DFRDB e-Petition to the Government – Commutation Anomaly

This petition goes directly to the Parliament.  All servicemen,servicewomen, their spouses widows/widowers, who contributed to the DFRDB scheme are affected by this anomaly, Even our partners will be paying this impost until they die if we predecease them.

 This  is an opportunity for you and your partner to have your say and help correct this anomaly. And if it doesn’t affect you then please help those who are affected by signing the petition

PLEASE SIGN & VERIFY THE PETITION NOW  

THE PETITION
Defence Veterans of Australia, as Commutation recipients of the DFRDB Scheme administered by Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, petition the House of Representatives to  instate the National Life Expectancy data  point of each affected veteran as the point where full reinstatement of their Commutation obligation is fulfilled: and, to reimburse to each DFRDB veteran, all over-subscribed payments forfeited by direct debit by them, once their original lump sum was repaid in full.

The DFRDB Authority failed to disclose to veterans the whole-of-life impost of a Lump Sum Commutation   on superannuation payments reduced by a factor, based on redundant Notional Life Expectancy  data and an individual’s Service data. Limited disclosure of the whole-of-life deductions was made by DFRDB,  37 years after the Scheme was launched, but never to members so affected.
Direct debit by DFRDB has been incremented and escalated over time, to a level where the original lump sum has been reimbursed multiple times. This effectively means that veterans are subsidising their own benefits.
There was no definition of the term ‘commutation’ within the legislation or in any document provided by DFRDB to superannuants, until its disclosure advised above. The direct debits were shown in the legislation and the DFRDB’s Administrative Manual to be a finite amount, not an escalating continuum .
On advice from DFRDB Administration all superannuants understood Commutation as an advance of Benefits to be reimbursed to DFRDB by fortnightly debits over a finite period and at a finite rate. How deluded Veterans were through DFRDB’s failure to disclose their interpretation of the Legislation, before the fact, thereby committing Veterans to an ever increasing, spiraling, life-term DEBT-SENTENCE.

 

Chaplain Gary Stone Speaks out on Recognition of RCB Service 1970-1989

As a veteran of almost 48 yrs military service, the last 24 of which I served as a Chaplain , I must raise my grave concerns about the morality of the treatment of our veterans by ADF and Government officials in their continuing rejection of the substantive evidence being presented by the RCB Review Group in their case for recognition of warlike service.

In my 4 years of training at RMC Duntroon, I was grounded in the need in public service, for uncompromising integrity, and the reality that sometimes oversights and mistakes are made because of inadequate or insufficient information, and the need for these to be corrected. There are plenty of precedents of recognition being granted belatedly, and the previously Secret evidence now available in relation to RCB, should provide scope for this case to be considered anew.

But it is not.
As this case goes on, what seems clear is that advisors and public servants are deliberately ignoring evidence and giving bad advice and recommendations to senior ADF officers and Ministers.
Some might construe this as a cover up of earlier mistakes. Nevertheless, we are now at a point where litigation may be required to correct the injustices felt by the members who served at RCB.
At the very least, a group of more than 10,000 veterans is experiencing unnecessary stress and dismay at the unjust way in which they are being treated.
Australians rightly expect to be given a fair go and fair hearing, and these veterans will not stop in their pleading until justice is granted them.
They have now seen The Defence Committee Minutes of 11 Jan 1973, and other official documents confirming irrefutably that this was an operational deployment to protect RAAF personnel and assets at Air Base Butterworth when a war was being fought from this base against communist insurgents.

We did no training with the Malaysians. We were totally focussed on defence of the airbase, and reacting to any communist incursions.
But of course the veterans already knew this, from briefings on the Air Base and from being “Warned for Active Service” before they deployed. Many were Vietnam or Borneo Veterans who have given testimony that their service in Butterworth met the requirements that saw them given Active Service recognition in earlier conflicts.

Others like me, an Infantry Platoon Commander at Butterworth in 1974-75 went on to serve in other conflicts ( in my case 6 other operational theatres) and subsequently got recognition for warlike service for similar service as at Butterworth.

