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DFRDBF Indexation Demo Canberra (Oct/Nov)

Noted below are the outline details for a possible demo in Canberra concerning the DFRDBF and other issues. I encourage recipients to forward these details to others not included in the list of addressees.

I believe that the DFRDBF issues are vital to our well being in retirement. Its value is constantly eroding due to the manner of indexing the pension. Five previous inquiries have all recommended that the pension be indexed at the greater of the CPI or MTAWE but this recommendation has been rejected. We now have another such ‘examination’ as recently announced. Now is the time to make our feelings known to government much more directly than we have done in the past. These issues have been put forward by most veteran organisations over past decades, sometimes lethargically and without much conviction particularly by one major organisation, but nevertheless, all have been singularly unsuccessful.

Defence superannuates/veterans are generally conservative; a factor which I believe past/present governments have relied upon by not stirring the pot and thus no government action. Equally, ESOs have basically followed a similar line which has brought much disappointment to their membership. In fact the can has been carried by a small number of concerned and highly skilled individuals of whom two (Bernie McGurgan and John Graham) are the authors of the second Email below.

The more support that can be harnessed will increase our chances of success and hence I ask that you consider giving your assistance and support to the proposed action as it is only through such means can we hope to achieve success.

I will endeavor to keep addressees informed of proposed plans and also seek their assistance to disseminate details as widely as possible.

Perhaps we can gain the support of the various groups such as the RSL, VVF, VVA, etc, etc. If these can become involved it would be a clear demonstration to government that we mean business and that inaction on their part will no longer be tolerated or accepted.

Perhaps recipients might like to advise me of their interest/possible involvement in this matter as well as any comment and or suggestion (no- none of those!!).

John Graham has a wealth of knowledge of the DFRDBF and has presented papers on the fund to many members of Parliament and to a number of Senate Committees. Bernie has also been very active in presenting his views to government and to the wider Defence Retired Community (DRC – a new acronym).

John Giersch

— Background —


I will support a demo of some sort in Canberra as I am a ACT resident (and a DFRDBF recipient/Vietnam veteran). I will also forward your email to all appropriate people. In any event word will soon spread and hence it is likely that the pollies may get to hear of it sooner or later – which may be to our advantage. It would be ideal for effected members to attend hearings at the ‘examination’ and present a common case that could be drafted before hearings are conducted in order to achieve a united front with the same grievances.

I have a number of comments.

Timing – not sure when the recently announced ‘examination’ of indexation is due to be concluded. In any event I feel that any demo regardless of its form should be held before or during this inquiry particularly perhaps during the time it is sitting in the ACT. In would of course drive home our concerns if demos were held outside the rooms in towns/cities where hearings are to be conducted. This would drive home the point quite directly. It is also important that any demo/protest be held in Canberra when Parliament is sitting.

I understand that the occupants of the aboriginal ‘embassy’ were/are allowed to use toilet facilities in old Parliament House. A previous attempt to remove these individuals included shutting these facilities but I believe this act created all sorts of health problems. In any event should vets be refused the use of such facilities we could claim racial discrimination.

Ex-ADF personnel are generally somewhat conservative and therefore there is a need to spark interest to generate support. I believe we would need to widen the reasons for such participation, for eg, Service Homes Loans’ insulting $25,000 limit, the offensive gap in funeral allowances to entitled vets under the VEA and the MRCA (the latter is indexed), etc, etc.

On the DFRD/DFRDBF I see the following areas of concern (no doubt the list can be expanded:

  • Indexation
  • The freeze – Oct 86-Oct 89 under Hawke- needs to be made good.
  • Reversion, ie, pension to be paid at pre-commutation rate if recipient lives longer that the life expectancy age.
  • Recovery of the DFRBF pool of contributors funds seized by Whitlam in 1973
  • Other categories of pension, eg, medical retirements.

