By: Graham Anderson OAM JP, National Secretary, Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia Inc
Sign the Petition….click here
We have the opportunity to have some questions raised on DFRB/DFRDB during a Senate Committee meeting in early February but the lack of support we have received for our Change.Org petition is most disappointing. We started the petition on 11 November 2015 and so far we only have 2268 signatures yet there are 55000 DFRDB recipients who are not getting a fair go, we need around 50000 signatures to make our political leaders listen. I have been assisted in this project by my colleague Herb Ellerbock a retired WO1 RAEME (Electronics) who is a genius in data analysis, we have provided our data to all major ESO’s but thus far we have not been overwhelmed with their support. It appears that the HQ of the ESO’s are making the decision for their members and our message is not getting out to those in need. What we expected from the ESO’s was for them to distribute our request to ALL members who had email addresses, not a difficult task.
I ASK EVERY RECIPIENT OF THIS EMAIL TO CONSIDER THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED OUR COUNTRY AND NOW FIND THEIR SUPERANNUATION IS INSUFFICIENT TO PROVIDE THEM WITH A REASONABLE LIFE STYLE. COULD YOU PLEASE SEND THIS EMAIL TO ALL OF YOUR MILITARY AND CIVILIAN CONTACTS ASAP. UNLESS WE CAN GET TO AT LEAST 10000 SIGNATURES PRIOR TO THE SENATE COMMITTEE MEETING WE WILL NOT GET OUR QUESTIONS TABLED.
There are two issues and I will not go into to much detail other than to say our research is thorough and if you need detailed information please contact me and I will forward some of our research papers. The first issue is “Commutation” if you commuted your “Life Expectancy” was factored in to reduce your fortnightly superannuation and we believe that principle to be right and proper. The Life Expectancy tables were introduced in 1962 and have never been updated thus the reduction each fortnight is greater than it should be, because in 1962 a male had a Life Expectancy of 72 years and it is now 82 years.. Even so each fortnight when your deduction is taken and transferred to Consolidated Revenue your debt is reducing. The DFRDB Act is not specific that once a member has repaid his/her advance of future entitlements their fortnightly superannuation would revert to the full entitlement. It took the “Authority” until 2013 to state in the DFRDB handbook that Commutation was a life sentence and the lower superannuation would remain in force until death. We are of the opinion that this amendment to the handbook is not supported by legislation but is merely an “Authority” interpretation. We are asking for no more than the entitlement of a Centrelink client who may take an advance of future entitlements and once repayment is complete they revert to their full entitlement, they don’t pay interest why should we?
The second issue is quite insidious and it relates to Spouses Benefit, That is what your partner will receive when you pass away. The Act is quite clear your partner is entitled to 62.5% of your UNCOMMUTED entitlement. Now only 1% of DFRDB contributors did not commute, the rest of us were either misled at resettlement seminars or we needed the money to purchase a house or business. The bureaucrat’s (who receive 67% of their final entitlement) could not have this and they introduced a system whereby the person who did not commute had the equivalent of the annual amount had he/she commuted quarantined from indexation. Thus the surviving spouse receives 62.5% of this much lesser amount. I retired in 1987 and the difference between my commuted and uncommuted entitlement is around $5000 I will leave you to do the sums on the impact of this on my spouse. If you want the actual figures please let me know.
We want two sections of the DFRDB Act amended or rescinded and without a lot more support than we have had our ADF brothers and sisters of current and past service will not get their just entitlements.
Somehow we have to get current members of the ADF to support the petition as I am confident a win in DFRDB will lead to changes in MSBS.
This is an election year and the best chance we have had for a long time. PLEASE GIVE THIS EMAIL WIDE CIRCULATION.
To sign the petition just click on >here< in the email below.
I thank you in advance for your support.
PS With out a lot more support we may have to consider hoisting the “White Flag” and that is not something that comes easy to a former member of the ADF.