But this case should stand or fall on evidence, rather than subjective opinions and the full evidence now needs to be considered, and the mistakes of the past need to be corrected.

What was a simple nature of service claim has now become also a case for ethical conduct or misconduct, which will have wider ramifications for Government and officials than recognising the faithful service of some patriotic veterans.
I would hope that those desiring an ethical consideration of this case will now act appropriately .
Yours Sincerely

Gary Stone
President Veterans Care Association

Anning Continues to Fight for Veterans Covenant

During Question Time today, outspoken KAP Senator for Queensland Fraser Sen AnningAnning kept the pressure on the Government ensuring they legislated an Australian Military Covenant. Speaking afterwards, Senator Anning expressed his frustration at the apparently vague and evasive responses by the Minister.
“After my motion yesterday which called for the legislation of an Australian Military Covenant was passed by the Senate, I continued my push today by questioning Minister Payne on the Governments apparent lethargy.”
“I asked what the Government’s position was on the establishment of the Covenant; however despite the Minister making all the right noises, there was no specific commitment and only a vague reference to the end of 2018.”
“To say the least I am sceptical of her actual commitment, as the Government has had since 2015 to implement anything meaningful and so far they haven’t.”
“If we look at the situation honestly there has been ample time to consult with veterans groups and develop a Covenant which honours our social contract and moral obligation to look after our veterans.”
“It is only now after my strong and continued push along with Labors election promise that the Government is willing to do something.”
“Let’s be clear, there is no further requirement for more “consultation” or the establishment of yet another “working group.” The wording of a draft Australian Military Covenant has been provided already by the veteran’s community.”
“My supplementary question put to the Minister also asked if she was prepared to recognise a reversal of the onus of proof in veteran’s disability claims.”
“The response was not very hopeful.”
“It is very clear that the onus should be reversed and at the very least be the same level of willingness to compensate veterans as Centrelink provides to those seeking welfare,” Senator Anning said.
“As I have said before, our great nation has been built on the backs and sacrifice of our military. Now is the time to stop equivocating, dithering and playing political games. It is now the time for the government to act.”
”What the veteran community deserves is a specific commitment stating when the Government will enshrine the Australian Military Covenant in legislation. Until then, they are just honeyed words and insincere placation,” Senator Anning concluded.
14 September 2018

Katters Australian Party

RARA Comment 

We acknowledge and appreciate Senator Anning’s and  the KAP’s advocacy on veterans’ issues in the Senate.

 

Senator Anning Takes Lead on Adopting the Military Covenant

Today in the Senate, outspoken KAP senator Fraser Anning moved a motion for the establishment and implementation of an Australian Military Covenant.
In essence it is a reciprocal social contract between the nation and those willing to sacrifice rights, liberty and their life to defend that nation. It is a declaration and commitment from the nation to accept responsibility for veterans’ wellbeing after their service is complete.
Speaking after the conclusion of the vote, Senator Anning expressed his delight that his motion passed.
“It is great to see various policy announcements by the major parties however this issue is too important to remain just a policy or election promise.”
“We need multipartisan support from all sides of the political spectrum to ensure that policy announcements and backbench murmurings are turned into action.” Senator Anning said.
“My motion calls on the government to consult with the veteran community then enshrine in legislation an Australian Military Covenant.”
“We have an absolute responsibility as a nation to ensure that our veterans are not abandoned after the completion of their service.” Senator Anning continued.
It is only just that those who risk life and limb to allow us to sleep safe in our beds are looked after by us after their service and not abandoned to fall victim to their wounds, whether physical or psychological.”
“Our great nation has been built on the backs and sacrifice of our military, now is the time to stop dithering and playing political games. It is now the time for the government to act.” Senator Anning concluded.

12 September 2018
Senator Fraser Anning
Senator for Queensland

DFWA/ADSO Continues to call on the Government to include CSC into the Royal Commission INTO THE ROYAL COMMISSION INTO BANKING AND SUPERANNUATION

In a Media Statement released today (16th August 2018)  DFWA’s National President  Kel Ryan continues DFWA’s and ADSO’s call on the Turnbull Government to include CSC into the Royal Commission.

 

 

 

 

 

“The Government cannot hide for much longer.

