Media Statement – ADSO Policy Objectives 2019-2022

The Alliance of Defence Service Organisation (ADSO) welcomes the opportunity to announce its core Policy Objectives as a timely reminder to those seeking election to the 46th Parliament of Australia that the veterans’ community, speaking largely with a single voice, continues to seek redress of a series of key grievances, many of which have been outstanding for far too long.

Some issues have been the subjects of unfulfilled promises, not the least of which includes the inability to provide Australia’s most disabled Veterans and their families with an adequate standard of living.

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In commenting on the Objectives and encouraging all sides of politics to find legislative ways to redress each issue in turn, ADSO’s National Spokesman, Kel Ryan, wished to acknowledge that the Government, with the Opposition’s support, had taken action on a long-held key Objective, namely to legislate an Australian Military (Veterans) Covenant that gives formal recognition to the Unique Nature of Military Service. The Covenant has passed in the House of Representatives. Senators in the next parliament will have the honour of debating the important Bill and giving effect to it in law.

ADSO also wishes to support the outstanding initiatives that established ‘The Oasis Townsville’, a long-held aspiration of the Townsville ESO Community to have a single hub to which all veterans and their families could go, to be then referred out to the services available from the other ESOs in the area. The ‘Oasis’ is a model concept that could in whole, or in part, be replicated in other parts of Australia. ADSO wishes to congratulate all involved.
The Oasis is reflective of the collaboration that is possible between Ex-Service Organisations to help each other to achieve outcomes for a common cause; to have a shared focus on supporting serving and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force; to make the lives of these men, women and their families better, healthier, happier and more rewarding.
16th April 2019

ADSO comprises:
The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), Naval Association of Australia (NAA), RAAF Association (RAAFA), Royal Australian Regiment Corporation (RARC), Australian Special Air Service Association (ASASA), the Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Service Men and Women (TPI Fed), the Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia (FAAAA), Partners of Veterans Association of Australia (PVA), Royal Australian Armoured Corps Corporation (RAACC), the National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association Australia (NMBVAA), Defence Reserves Association (DRA), Australian Gulf War Veterans Association, Australian Commando Association (ACA), the War Widows Guild of Australia (WWG), Military Police Association Australia (MPAA), the Australian Army Apprentices Association (AAAA), the Women Veterans Network Australia (WVNA) and the Combat Support Association (CSA).

Military death logos and symbols get the chop

Gun-toting grim reapers and cartoon phantoms are among more than 20 images the military has scrapped under its new ban on soldiers’ use of death-style logos.

Examples of the banned imagery that had been used by sub-units on items such as patches and T-shirts was revealed in an answer to questions on notice from a Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Senate Standing Committee hearing.

The questions were on which logos were banned, what had been used to replace them, how much was the cost of replacement and which units had been affected.

Defence said no unit logos, emblems or badges had been removed but that some imagery associated with sub-units had been scrapped.

Defence provided examples of logos that had been scrapped but declined to provide the full list. Among the examples that also appeared to fall under the ban was some memorabilia in the form of a Spartan helmet and a shield.

Defence declined to provide a detailed costing of any buyback of stock featuring the banned ­imagery, but it did reveal that in one case, $2490 of non-public moneys derived from unit canteen sales was allocated to Delta Company of 4/3 Royal NSW Regiment’s soldiers club to help them with a new sub-unit logo.

The most common imagery scrapped appeared to be the grim reaper and Spartan-style logos. Among those affected were a sub-unit of 1st Brigade, which lost its gun-toting, grinning black reaper on a red background.

One sub-unit from 3rd Brigade had to replace its armed phantom cartoon character. A grim reaper from 3 Squadron, 2 Cavalry was also canned.

A sub-unit of the army’s 6th Brigade was forced to remove an armed phantom and concerns appear to have been raised about a gold Spartan helmet that looked to be part of unit memorabilia.

Soldiers from 7th brigade had to remove a skull imposed over crossed rifles; a mortar platoon scrapped a ram’s skull with the caption “Death Down Range” and 5 Aviation Regiment lost a skull wearing a bandana imposed over a hammer and spanner.

A 6th Aviation regiment sub-unit lost a Viking image with the caption Berserkers and one from HQ 2nd Division had spartan imagery featuring a spartan helmet removed.

The Royal Military College Australia’s army recruit training centre had a masked Phantom head dropped. The Combined Arms Training Centre lost its “grim reaper rising from a World War I tank” and a punisher badge showing a skull.

Questions about the unit logs had been asked by Liberal senator James McGrath and independent senator Fraser Anning at the hearing in February.

The ban had been introduced in April last year by then chief of army, now Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Angus Campbell. General Campbell, in ordering the ban, said that such symbols were at odds with army values. “Such symbology is never presented as ill-intentioned and plays to much of modern culture,’’ he said. “But it is always ill-considered and implicitly encourages the inculcation of a hubris and general disregard for the most serious responsibility of our profession, the legitimate and discriminate taking of life.”

