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Aug
7
  Australia’s best Veteran Affairs Policy: PUP ensures Vets are back-paid for Super rip-off and pensions fairly indexed.

Australia’s best Veteran Affairs Policy: PUP ensures Vets are back-paid for Super rip-off and pensions fairly indexed.

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Australia’s best Veteran Affairs Policy:  PUP ensures Vets are back-paid for Super rip-off and pensions fairly indexed.



Palmer United Candidate for Hinkler Rob Messenger has challenged all Australian political candidates and their parties to – live up to the ANZAC Legend not off it – and adopt PUP’s new $640M Veteran Affairs policy.

 

"Sadly, the public record shows over the years - that our former military members have been promised and then denied - a fair and just deal by Labor, Liberal and National Party politicians. And now for the first time in 20 years Australian Veterans, both old and young, have finally been listened to. All political parties, if they want to be fair to all our Vets, should adopt the PUP policies.

 

They have been designed in conjunction with one of Australia’s most respected military compensation experts and Barrister Greg Isolani and PUP Tasmanian Senate Candidate / former soldier Jacqui Lambie - to provide practical solutions to a broad range of well-known Veteran Affairs problems and injustices.

 

By addressing these serious issues, PUP aims to deliver a fairer and more just approach to Veterans Affairs. PUP also believes that by addressing the political, government and bureaucratic dysfunction and incompetence in Veterans Affairs, it will help lead to a decrease in the instances of self-harm and suicide for former members of the Australian Defence Forces.” said Mr Messenger.

 

PUP Veteran Affairs Policy Initiatives (for detail see attached policy doc.)

 

·      Fair indexation of Military Pensions / Superannuation and Backpay

 

·      Gold Card benefits expanded to Peace Keepers who served between 1988 to 2004 (MCRS)

 

·      Gold Card benefits automatically delivered to Veterans’ spouses after the death of their partners.

 

·      Vet Affairs Minister solely responsible for Vet. Affairs (No other ministerial portfolios)

 

·      Military and Public Service Compensation and Rehabilitation Legislative Standards Equalized 

 

·      All Injury Claims to be lodged and actioned prior to discharge.

 

·      Delays for Vet. Injury Claims Cut

 

·      Incapacity Payment Rates to remain at 100%

 

·      Fair compensation for injury by abolishing "Off Setting”

 

·      Tertiary Education Rehabilitation guaranteed to all former injured ADF members - regardless of rank.

 


Note

 

Mr. Messenger is a former member of the ADF - a RAAF Electrical Engineering Apprentice for 9 years from 1978 to 1987. He worked on Australia’s then front line fighter aircraft the Mirage - and served 2 years in Malaysia.


As a State Politician Mr Messenger advocated for many Veterans on many different issues, including the charging a Vietnam Veteran - Roger Dwyer, (pictured on the right) by the QLD Labor Government – Roger’s "crimes” was repairing a river bank with crushed rock, so that disabled Vets could access a fishing and camping retreat.

 

(see attached Youtube Film – "Battle for Camp Gregory”)


 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiCYuxBYBwU



PUP Veteran Affairs Policy


 


/resources/site1/general/Policy – Vet Affairs Palmer United Party Master 2.pdf



 

Palmer United Party – Veterans Affairs Policy – August 2013

 

Introduction

 

PUP acknowledges that the self-harm and suicide rate of our serving and former members of the Australian Defence Forces is of great concern for the military and broader community.

 

The secretive nature of Veterans Affairs and other government departments regarding rates of self-harm and suicide for the people they are tasked to care for, makes it difficult to obtain exact figures – however, anecdotal evidence obtained from prominent members of the military family, ex-service organizations, legal represenatives and workers who support and care for Diggers, suggests that there is a significant rise in the amount of former ADF members harming themselves or taking their own lives.

 

The following policy initiatives are designed to provide practical solutions to a broad range of well-known Veteran Affairs problems and injustices. By addressing these serious issues, PUP aims to deliver a fairer and more just approach to Veterans Affairs. PUP also believes that these policy initiatives will lead to a decrease in the instances of self-harm and suicide for former members of the Australian Defence Forces.

