Vets left behind in military super fight

THE federal government is under pressure to stop “unfair discrimination” against military superannuants.

Port Macquarie veteran Bill Lord, 93, says it is unfair that military superannuation pensions increase more slowly than other government-supported schemes like age and welfare pensions.

“I can tell you, there is a deep, wounded feeling in the military as a society that we are being treated like this,” the retiree said.

Mr Lord served Australia in the armed forces for 33 years, from 1937 until 1970, and was a founding member of the Defence Force Welfare Association (DWFA) in the 1950s.

He now is the convener of the association’s regional group for Lyne and, under the guidance of the national headquarters in Canberra, is working closely with Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott to bring the matter to the government’s attention.

“We’re getting left behind every year by classes of people on pensions who didn’t contribute a thing, while we paid five per cent of our salaries towards the pension,” Mr Lord said.

Military superannuation pensions are indexed according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which does not factor in cost-of-living pressures.

Welfare and age pensions, on the other hand, are indexed according to the CPI, the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, or another wages-based index, whichever is greater.

Ex-servicemen and women want the government to close the gap.

Between 1989 and 2009, age pensions rose by 110 per cent, compared to just 68 per cent for military superannuation pensions.

Mr Lord says “hundreds” of people in the Lyne electorate, including many in Port Macquarie, would benefit from a policy change.

Four representatives from Lyne group of DFWA – Mr Lord, Des Slattery, Don Stone and Geoff Parkinson – discussed the issue with MP Rob Oakeshott in March.

He took the matter to Parliament last month

“The purpose of raising this issue for debate in the Parliament is to try and achieve a change which would see these income support payments treated in the same way,” Mr Oakeshott said.

He said defence service was “unique within the public service”, and the government therefore had to revisit the question of what was “fair and equitable” for ex-servicemen and women.

Legislation would have to be introduced for there to be any change to military superannuation pensions.

Anyone with questions about the DFWA can call Mr Lord on 02 6583 6738.

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