RSL members across Victoria contribute over a million hours a year to volunteering activities, which equates to approximately $22 million of paid work.



Ken (Rocket) Rundell, OAM

DEFENCE ISSUES AND DEFENCE ORGANISATIONS

Introduction

I am not a Notable nor am I an Attention Seeker, my concern is only for Australian Soldiers and their well-being. I perceive they
are not being well led and poor decisions are being made in regards as to their welfare. As a retired (2002) Vietnam Veteran and Regimental Sergeant Major with 35 years service, there are a number of Issues that I see are currently affecting the Defence Force. I have no influence and can change nothing but where are the people who do have influence and can speak up? In that regard I want to know where are the “Critics” within the Current Defence Department, the Ex Defence Senior Officers and Defence Organisations? I want them to wake up, make a statement, to remember the Soldiers who have worked tirelessly for them, who have given them respect and shown them loyalty and return it!

The Defence issues that concern me and should be out in the Defence arena being discussed for me are as follows:

1. Employment of women within the Royal Australian Infantry.

2. Movement of Defence assets to the North and West of Australia.

3. Australian Soldier Deaths in Afghanistan.

4. Current and Ex Senior Defence Members and Defence Organisations.

DEFENCE ISSUES

1. Employment of Women within the Royal Australian Infantry.

There is no Army in the world that actively employs women as Infantry Assault Troops or has mixed sex Infantry Combat Forces, it just doesn’t work for a number of reasons including but not limited to physical, cultural, emotional, medical and social interaction and expectation. I feel there is no logical or adequate justification for the Australian Army to be doing this except as a socio-political vote winning exercise, for some portions of the Federal Governments feminine lobby to feel good over an issue that soldiers know is not practical.

The issue has little to do with passing a physical barrier test as a qualifier, if this was the case we should have elite women athletes playing and competing in the AFL, NRL, Rugby Union, Men’s Basketball, Men’s Swimming; but we do not! The Defence Force is all for women not being discriminated against, having equal employment opportunities and being in combat roles; however in this situation there is no ethical, moral or justifiable reason for women to be employed as front line infantry assault troops. Are our recruitment targets that low? Ask yourself why then is only the Defence Force being singled out in one tiny element of its employment parameters?

Anyone who agrees with ‘this’ concept of ‘Women in Infantry Sections’ has never really been a soldier in prolonged Active Infantry Combat or seen how destructive and degenerative this type of Warfare is to the actual participants. I am not going to elaborate any further, you either know it or you don’t enough said! If there is ANY Infantry Veteran out there who desires to see and agrees with the concept of Australian Women in extended line advancing on an enemy defensive position, just so we can get a tick in some Feminist Federal Government box, that says Equal Employment Opportunity, then you have ‘rocks in your head’!

2. Movement of Defence Assets to the North and West of Australia.

We have been told by Senior Defence Officers and Analysts that we need to move more Defence Assets and Personnel to the North and West of Australia just in case China or India decides they need our Coal and Iron Ore fields. That China and India own most of these assets and if they require any more they can just buy them, must have escaped the attention of these Defence personnel! We already have enough Defence assets in the North and West that if either of these countries wanted to invade it would require a major undertaking and a large fleet, with large reserves and a huge supply line; (remember D Day?). A situation that would take many years to build up and would undoubtedly be detected by USA surveillance, who would more than likely ask them what are you doing? So WHY would they do it, when they can legally buy it?

The threat to Australia is not from China or India but from Fundamentalist Islamic Extremists living in Melbourne and Sydney, who are conducting open meetings and conferences demanding sharia law, demanding that they should not have to be part of any democracy including Australia, not be subject to Australian law, the open rejoicing and support for the killing of Australian Defence personnel, supporting and recruiting of suicide bombers, wanting us to live like they do in Iran and Saudi Arabia; all condoned by and under the approval of the Australian Government.

No! We need Southern bases and Southern military forces, China and or India are not going to invade Australia but radical Islamists are going to try to be as disruptive to the law and government as they can; that is Australia’s problem as it is in every other country. What our military should be training for is Aid to the Civil Power within Australia’s major cities. A home domiciling policy that allows/capture and retains the “Hearts and Minds” of our Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen and their immediate and extended families, not just some quasi Defence barrier system to the North.

3. Australian Soldier Deaths in Afghanistan.

In regards to Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians, I am proud that the Australian defence Department has such courageous and highly trained soldiers as the EOD Technicians in Afghanistan. However that is not the point, the point is this; we have been observing the number of Engineer EOD Technician deaths in Afghanistan and have read the REVEILLE magazine of May-June 2011 article ‘A Bomb Disposal Expert’ after reading this article it would have become clear to all of us who know that what we thought is happening in Afghanistan is in fact true! That these EOD personnel are dying in some vain exercise to disarm IED’s that are lying in the middle of nowhere in the hope of maybe being able to glean some forensic or origin type evidence, a reason that is hard to ascertain, justify or act on, as most of the bomb makers are not on any personnel database and the materials are quite often recycled munitions from the coalition or abandoned Russian munitions. Why these IED are not just destroyed by whatever is in location without having to go near these IED is hard to fathom?

