SITREP 4 – The Seige – Consolidation

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SITREP

Issue 4
23 July 2011

A CALL TO ARMS
The Seige – Consolidation

 WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF OUR NEW WEBSITE – “JUST A FAIR GO”

www.justafairgo.net

OBJECTIVE……..TO WIN THE BATTLE FOR A FAIR GO
for all members of the Defence Community

In this website you will find numerous articles relating to the issues surrounding fair indexation for military superannuants, including videos, podcasts, letters to politicians and a “shame file”. It will include a place for you to add your own comments, on any of the topics. It will also include links to other relevant websites. The site is still being developed and more information will be added, as it comes to hand.

Your comments are important and will provide an excellent forum for your messages to reach others.

No letters or comments that contain inflammatory, derogatory or personal criticisms of other contribut ors will be accepted. Pseudonyms or nicknames will not be accepted. The website is designed to win the war for a “fair go”. All our energies must be directed for that purpose, and not lost to internal bickering and personal agendas.

So start browsing and tell your friends, so they can be kept informed as well.

Any suggested amendments/corrections, or follow up correspondence is to be directed to: [email protected]

Due to the avalanche of emails and phone calls received, particularly over the last few weeks, the “JUST A FAIR GO” site has been developed to provide information to help Veterans , ex-members of the Australian Defence and their families, in their fight for fair indexation for their “self funded superannuation” and to have it protected against the ever increasing cost of living.

Our aim is to collate the evidence and present it on the site to assist everyone gain a better understanding of the complexities and issues surrounding military superannuation (and other related issues). We would encourage you to take an active role in this Campaign by sending registered letters to Federal politicians of all political persuasions, voicing your frustration and demanding this gross injustice be rectified.

The site also provides important links to other sites, ie. TPI, DFWA and the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations. It is not our intent to replicate these sites, but we will reproduce their Updates and Newsletters, with their approval, on our site for ease of reference, and provide links so that readers can easily be redirected to the main website.

Finally, we must congratulate Dean, our Webmaster, who has spent many long hours in the last two weeks to develop the “JUST A FAIR GO” site. Now the Defence community has an opportunity to access the site and become better informed about military superannuation and the complexities that surround it. Well done, Dean, you have provided a great service for your mates.

This website is still being developed and we readily acknowledge that there are still spelling and grammar mistakes, but these will be corrected in du e course. Additional material will also be added.


PREAMBLE

MEDIA ALERT!!!
ABC 24 has aired an excellent item on Friday Night 22 July and re-ran it on Saturday 23rd July.
You can watch it 
HERE

Our fight continues… but success will not be achieved without your action. We must maintain a united and cohesive group. Those who are directly affected by the rejection of the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Amendment (Fair Indexation) Bill 2010 by the Senate on 16th June, must be prepared to take ACTION…. This means everyone must arm themselves with pen and paper and start writing. The power of our letters will be in the volume of mail that is delivered to Parliament House! (More about this further in this SITREP)

Even if you are not a DFRB/DFRDB recipient, this still affects you, as YOUR MATES NEED YOUR HELP as do OUR FUTURE WARRIORS, so please join the LETTER RAID CAMPAIGN!

We encourage you to continue to refer to the tasks in SITREP 1 – These are still very relevant and we must continue to perform these tasks regularly. They form the basis of our campaign strategy.

For those people who did not receive a copy of the Situation Report No. 1, the lists o f  tasks are shown below. For those who did, maintain your rage and keep sending those letters! By failing to do so, our message will not remain at the forefront, so please continue with your efforts. Copies of all SITREPS can be found on the new website.

All our earnest meetings with politicians and members of Government Departments will achieve little. 

Politically and publicly shaming such people into action, just might achieve our objective.

Continue to bombard the politicians with your letters of protest. Ensure these letters are only sent by registered mail. (Emails achieve nothing!) See details below on OPERATION “LETTER RAID. ”

If you have not received a response to your initial letter within four weeks, send another letter, by registered mail (it doesn’t cost much), demanding a personal response (not a formed letter), and remind the politician very firmly that they are only servants of the people. Remember, no abusive or inflammatory language please. We must maintain our professionalism and dignity. (if unsure what to write, samples of letters to politicians can be found on the new website to assist you)

Every time a politician visits your area, attend their press gatherings, or their public meetings. Make sure that you get to have your questions heard. We must be their constant shadow and always let them know we are in attendance.