The Senate has agreed a Motion that the Hayne Royal Commission be extended to include the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.

In a wide-ranging Motion Senator Anning (Queensland) identified that 6,800 submissions had been received but that the resources made available to the Commissioner does not allow them justice let alone a hearing. Commissioner Haynes simply does not have the resources or the personnel to ensure fairness and a hearing to those thousands of individuals who have been confronted by the tragedy being identified.

The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse was extended to five years, had seven commissioners and heard from thousands of aggrieved individuals.

Prime Minister Turnbull needs to answer a simple question but is unable to or afraid to.

Why is the Government unwilling to extend the Royal Commission to include the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation and give justice to those veterans who tragic stories need to be told?

Why?”

Help us in the Case Supporting the CSC Campaign

We believe the The Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation’s (CSC) exclusion from the Royal Commission is wrong and want the Government to reverse its decision.

The CSC  is the Trustee for both our ADF Military Superannuation Schemes (230,000 clients) and the Australian Public Service Schemes (470,000)

 

 

We believe this is wrong and have lobbied the Government for the CSC’s inclusion HERE   The ALP supports our request

It is important to note that members of the ADF cannot elect to have their
superannuation contributions made to a fund of their choice, nor can they transfer
their employer contributions to another superannuation fund. This means that current and former ADF personnel do not have the freedom to move their superannuation to another fund should they be dissatisfied with the Trustee’s conduct.

In recent years, several issues have arisen with respect to the way the  CSC administers the ADF Schemes. Specifically, these issues relate to members who are in receipt of invalidity payments (Veteran Beneficiaries):
    1. the CSC’s inability to administer the ADF Schemes in accordance with  their respective Trust Deeds and governing legislation;
    2. the lack of regulatory review of the CSC’s conduct to ensure that it is meeting its obligations under its Trust Deeds;
    3. the CSC’s persistent failure to conduct itself honestly, fairly and transparently in its dealings with its members/beneficiaries and in accordance with Modal Litigant Rules; and
    4. the CSC’s inability to resolve issues and complaints made by its members in accordance with natural justice principles.

READ THE CASE FOR  CSC INCLUSION

In this document, are specific examples of the CSC’s conduct which has
fallen short of the professional standards and benchmarks of conduct expected not only by a financial services provider, but more importantly, as a Commonwealth Government entity.

We believe that the CSC should receive the same level of scrutiny as any other
financial services entity included in the Royal Commission and by excluding it the
Royal Commission would fail in upholding the fundamental right of all Australians
“to be treated honestly and fairly in their dealings with banking superannuation and financial services providers. The highest standards of conduct are critical to the good governance and corporate culture of those providers.”

You can help us in two immediate ways:

Ring your local MP and register your concern, and

If you have had any adverse experiences in dealings with the CSC then please contact Brad Campbell or email ADSO at [email protected] with details

 

For the U.S., a frustrating history of recovering human remains in North Korea

At their historic summit last month, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed to recovering more American remains, including the “immediate repatriation of those already identified.” Their statement raised hopes that as many as 200 sets believed to be ready for transfer could be collected in coming days and possibly more in the near future.

But the up-and-down nature of past efforts suggests the process could be fraught with pitfalls, including a mixed record of cooperation from the North Koreans. Any successful repatriation also will face the laborious identification process that has dragged on for years with the remains already in U.S. possession.

READ MORE from this Washington Post article

Australian MIA

The Australian Government’s unrecovered Korean War casualities – The Koreran War Project is closely associated with the United States’ Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency(DPAA) and the South Korean Ministry of National Defence Agency for Missing in Action Recovery and Identification (MAKRI).

The Korean War Missing in Action Working Group was established in December 2015 through the advocacy of Ian Saunders the son of the missing Pte :John Saunders supported by the veterans’ associations (Korean Veterans Association, RAR Association, Air Force Associations, the Naval Association of Australia) and the MIA families. It is active in seeking progress towards the identification of remains still unidentified and held by the DPAA,. You can follow their minuted progress here.

Enquiries are welcome, you can contact the Korean War Project team via telephone 1800 019 090 or email [email protected] .

