19 June 2011

Aussie defence retirement bill torpedoed in Senate by one vote

Australian veterans who are Commonwealth superannuants were dealt a blow late last week by Senator Kate Lundy who represents the ACT when she voted against a bill to give fair indexation to Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits ("DFRDB") recipients.

The Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Amendment (Fair Indexation) Bill 2010 would have indexed DFRDB pensions against either the Consumer Price Index ("CPI"), Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index ("PBLCI") or Male Total Average Weekly Earnings ("MTAWE").

Senator Lundy, who supposedly supports fair indexation as indicated here, voted against the bill last Thursday. Given that the bill was lost by one vote, Senator Lundy’s decision has cost the Defence retirees of Australia dearly.

Calls and emails to Senator Lundy's office seeking comment have not yet been returned at the time of this post.

“I am stunned at Senator Lundy’s hypocrisy,” said Senator Gary Humphries, also of the ACT.

“It is just not good enough to campaign on an issue at an election, and then vote against that position in Parliament. The Coalition made a very strong commitment to the veterans' community at the last election and we voted to see that through,” said Senator Humphries.

The Returned & Services League of Australia or RSL issued this press release indicating its "great disappointment at the defeat in the Senate."

The RSL has made it clear that it will not relent in its efforts aimed at convincing Senators and Members of the House of Representatives to pass legislation supporting the legitimate and reasonable expectations of military superannuants for fair indexation.

[Disclaimer: I am a member of the RSL and hold office within it.]

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