In Afghanistan there is no justification not to blow them up where they are found! No IED is worth the loss of 1 Australian Digger. Have these Diggers families been told there is no justifiable reason that their son has died, we sent him to dismantle an IED when we could have just blown it up! Who is instigating this disarming of IED policy? Why aren’t there Commanders saying this is a B/S policy and the policy of disarming IED’s must cease? I have some background being a Demolition Supervisor and a Mine Warfare and Booby Trap Operator qualified and trained at SME and Pioneer Wing the School of Infantry and Instructing on these fields. This does not make me an EOD Technician but it does mean I have some insight into the Subject.

In regard to the Infantry Soldiers at Platoon and Section level, they are completely outgunned and outranged by the Small Arms in use by the Taliban. The Australian Army’s choice of weapons to fight an Infantry War in Afghanistan and earlier in Iraq is sub-standard. I took part in previous Trials to purchase new Infantry Small Arms for the Australian Army and at that stage the Army was advised and informed that the current issue Steyr and Minimi weapons were not the preferred or recommended weapons as they would have shortfalls in just this type of ‘open’ warfare. The 7.62mm machine gun that is currently in use within the Infantry Sections and is demonstrating its superiority (and is saving their hide) was not purchased for that role and in fact Senior Infantry Officer’s had demanded its removal from the Regular Infantry Battalions in the 1990’s preferring not to listen to the advice of their own Warrant Officers because as we all know, only Senior Officers are smart enough to make sound and well informed decisions on such matters as Infantry Tactics, Weapons and Equipment.

4.Current and Ex Senior Defence Members and Defence Organisations.

Current Serving Senior Officers. In regard to the above Issues, I find it impossible to believe that ALL Current serving Senior Officers agree with the implementation of these policies, if this is the case then their job has become more important than speaking out, defending their principles and the soldiers they are entrusted to protect? Where is their backbone? Where do the RSM’s stand on these issues? The very men who are supposed to put their life on the line for their soldiers? Where is their backbone?

Today’s Defence Force appears to be run by Political ‘YES’ personnel who will agree with anything just to maintain their employment. Where are the articles against these proposals, where are the soldiers willing to speak out? That’s all I ask!

Ex Defence Force Senior Officers. What is even worse, where are all the Ex Defence Senior Officers in all this that disagree with these policies? Excuse me if I am slightly cynical for a moment. Could it be that these Ex Senior Officers are ensconced within cushy Government jobs, or boards or Committees, or in employment that depends on Government contracts or maybe its more important to be on the ‘gravy train’ so as to be invited to visit past Battlefields or go on Ocean Cruises to Commemorate the sinking of HMAS SYDNEY, than to defend soldiers? I don’t know but it would appear that if the Serving and Ex Rank and File Members of the Defence Force are waiting for any Ex Senior Officer to speak up, we will be waiting a damn long time!

RSL. I thought the RSL was formed to represent Ex and Current members of the Defence Force on issues of Defence and keep the Government ‘honest’! But, when I read the current issue of REVEILLE what important ‘Motions’ do I see that the RSL Branches are discussing at the NSW State Congress, with regard to timely and topical matters of Defence and Foreign Affairs? 2 items = Recognition of Australian Defence Force (ADF) Volunteers and Ribbon bars to be put on medals to represent ‘Multiple overseas deployments’. Hardly matters of National importance I would have thought!

RAR COUNCIL. The esteemed RAR Council of all matters Infantry, (don’t get me wrong I want them to have a voice). But do we see them demanding and making accountable Senior Infantry officers, The Director of Infantry, Battalion Commanding Officers or Infantry RSM’s over the above issues. If the RAR Council is limited to only discuss topics such as the Duke of Gloucester Cup or Berets or Stable Belts and not problems or issues effecting the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and its members, then what is the point of this Council?

IN SUMMARY

I am bloody angry and any caring Australian soldier should be bloody angry, that we can pick up any magazine (Duty First, Reveille), National Newspapers; listen to Television Current Affair programs or Talkback radio programs and there is no visible voice of contradiction from people who have the ‘power’ invested in them to do so, Current and Ex Senior Defence Officers! Where is the leadership and loyalty that these Officers demanded of us, that which they are supposed to display, in return for the loyalty shown to them by the Rank and File during their service and after service life?

Ken (Rocket) Rundell, OAM

Mr K.E. Rundell
18 Reservoir Rd
Mt Pritchard NSW