Officers were ordered to take immediate action to remove symbols within their command.

Medal of Gallantry recipient Justin Huggett, a former soldier, panned the decision in a social media post directed at General Campbell.

In the post Mr Huggett, decorated for action against the Taliban in Afghanistan, said the decision denigrated the morale of the enlisted and combat power.

RORY CALLINAN The Australian APRIL 3, 2019

COMMENTS

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Opinion – RCB Commutation Stop the veterans’ pension rip-off

“Veterans who have suffered years of underpayment from their Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme (DFRDB) deserve much better. Many have put their lives on the line in times of conflict, but while the government glorifies troops as it sends them to war, it too often treats veterans of those wars with contempt in the bureaucratic way it deals with their financial and medical needs.

The Citizens Electoral Council made this clear in its Australian Alert Service magazine on 27 February. So far both the Coalition government and Labor have dismissed the veterans’ genuine grievances—but now, under pressure, on 25 March the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester announced the government will commission an independent inquiry into the DFRDB.

A previous compulsory superannuation scheme, the Defence Force Retirement Benefits Scheme (DFRB) operated between 1948 and 1972 and had an option to take a commutation (an early lump sum) after 20 years of service. Veterans who chose this option accepted a reduced pension to repay the value of the commutation, with the repayment amount based on their life expectancy or actuarial age. For instance, if their life expectancy was 30 more years, their annual pension was reduced by the amount of their lump sum divided by 30 years. But many veterans are living well past that actuarial age and are still receiving the reduced pension, even though in many cases the original lump sum has been reimbursed multiple times. Additionally, the Notional Life Expectancy tables used to calculate the reduced pension were based on outdated 1962 figures. In effect they’re penalised for reaching a ripe old age. It just doesn’t pass the pub test!

Veterans were compulsorily transferred to the new DFRDB from its inception in 1972. 

After suffering years of reduced pensions, veterans are now demanding justice, including by petitioning the Parliament. Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester dismissed Principal Petitioner, Mr Ken Stone (Petition No. EN0745) in parliament on 18 February, saying “the Government does not support the view that pension recipients have been denied eligible benefits”.
Maybe Chester should have remembered he was dealing with veterans who, unlike him, have been to war, because they were not deterred.

In a letter to Lucy Wicks MP, Chair of the Standing Committee on Petitions, Mr Stone—a retired Wing Commander—didn’t mince his words: “From my detailed response to the Minister’s assertions, I am sure that you and your committee will see through the duplicitous and deceitful reply the Minister (or his minions) has provided to my Parliamentary Petition, that makes a sham of the Petition process.” 
Veteran Jim Nicholls explained to the CEC: “We are not seeking ‘the portion we commuted be restored’; this is about getting the pension restored to its rightful amount once the commutation has been repaid.”
The Labor Party’s position is no better, with MPs writing to veterans insisting that if they commuted funds decades ago, they should stay on a reduced pension indefinitely. They claim this was the “intention” of the DFRB commutation arrangement.
But Mr Stone has presented a document to the CEC which knocks Minister Chester’s and Labor’s claims on the head. The relevant document is the RAAF Personnel Information Handbook (4th Edition) dated October 1988. This handbook was issued to RAAF members new and old, and covered most aspects of RAAF life.
Under the heading “The Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme”, it states: “When you receive retired pay (i.e. pension) you will have the right to commute. This means that you are able to borrow an amount equal to several times your retired pay at the time of your discharge and repay that amount over your normal life expectancy.”
This clearly shows that the lump sum was a loan that was to be repaid by calculating a fixed repayment at discharge, based on life expectancy with no mention of CPI adjustments or whole-of-life repayment expectations. So, irrespective of what publications may have existed within the Department about it being a life-long repayment, this is what RAAF personnel were actually told in the 1980s.

The Australian government has exploited our defence personnel for too long. It is all too happy to send them into senseless and even illegal foreign wars at the whims of British and American geopolitical demands. The government funnels billions of dollars to profit arms companies—the Joint Strike Fighters alone are expected to cost taxpayers $17 billion. But when it comes to the welfare of the veterans who have been prepared to put their lives on the line for their nation, they are treated with contempt. The government’s policy betrays that its patriotism is self-serving and fake. This policy must end, and the government must stop ripping off veterans.”

Craig Isherwood‚ National Secretary
Citizens Electoral Council of Australia- Media Release Friday, 29 March 2019

Senate Estimates Finance & Public Administration Legislation Committee Hearings – Jim Molan

Watch Sen. Jim Molan’s questions on superannuation matters to Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation‘s CEO, Peter Carrigy-Ryan here.

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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.

Opinion – A Virus called Political Correctness

How ironic is it that on each Remembrance Day, we pause to honour those who made the supreme sacrifice to defend our most precious way of life, and yet continue to yawn and scratch as an increasing number of misguided fools are busily hell bent on destroying such a beautiful legacy.
How blind are we that we can reflect with pride on the unity of our nation as it once was, and yet today before our very eyes, fail to see it fracturing at a rapid rate.