 

 

1)    Fair indexation of Military Pensions / Superannuation and Backpay

 

·       For more than 20 years, Australian veterans and ex-military personnel have fought a losing battle with all major political parties who have betrayed the defence community.

 

·       Both Labor and LNP politicians, who every ANZAC Day get teary eyed and speak about the "ultimate sacrifice” that our ADF members paid, or were prepared to pay for our freedoms – are also the same politicians who year after year, cold bloodedly and deliberately, have failed to ensure that our retired diggers and their families – were fairly remunerated.

 

·       While civilian aged pensions and politicians’ pensions were regularly increased in line with the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) – military pensions were linked to the lower socio-economic indicator, the CPI, which has in the last 20 years plummeted in comparison.

 

·       To fairly index our 54,000 retired defence force members’ pensions, (note a further 3000 are still serving in the ADF) it will cost Australia approximately $100M over 4 years. To pay back the fair indexation of pensions denied for 20 years, to our 54,000 retired ADF members will cost between $270M and $540M

 

·       So to right this injustice for our retired diggers, it will cost a maximum of $640M over 4 years. Who is going argue against the expenditure of this money when Australia spends $5.2B in foreign aid each year?

 

·       It’s time for Australian politicians live up to the ANZAC Legend – not off it

 

 

 

 

2)    Gold Card benefits expanded to Peace Keepers who served between 1988 to 2004 (MCRS)

 

·       Members of the Australian military who enlisted and served between 1988 and 2004 are not eligible for the highest level of medical cover – a Gold Card - because according to the government, they served during a time of peace and (unless they were peace keepers) never faced "the enemy”. They have only now been entitled to the "White Card”.

 

·       PUP will ensure that these military personnel and their spouses are entitled to apply and receive Gold Card Benefits, if their injuries are assessed at the equivalent of the standards that apply to the other Vet. Affairs schemes where the Gold Card is available.

 

 

3)    Gold Card benefits automatically delivered to Veterans’ spouses after the death of their partners.

 

·       The spouses of Veterans who have Gold Cards are forced into a bureaucratic battle, after the death of their partners, in order to transfer their husband/wife’s Gold Card benefits to themselves.

 

·       PUP will ensure that all Gold Card Veterans’ spouses automatically receive Gold Card medical coverage and benefits - without having to prove to the government bureaucracy that their spouse’s death was "war caused”.

 

 

4)    Vet Affairs minister solely responsible for Vet. Affairs (No other ministerial portfolios)

 

o   Veterans and their legal representatives have reported substantial evidence of dysfunction and/or incompetence by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

o   In order to provide a departmental leadership with the focus and capability to properly address the well-known deficiencies – PUP will ensure that the Department will be led by a stand alone Minister, who will ensure that there are enough frontline workers to ensure competent and timely service delivery to clients of Veterans affairs.

 

o   Note – Current Vet. Affairs Minister is also responsible for two other major ministerial portfolios i.e. Defence Science and Personnel - and Indigenous Health.

 

 

5)    Military and Public Service Compensation and Rehabilitation Legislative Standards Equalized  

 

·       The current legislation unfairly discriminates against members of the military when compared to members of the commonwealth public service.

 

·       Legislative standards governing military compensation and rehabilitation, will be no less or greater than the legislative standards governing commonwealth public servants entitlement compensation and rehabilitation.

 

·       Currently a higher standard of legislative proof applies to members of the military when compared with public service members. Members of the military have to satisfy the "Statement of Principle” legislative regime, that does not apply to commonwealth public servants.

 

·       The "balance of probability” legislative standard will be used for both military and commonwealth employees to assess legal claims.

 

Note – if the unfair "Statement of Principle” regimes remains, then the Vet. who substantially complies with the factors linking their injury to their service will have their claim accepted

 

 

 

a)    All outstanding illness and injury claims must be actioned and finalized by DVA prior to an ADF members discharge.