John is much more expert than I with this issueI understand that recipients can now commute 5 years of pension whereas when I retired the limit was 4 years. Perhaps those who claimed the latter should now be entitled to claim the additional year!!In fact the fairest option on military super schemes is to base the pension at the percentage rate on retirement then maintain that percentage/parity as increases are awarded to the ADF. In other words parity is maintained and hence increases in pension would be automatic every time the ADF receives a pay rise. Ideal but probably would not be acceptable to govt mainly due to cost (in their view).

I also believe that as benefits under whatever scheme are increased/introduced/improved, etc, they should automatically flow on regardless of the super scheme/veteran /Act/ that applies to a particular veteran or retired member. If this were to occur then we would not have the disparity that exists, for example, in funeral benefits as noted above.

I still have a problem concerning the PSS. Personally, I would be most disappointed to see the creation of ANY presumption, or any action that may lead to that presumption, that APS service in any way acquaints to that in the ADF. We may have a problem based on the TOR but the very least that we need to do is to ensure, and to continually point out, the uniqueness of military service and that military super schemes, particularly DFRDBF, were developed with that uniqueness in mind. The APS has its own Association to fight its battles.

John Giersch

Allen J Petersen wrote:
*Battle for equity in Indexation*

Dear Brothers- in- Arms,

Bernie McGurgan and I have been putting a toe in the water as to whether there would be support for a ‘demonstration’ in Canberra in October/November this year.We will be defining the dates later and at this time it is particularly fortuitous, straight after Nick Sherry’s Media release dated 26 JUN 08!

I think that the Government having announced yet *another *inquiry (this now being the sixth) makes some form of action imperative. An actuary from the UK has been engaged to conduct the inquiry, where UK ex – servicemen are not as well looked after as we are. I feel he has been hired to give the Government the result that it wants, that is, situating the appreciation. For goodness sakes, after five inquiries since 2001, which all recommended that we should receive indexation of superannuation entitlements by CPI or MTAWE, whichever the higher! Is another inquiry really needed? We are simply after equity, fairness and justice!

The protest we have in mind is the establishment of a tent embassy. It attracted national media attention for the Koori, and that is what our campaign badly needs.We don’t know what name will be given to it yet. In the meantime we will keep up our submissions to both the politicians and this new inquiry. I have already indicated I wish to attend any public hearing, as a witness.

We need to get an idea of support for this proposed action, for it would be better to do nothing than have it flop from inadequate support, It would be great if people could stay for a week , but a couple of days would do, and even ‘day visitors’ would be most welcome. We would be looking for small donations of, say a dollar or two, to cover administrative things such on site porta – loos and a short term wireless broadband connection and the printing of flyers to hand out, and perhaps for possible letter-box drops in Canberra.You would be requested to bring your medals and some other form of military accoutrement eg, slouch hat or beret that could be worn as we meet politicians, journalists and as Bernie and I are possibly being arrested by the Feds (?).

As the Public Servants have been lumped in with us in the Terms of Reference, we will have to invite them to take part in some of our activities there. I will continue to concentrate on our ‘uniqueness’ , as defined in the Terms of Reference, for the inquiry into Military Superannuation conducted in 2007, but will mention that the Public Service have also been treated unfairly in the matter of indexation.Bernie and I have taken the lead in this matter. We have done this because we have been very active in this field and are happy to put the time in, but if you don’t approve of this, please say so and volunteer to take it on. Don’t think of us as a two man band. We will be calling on people to assist with their particular talents, to make this action something we can be proud of as Veterans and as DFRDB superannuants.

We would like you to respond to either of us so that we can make up a mailing list of those interested. We will be seeking assistance of ESO members, particularly in the Canberra area and environs.

Please pass this email on to your mates on your own nets
Our email addresses are :
Bernie Mcgurgan: hill55@vtown.com.au
John Graham: johngraham@railscenes.com.au

We look forward to hearing from you.

John & Bernie

PS. Those who understandably will not be able to travel the long distance to attend, should keep up the pressure on their local members and take every opportunity to write to their State and local newspapers.
Why do politicians need 6% or more indexation but former Government employees only need CPI?

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