Opinion – SUPER WAR HEATING UP

There are many issues that have the wider defence community considering how they might vote in the coming federal election.
High on the list is military superannuation, particularly those who were compulsorily subscribed to what ultimately became the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme (DFRDB).

Disgruntled veterans are not stupid, so by comparing multiple responses know their grievances are not being reasonably considered, despite carefully crafted submissions based on new compelling evidence.
They may not riot, but have pencils and will vote.

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Aged care inquiry to hear war widows overcharged for nursing home fees

Royal commission into aged care quality and safety. War Widows Guild says compensation payment pension should not be treated as assessable income.

War widows could be spending tens of thousands of dollars more in nursing home fees compared with veterans because of bureaucratic red tape that treats their pensions differently in income tests.

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 The War Widows Guild national president, Meg Green, intends to   raise the discrepancy in a submission to the royal commission into   the aged-care sector.

 Scott Morrison established the commission last year in response to   cases of neglect, abuse and negligence in nursing homes across   the country.

Green said a war widow’s compensation payment pension was treated as assessable income for the purposes of accessing aged care or home care services. But a veteran’s totally and permanently incapacitated pension was exempt.

“This means a war widow, on less income but the same assets as a veteran, may need to pay in excess of $500 more per fortnight in an aged-care facility,” Green said.

That means an extra $13,000 a year, or $65,000 if a war widow is in a nursing home for five years.

Green’s own mother, Paullette Gardiner, 95, is a war widow in a nursing home on the New South Wales central coast and pays $1,500 a fortnight in means-tested daily care fees.

Her late husband, Ronald, served in the air force in the Middle East in the second world war. Gardiner also served in the air force as a morse code telegraphist based in Australia.

“Had her war widows compensation payment not been calculated, she would have been paying less,” Green said.

She said it did not appear equitable or logical that the veteran’s compensation for his injury or loss was exempt and the widow’s compensation for her loss was not.

“You could argue [war widows] have suffered just as much because obviously veterans are affected by their war service and you have to deal with that as the wife … and put up with those effects,” she said. “They have done their duty to this nation as well.”

Some veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder after military service, which can lead to alcoholism and domestic violence.

Green has already brought the fee discrepancy issue to the attention of a separate Productivity Commission inquiry and the veterans’ affairs minister.

The guild and its state branches have 8,000 war widow members and Green estimates there are 59,000 war widows in Australia across all age groups.

Veterans accuse Federal Government of ‘ripping off’ thousands from retirement benefits

A Federal Coalition backbencher is lobbying the Government to investigate how much money he believes it owes some older Australian military veterans.

Veterans, including some who served in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam, signed up for compulsory superannuation called the Defence Force Retirement Benefits (DFRDB) scheme between 1948 and 1972.

Upon retirement, those who served more than 20 years could take a commutation, or advance payment, of part of their pension and repay the money with fortnightly deductions based on their life expectancy or actuarial age.

The veterans believed that once they reached age 72, for example, they would have repaid all money owed and their pension payments would immediately return to the full amount.

However they have continued to receive the reduced pension, which has been a bone of contention for them ever since.

A ‘disgusting and abhorrent’ situation

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Federal Member for the Queensland electorate of Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien, recently wrote a strongly worded letter to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs to address the issue.

Mr O’Brien described the situation as “disgusting and abhorrent”. He said he believes the Australian Government will “continue to profit significantly from the underpayments and must make restitution”.

Mr O’Brien did not hide his distaste for the response from the Minister and decided to go public.

“I’ve asked the Minister to do costings on how we can remedy this, what the cost to Government would be to right what is a fundamental wrong, and what the evidence that I’ve seen tells me is an un-Australian type of an act,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said the Minister had so far dismissed all his approaches.

Mr Chester’s office has not responded to interview requests from the ABC about this story.

‘The Government owes me’: veteran

Lieutenant Colonel Smith elected to “commute” $10,000 of his superannuation so he could buy a house.

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He understood his pension would be reduced as he paid back the money but believed once he reached 72 and the “advance” was repaid his fortnightly income would return to the full amount without any deductions.

More than a decade later and the now ages almost 86 he continues to receive the reduced pension because it did not return to the higher amount.

“For 14 years I have been living without that money, so the Government owes me in round figures around $5,000,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.