 

·       All outstanding MSBS and MRCA claims must be actioned by DVA and decisions on compensation and rehabilitation to be finalized before discharge. Currently there are many examples where injured ADF members are discharged without knowing if and when medical treatment and compensation payments will be delivered in a timely manner.

 

·       This causes Veterans to seek payments from Centrelink and places them under extreme financial hardship and leaves them without any government funded medical treatment.

 

b) Delays in processing Veterans’ injury Claims eliminated.

 

·       Time limits, similar to other commonwealth compensation schemes, will be imposed by legislation on the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Currently there are no time limits for processing claims. This leaves families and Veterans waiting for many months for a decision to be made.

 

c) Incapacity Payment Rates to remain at 100%

 

·       Currently incapacity rates for injured diggers are automatically reduced to 75% after 45 weeks. There is no reason why injured members of the military cannot be maintained at 100% by using their commonwealth superannuation pension. (MSBS – Military Superannuation Benefit Scheme)

 

d) Fair compensation for injury by abolishing "Off Setting”

 

·       Commonwealth Public Servants compared with ADF members receive fairer compensation for injuries because they are not subject to "Off Setting” their payments.

 

·       "Off Setting”- has been described by legal experts as, "odious and complex”. It allows DVA injury assessors to ignore the sum total of officially diagnosed single injuries and place a fixed limit on dual or multiple compensation entitlements.

 

·       The compensation limit is always less than the combined total of the individual injuries e.g. two injuries each of 10% incapacity - will often result in the ADF member only receiving a partial permanent impairment compensation payment equal to 10% - rather than the full 20% permanent impairment compensation payment.

 

·       Note – Under the current scheme once a Veteran receives the maximum payable sum for one injury i.e. Blindness. The same Veteran cannot receive an additional lump sum for subsequent injuries such as PTSD. This is in stark contrast to Commonwealth public servants who receive a separate payment for each injury sustained while working for the government.

 

e) Tertiary Education Rehabilitation guaranteed to all former injured ADF    

members - regardless of rank.

 

·       There are many examples of "Tertiary Education Rehabilitation” being denied to injured veterans because they were not "high enough rank” on medical discharge. 

 

·       Every injured ADF member with an accepted compensation claim, regardless of rank, will be given the opportunity to undertake tertiary education while receiving incapacity payments.

 



Media Release

 

Palmer United Party Offers $640M Veterans Affairs Deal

 

A Palmer United Party government will deliver a $640 million deal to improve conditions and address injustices facing former defence force members and their families, federal leader Clive Palmer announced today.

 

Mr Palmer said the Palmer United Party was committed to a fairer and more just approach to Veterans Affairs after more than two decades of neglect from both Labor and the Coalition.

 

"For than 20 years Australian veterans, ex-military personnel and their families have been betrayed by the major political parties in their fight to be fairly remunerated,” he said.

 

Mr Palmer said while civilian aged pensions and politicians’ pensions have been regularly increased in line with the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE), military pensions have been linked to the CPI.

 

"The CPI is by far the lower socio-economic indicator and in the last 20 years it has plummeted in comparison with MTAWE,” he said.

 

"This has resulted in an injustice for the approximately 319,000 veterans and their families who have struggled under an inferior pension system.”

Mr Palmer said the Palmer United Party would introduce a fairer indexation of military pensions and superannuation as well as provide back pay.

 

He said Palmer United Party would ensure the Gold Card benefit scheme was expanded to peacekeepers who enlisted and served between 1988 and 2004.

 

"The Palmer United Party will also ensure all Gold Card Veterans’ spouses automatically receive Gold Card medical coverage without having to prove their spouse’s death was ‘war caused’,” Mr Palmer said.

 

Mr Palmer said under a Palmer United Party government the Department of Veterans Affair would be led by a standalone minister.

 

"The Veteran Affairs’ Minister in the Rudd government is also responsible for major portfolios such as Defence Science and Personnel and Indigenous Health,” he said.

 

"Having a standalone minister will provide the department with leadership to improve its focus and capability to properly address a number of deficiencies.”
ENDS

 

For further information Andrew Crook 0419 788 431

 


 

 



 


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