How ignorant are we not to understand that our nation has been forged on the fundamentals of Christian beliefs that provided a true compass for our social discipline and intent. Where is the evil in a man (person?) who offered the gift “to love one another?”

How cowardly are we to tolerate increasing defiance of our laws which were established to ensure protection of all law abiding citizens?  How pathetic we are not to demand harsher penalties.

Above all, how irresponsible are many of us to readily accept the good things of living in a western society yet fail to confront the insidious threats to it.

One such enemy is a dreaded virus defined as political correctness which is cleverly designed to slowly but surely brainwash our young generations and those yet to arrive on Planet Earth.

Thus I do hope that this outburst and my scribble below is a timely reminder to those not yet infected.

Sadly, it is too late for most of our political representatives at State and National level.  They are already in the morgue and all we have to do is bury them.

 

George Mansford

 

                      One Upon a Time

Poor old Gingerbread Man, loved by many and killed this very day

Thanks to Revisionists, a brand new Gingerbread Person is on its way

Stolen and distorted are nursery rhymes loved ever since creation

Sly thieves claim such words are cruel with personal degradation

How sad that fairy tales are not what they used to be

Thanks to political correctness infecting our society

Taken away is the innocence of childhood which is surely wrong   

No more to read of Giants and Dwarfs and sing the Black Sheep song

A sin to dream of fairy tales, secret wishes, and Christmas soon  

So silly to believe there’s a man smiling from the magic moon

It’s old fashioned to happily sing the ABC and finally get it right

Increasing scorn for small prayers before going to sleep at night

And as well, no more “Ladies and Gentlemen“ or “He and She”

When youngsters seek work, there will be quotas, despite ability

Santa’s on the hit list and birth certificates minus gender are planned

Identity cards will not reveal if you are woman or man 

Instead of unity, division grows and common sense is not to be

Soon a land of cheerless robots and no happy infants running free

 

The questions which must be answered by our elected masters

Who are these authors of change and what authority now and after?

What reason to condone such madness within our nation?

Who of our elected leaders will stand up to fight such alterations?

Will we pretend it’s not happening, stay mute and keep out of sight?

Hide in the growing darkness and not to fight for what is right?

Oops, the thought police are knocking on my door so I must be away

George Mansford © October 2018

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

Battle rages for Diggers – RCB veterans have not surrendered nor will they…

ON the night of December 7-8 1941, Japanese forces began invading Malaya, hours before the attack on US territory Pearl Harbour,
Australia’s first casualties on December 8 were the crews of two 1Sqn RAAF Hudson bombers from six aircraft dispatched to bomb Japan’s invasion fleet.
When Japanese aircraft attacked Butterworth, some RAAF Buffaloes were in the air and tried to intercept, but they were an inadequate match for the speedy Japanese fighters.
The ADF has maintained a long relationship with Butterworth, through the first Malayan Emergency 1950-1960, Confrontation, Vietnam and the second Malaysian Emergency (Counter Insurgency War 1969-1989) to the present day.
From 1958 to 1988 the airfield was an Australian military asset, known formally as RAAF Butterworth.
From 1970 an Australian Army infantry company has been deployed to Butterworth, though successive Australian governments have employed various subterfuges to camouflage their real role.
Although the deployment was officially described as training with Malaysian forces, its actual, formally denied role was to be a ready reaction force to defend, if required, the RAAF assets including Mirage fighters based there.
There is no doubt until 1989 there was a real threat to Australian personnel and assets based at Butterworth, nor that RCB was established and armed to react to that threat should it eventuate.
Yet successive Australian governments have consistently refused to recognise RCB service as warlike, and concede appropriate veteran benefits to those who served in that period.
The RCB veterans lobby group, have gathered a massive database of previously classified material which indubitably supports their claims for recognition.
They will not rest until they clear the fog of bureaucratic and political obfuscation which continues to deny their evidence.

READ  ROSS EASTGATE’S FULL ARTICLE

Note a correction to the article: Robert Cross is the RCB’s veterans lobby group (RCB Review Group) leader of which Ted Chitham (past CO 8/9 RAR 1974-1976) is a member.

“RCB veterans have not surrendered nor will they…” Ross Eastgate

RCB Service Recognition – Senator Anning’s Questions to Marise Payne

In the Senate Question Time yesterday, 18th September, Senator  Fraser Anning  (Katter’ s Australian Party) asked  Sen. Marise Payne three questions on RCB Service recognition as warlike during the Malaysian Counter Insurgency War.

We thank Senator Anning for his support. He has read the evidence and is championing our claim for an independent inquiry

You can watch the event here:

A challenge to  the accuracy of Senator Payne’s answers is being prepared by the RCB Review Group. Until we present that challenge we ask our supporters to keep calm.