Bill calls on Government to index benefit payments
SUPPORT: Senator Ian Macdonald the Labor government
must stop treating veterans like second-class citizens TOWNSVILLE LNP politicians have demanded their Labor colleagues support a bill which will bring the defence force pension in line with other pensions around Australia.
Shadow spokesman on the Defence Force and Defence Support, Senator Ian Macdonald, said the Labor government must stop treating defence force veterans like second-class citizens.
Eligible retired personnel who served for more than 20 years could apply for the Defence Force Retirement Benefit which is like a superannuation fund members pay into annually.
While t he recipients of other pensions have them indexed yearly on a range of indices including Male Total Average Weekly Earnings and the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, defence members only receive a CPI increase which has caused their payments to fall further and further behind each year since 1973 when t h e c h a n g e s wer e made.
Around 3500 Townsville residents are recipients of the pension.
Senator Macdonald urged the Labor Party to support the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Amendment ( Fair I ndexation) Bill that was introduced into the Senate by Opposition spokesman on Vete r a n s ’ A f f a i r s , S e n a t o r Mic h a e l Ro n a l d s o n , l a s t year. ‘‘ I can’t understand why Labor is so vehemently and vocally opposed to a Bill that would allow the Government to index pension payments to Australia’s 56,000 retired defence personnel in the same way as other government pensions,’’ Senator Macdonald said.
‘‘ This is the right thing to do, given the unique nature of defence service and the risks and sacrifices involved in serving ones country, especially in war zones.’’
Senator Macdonald said the Bill reflected the wishes of veterans’ organisations and would bring veterans superannuation payments i nto line with the aged pension.
Veterans’ widows would also benefit from the Bill.
‘‘ I strongly believe our vets deserve to be treated fairly and not be treated as secondc l a s s c i t i z e n s , ’ ’ S e n a t o r Macdonald said.
‘‘ If vets’ payments had increased in line with the aged pension in March 2010, eligible military superannuants would have received up to an extra $ 28.40 a fortnight.
‘‘ With the cost of living soaring and new taxes being imposed by Labor, this extra money is not just a necessity but it is the right thing to do.’’
A petition supporting the Bill, prepared by Herbert MP Ewen Jones can be signed at Senator Macdonald’s office, 131 Denham St, Townsville, or at Mr Jones’s office, corner of Nathan St and Ross River Rd, Aitkenvale.