I was going to issue an end of year SITREP, but decided that that would be looking backwards, and be somewhat negative.
We need to look to the future and 2012 will be a crucial year for our fight for "A FAIR GO' campaign.
I am now convinced that OPERATION "LETTER RAID" was a great success. Many of you will have received a response from one or more politicians, albeit some of these from the politicians' staff. The point is however that the Politicians did receive our letters.
The fact that the Politicians were forced to issue that so-called "FACT SHEET" clearly demonstrates that they felt a need to try to justify their intransigence on the indexation issues. However, the "FACT SHEET" was not signed, or dated. It had no specific Departmental reference. It was not authenticated and, in fact, it could have been issued by anyone. It confirms that we are making our point heard in Canberra.
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI)
Obviously there is disagreement and disunity within the Labor Government regarding the continuing application of the CPI to our military superannuation pension.
Even the flawed Matthews Report acknowledges that the CPI is no longer relevant as an indexation for military superannuation pensions. Recommendation 4 of the Matthews Report states that:"... if a robust index which reflects the price inflation experience of superannuants better than the CPI becomes available in the future, the Australian Government should consider its use for indexing Australian Government civilian and military superannuation pensions."
To me, at least, this states that the CPI is not a robust index and, therefore, the Government should develop a more appropriate index.
However, the Government also acknowledged that the CPI was not appropriate as an index for our Nation's Old Aged Pensions, so they introduced a more "robust" index – the Pensioner and Beneficiary Cost of Living Index (PBCLI). SO WHY DID NOT THE GOVERNMENT APPLY THIS INDEXATION TO OUR MILITARY SUPERANNUATION PENSION?
Then Minister Snowdon and other Politicians advise us, in their responses, that there is no better index than the CPI!! How hypocritical can they get? If this is true then why implement the PBCLI for the Old Aged Pensioners and why isn't the CPI applied to our judges and our Politicians?
The same questions should be asked regarding the Government's last minute decision not to apply the 2.7% increase to all Service (Military) members receiving some form of disability pension, as a result of the Harmer Review. This increase was granted to all civilian members who receive a disability pension but, at the last minute, the flow on was blocked to our members!! Why?
Why this blatant discrimination against those who gave the most important years of their life to our Nation?
Then Minister Snowdon argues that those who served 20 years still got out at a young age and therefore they should have been able to find a good occupation. Well, if you joined at 25 and served a minimum of 20 years (which you had to qualify for the lowest DFRDB/DFRB superannuation payment) you would be a minimum of 45 years old and it was never easy for a 45 year old plus Service personnel, especially those without any trade qualifications, to get a job let alone a good job. So the DFRDB/DFRB superannuation became their main income source.
Why is this Government refusing to even consider changing the CPI index?
Why are they maintaining this callous approach, even though there are Labor members, including Senator Kate Lundy, Ms Annette Ellis, Dr Mike Kelly who openly declare that the CPI is no longer relevant and that they are "working behind the scenes" to have Caucus reconsider its position!! And pigs fly!!
There are also those Independents, including Messrs Wilkie and Oakeshott, as well as Senators Xenophon and Brown, who also agree that the CPI is no longer maintaining parity with the increases to our cost of living!
SO WHAT NOW?
We must remain united and while I have said this many times before, we must show all the Politicians that we will continue our campaign for "A FAIR GO" right up to the polling booths at the next election.
We still need to write our letters to the Politicians, to keep in their faces, to remind them that we will not go away.
We need to concentrate on getting our message out through our local radio stations and our local TV stations.
I suggest that we conduct another "LETTER RAID" but this time direct our letters to nominated major media outlets.
We must see if we can get coverage on the "A CURRENT AFFAIR", "60 MINUTES", "TO-DAY TO-NIGHT" and similar shows.
We need to encourage the Opposition to bring these matters up in QUESTION TIME.
We must stay the fight.
All the best of good health and lots of laughs and good times throughout 2012.