“We paid back a loan and we should have reverted to the original amount and there’s no argument about it.

“I expect the original superannuation payments to revert to their full amount and further that when I die, if I die before my wife, that my widow will get her percentage of my superannuation to which she’s entitled until she dies.”

Read the full ABC article here

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.

 

Federal Labor’s Commitment to Defence Personnel and Veterans

A Shorten Labor Government is committed to ensuring ADF personnel, veterans and their families are supported both during and after their service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello

Over the past two years as Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel I have announced a number of policies which Federal Labor will implement if elected.

At a recent roundtable in Brisbane, a member of the ex-serving community asked for a summary document which detailed all of our achievements to date.To this end, I have developed the below document and encourage you to share this amongst your networks.

While this is a list of the policies we have announced to date, this is not an exhaustive list of the work we have done or the only policies we will take to the next election. It will be updated as new policies are announced.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you require any assistance.

Yours sincerely

Amanda Rishworth MP
Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel

Federal Labor’s Commitment to Defence Personnel and Veterans

A Shorten Labor Government is committed to ensuring ADF personnel, veterans and their families are supported both during and after their service.

Labor has taken a number of steps while in Opposition to support veterans and ex-service personnel including establishing a Senate Inquiry into the use of anti-malarials in the ADF and backing in calls of the ex-serving community to include the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation in the Banking Royal Commission.

In addition, we have developed and announced a number of policies which we would implement if elected.

While this is a list of the policies we have announced to date, this is not an exhaustive list of the work we have done or the only policies we will take to the next election. It will be updated as new policies are announced.

Committed to signing Australia’s first Military Covenant

A Shorten Labor Government will establish a Military Covenant which will stand as a testament to our ongoing commitment to those who are or have served our country.

This solemn promise will be signed by the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Defence Force which acknowledges the unique nature of military service. Importantly, it will be accompanied by legislation which requires Government to report regularly on how they are best meeting their responsibilities to ADF personnel and the ex-serving community. Further information can be found here.

Committed $121 million to a comprehensive Veterans’ Employment Program

A Shorten Labor Government has committed $121 million over four years to address veterans’ unemployment.

Labor’s comprehensive veterans’ employment policy has four main elements which are designed to assist veterans into meaningful employment post their time in the ADF.
Helping businesses to train veterans
By providing grants of up to $5,000 per veteran for job specific training and conducting a national education campaign on benefits of hiring a veteran
A new veterans’ employment service
The service will provide comprehensive, wrap around support for up to five years
Expanded access to additional education and civilian training
By altering the eligibility requirements and funding amounts available through the Career Training Assistance Scheme funding

Translating the experience of veterans
Will work with States and Territories, Universities and industry bodies for greater automatic recognition of skills

Our comprehensive employment will best prepare those leaving the ADF to move into meaningful employment and enable businesses to take advantage of the many skills of an ex-ADF member. Further information can be found here.

Will develop a Family Engagement and Support Strategy

A Shorten Labor Government will give families a seat at the table and a voice when it comes to the services available to them.

As recommended by the National Mental Health Commission, Labor will develop a national family engagement and support strategy which will provide a national blueprint to include engagement of DVA with military families. It will also ensure the best practice support for families of serving personnel and ex-ADF members is consistently available across the country.

Importantly, it will address the lack of engagement with families and acknowledgement of the critical role they play. Further information can be found here.

Will establish the Western Front Fellowship

A Shorten Labor Government will establish the Western Front Fellowship located at the Sir John Monash Centre in Villers-Bretonneux.

The fellowship Program will offer eligible post-secondary students a four-month placement at the new Sir John Monash Centre, representing some of Australia’s most-important history to visitors.

Fellows in the program will work full-time, and will be supported financially through a stipend wage, receive rent assistance and be partially reimbursed for their flights.

They will have the opportunity to develop and refine their expertise in Australian military history, responsible for taking tours, giving presentations, and answering questions about Australia’s military history around the Western Front. Further information can be found here.

Established the Senate Inquiry into the use of anti-malarials in the ADF

In response to the continued concerns of members of the ex-serving community, Labor established a Senate Inquiry into the use of anti-malarials in the ADF, which is currently taking evidence and due to report back at the end of November.

Labor called for the inquiry as we believed it was important to work through this issue in an open and transparent manner and provide a thorough and comprehensive report about the use of Quinoline anti-malarial drugs in the ADF. Further information can be found here.