Veterans’ Advocacy and Support Services Study – Brisbane & Townsville Consultations

Members of the veteran, ex-service and Defence communities

I am seeking your input to the Veterans’ Advocacy and Support Services Study at face-to-face meetings in:

 Brisbane on Monday 16 July and Tuesday 17 July, and

 Townsville on Tuesday 7 August and Wednesday 8 August.

I would like to hear from:

  • ex-service organisations
  • advocates and pension and welfare officers
  • clients of advocates and pension and welfare officers
  • clients of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and
  • anyone who has an interest in veterans’ issues.

To book a meeting please go to the website: www.dva.gov.au/advocacystudy

If you have any difficulties booking a meeting or have a question, please send an email to [email protected]

If you cannot attend a meeting, I would welcome receiving your views and ideas in a submission. See the website for more information: www.dva.gov.au/advocacystudy

Kind regards

Robert Cornall AO
Study Lead

is an independent study investigating how veterans and their families are assisted to access entitlements and services.

CSC and the Royal Commission – Protest Rally

Our planned protest rally yesterday 28th June in Brisbane was successful in achieving our goals: to publicly promote the matters by our presence outside the entrance to the Royal Commission Hearings, to gain media attention and to deliver a letter to the Royal Commissioner The Hon K. M. Hayne AM.

We had a good turnout of supporters both younger and older veterans and some with their wives. Present were Brad Campbell and members of Australian Veterans Alliance who run the Veteran Clawback group, John Lowis from DFWA, Ted Chitham from ADSO, Robert Cross, Rod Slater and Gary McMahon from the RAR Association and others with an assistance dog to hold the placards, handout fllyers and information sheets and answer questions from the public

 

(some of the “Protest Team” – Rod Slater was the photographer.)

It was good to see the effect of collaboration between the different ESO’s.

We were pleased to be allowed by the Royal Commissioner to hand deliver a personal request letter addressed to him through a Royal Commission staff person. The letter endorsed by ADSO, the RSL, and the Australian Public Sevice superannuation association/organisations – The Superannuated Commissioned Officers Association (SCOA) and the Australian Council of Public Sector Retiree Organisations (ACPSRO), urged the Commissioner to remedy the exclusion of the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation from the Royal Commissions Terms of Reference by a recommendation to the Federal Government. Ted Chitham, Brad Campbell and John Lowis were able to brief the staffer on the reasons for our request.  We are hopeful that the Commissioner will support our request.

Brad and Ted were interviewed by both TV Channels 7 and 10 and the ABC said they would do a phone interview with Brad next week from the Royal Commission when they cover Superannuation in Darwin. There is No guarantee of being aired, but we can only hope.

A big thank you to John Lowis for organising the event and a huge thank you to those that turned up. Awesome effort by all.

Stand ready for further action

 

CSC Campaign / Royal Commission – Facts Sheets

 

FACT SHEET ONE – OVERVIEW
COMMONWEALTH SUPERANNUATION CORPORATION ESCAPES ROYAL COMMISSION SCRUTINY

The Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) is the fund manager for the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) scheme, the Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme (MSBS) and ADF Super.

The Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission into Financial Services specifically exclude only ONE financial organisation from scrutiny – CSC.

It is reasonable to ask why the Government doesn’t want CSC Executives to be held accountable before the Royal Commission in the same way as other financial organisation executives. What is the Government trying to keep hidden from the Australian people?

This Fact Sheet helps to answer that question.

 

FACT SHEET TWO – REBUTTAL
COMMONWEALTH SUPERANNUATION CORPORATION ESCAPES ROYAL COMMISSION SCRUTINY

REBUTTAL OF GOVERNMENT EXCUSES

The Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry specifically protected ONLY ONE financial organisation, the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), from the scrutiny of Royal Commission investigators.

The CSC manages the superannuation funds of military veterans, among others, and ADSO and RSL have called on the Government to include CSC in Terms of Reference for the Inquiry. The Government refused and offered reasons for its refusal that border on the disingenuous.

This Fact Sheet rebuts the Government arguments for CSC exclusion from Royal Commission scrutiny.