Called for the inclusion of Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation in the Banking Royal Commission

Labor has backed in the calls of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations and the National Returned and Services League of Australia for the Royal Commission into the misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry to include the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.

As it stands, the CSC has been excluded from the Terms of Reference preventing current ADF members, veterans and public servants from having confidence in their superannuation fund.

Labor continues to call on the Federal Government to include CSC in the Terms of Reference. Further information can be found here.

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Banking Royal Commission: Superannuation hearings go from the dispiriting to the galling

Read the Analysis by ABC News business reporter Daniel Ziffer and his interview with Bradley Campbell – ‘No-one wants to investigate themselves’

The cliche of “barely scratching the surface” doesn’t even fit with summarising the super hearings at #BankingRC. One of Australia’s largest funds was specifically excluded.

Army veteran Bradley Campbell is one of 700,000 members who belong to the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation. After his experience, having to take them to Federal Court to get a ruling on his entitlements, he is astonished it has been given a free pass from examination.
“So 10 per cent of the population no longer have that right as every other Australian, to know that their superannuation is being managed in accordance with the law and in a manner that exceeds or is at a level that the public expects?” he asked.

Mr Campbell met Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and asked him, in person, why the royal commission’s terms of reference specifically exclude the corporation.

Treasurer Scott Morrison responded for Mr Turnbull. In a letter, he told Mr Campbell “it is a statutory government agency operating under higher standards”.

The veteran, and other public servants unhappy with the fund, continue to agitate for it to be examined at the royal commission.

“I’ll be bold enough to say it’s a government entity — it’s like the fox investigating the henhouse massacre!” he said. “No-one wants to investigate themselves.”

Related Articles

DFWA/ADSO  Continues to Call on the Government to include CSC into the Royal Commission.

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

 

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

 

VIDEO – #Vetrans Clawback – CSC & The Banking Royal Commission

 

The only significant Superannuation Organisation NOT included in the Australian Banking Royal Commission is the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation. The CSC. It manages our Military Super.

The Defence Community has been pleading for the Turnbull Govt to give them a Fair Go – just like all other Australians – and have their super fund scrutinised like the all others.

The Labor Opposition supports the call for a Fair Go.

The Govt has dug in and says the CSC is “well regulated and scrutinised.” That’s what they said about the banks!

With elections looming the Defence Community wishes to see who is going to fight for us.
Please call your local Federal MP and ask for their support and participate in our ADSO actions.

CSC and the Royal Commission – Summary & Actions

Summary Update

 “Why is the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation excluded from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry?

The Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) administers military and other superannuation public service funds for over 700,000 people of which 230,000 are serving and former servicemen and women.

The Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference say: “All Australians have the right to be treated honestly and fairly in their dealings with…. superannuation…. providers.”

Why is our superannuation provider excluded from Royal Commission scrutiny?

Why deny us an equal voice in making submissions to the Royal Commission?

The following representations have been made to PM and the Government  since the announcement of the Royal Commission:

13 December 2017: Media Release – Calls to clarify the Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission into Banking and Superannuation.

18 January 2018joint Media Release with RSL re Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

7 June 2018 at the Longman Electorate Forum a younger veteran asked the PM the Why question. The PM answered “I don’t know but I;ll find out and get back to you”

15 June 2018 An Open Letter sent to the PM and all Federal Parliamentarians, the Defence Family network and national media outlets and social media.

More recently representations to the PM by both the  Australian Public Services – Superannuated Commissioned Officers Association (SCOA) and the Australian Council  of Public Sector Retiree Organisations  (ACPSRO) have made the same requests for CSC’s inclusion in the Royal Commission

The ALP supports the inclusion of the CSC into  the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference

To date the Government and PM have not formally responded to our representations

Actions

Veteran Clawback – CSC & The Banking Royal Commission

CSC Campaign: Veteran Protest Rally – 28 June 2018

As part of our campaign to seek inclusion of the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) in the Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Finance Services Industry, a Dignified Veteran Protest Rally will be staged when the Royal Commission convenes in Brisbane on 28 June.

Our aim is to draw media and public attention to our cause and have the Veteran Voice be heard at the Royal Commission.

READ THE DETAILS HERE

 CSC Flyer