We must humanise this Campaign. We implore those who are in serious financial strife to contact the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations, contact details below.

DFWA

RARC

Email: [email protected] 
Website: www.dfwa.org.au 

Email: [email protected]
Website: www.rarnational.org.au

NAA

RAAFA

Email: [email protected] 
Website: www.navalassoc.org.au/index.html 

Email: [email protected]
Website: www.raafa.org.au

ASASA

 

Email: [email protected]

 

We must provide factual information to show there are many DFRB/DFRDB recipients, or their surviving spouses, who are doing it tough on their miserly superannuation “pension.” We will protect your name, but without personal experience stories, t here will be many, including the media, who will continue to disbelieve our plight.

DO NOT invite politicians to attend our Commemorative activities. If they do attend, do not acknowledge them in any speeches. If they approach any Veteran groups, politely turn your back and refuse to engage in any conversation with them. Some organizations are already implementing this.

A “Name and Shame file” has now been established. (Now included on the our website). We have provided a list of those Senators who voted against the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Amendment (Fair Indexation) Bill 2010 in the Senate on the 16th June.

Maintain the “Airwave War” by continuing to bombard your local radio stations. These give immediate access to millions of Australians, most of whom have no knowledge or understanding of our fight for “A FAIR GO.” Remember to speak in simple language, do not use military jargon, as the general public will have no idea what you are talking about. Tell them of your personal hardships. To date, we are having some great success with interviews on Australia All Over with Macca (twice), Talking Back the Night, on Gold FM (Christian Argenti on the Gold Coast which was broadcast to 40 regional centres throughout Australia), Radio 2CC (twice), the largest radio station in Canberra. Victoria’s ABC 7.30 Show, which included an interview with several members of the Defence community, on the DFRB/DFRDB issue, earlier this evening, (Friday, 22nd July) will be replayed on Saturday morning at 11.30 a.m. on ABC Channel 24.
There have been several articles albeit, some small, in some newspapers, and an article in the Northern Services Courier.

Please let us know if you have spoken on radio, including the name of the Radio station and the date, so that these details can be included in future SITREPs. (We need to monitor our successes, and keep you informed). Email your details to: [email protected]

Opposing Forces

Our intelligence indicates that the politicians are deliberately ignoring all our correspondence in the hope that we will run out of “huff and puff” and that this Campaign will simply disappear like similar Campai gns have. How wrong they are!

Friendly Forces

The groundswell of anger and discontent continues to grow….and the sense of betrayal is palpable. We continue to receive dozens of emails every day, offering support and requesting to be added to our distribution list. Currently, we have 1,000 members on our email distribution list, many of them are currently serving members of all three Services.

My challenge to the retired Senior Officers of all three Services (2 & 3 Star) has had a pleasing result so far. Air Marshall Jake Newham (a former CAS), Air Vice Marshall Peter Criss, MAJGEN David Ferguson, MAJGEN “Digger” James and Commodore Ma tt Moncrieff, RAN, have joined our fight for “A FAIR GO”. We hope others will follow their lead.

Mission

To win the war for “A FAIR GO” for all Members of the Defence community (serving members, ex-service members and their families).


OPERATION “LETTER RAID”

Parliament resumes sitting on 16th August and we strongly urge you, your family and friends, to become part of the “OPERATION LETTER RAID” Campaign. Our Politicians n eed to be convinced that we have not gone away, and that we are more determined than ever to bombard them with our letters until they realise that we are serious in our endeavours to win fair indexation for military superannuants and their families! We will not give up until we win the battle!

The Operation (Tasks)

Everyone is to send a minimum of three registered letters, preferably five, to politicians at Parliament House.

The aims of this OPERATION are as follows:

  • To encourage our people to take an “active”role, and not sit back and let others d o the work.
  • To take ownership of this campaign and actually participate – every action is a step closer to success!
  • To swamp Parliament House with “hard” material. All letters have to be registered, signed for,delivered to offices, opened and read by the staff, because they cannot assume that every letter they receive has been written by one of us. By rights, every letter should be answered.(Ha! Ha!)
  • To clearly demonstrate to politicians that there is a large group of our Defence community who are completely disillusioned with the current indexation method of our DFRB/DFRDB superannuation.
  • Most importantly – to clearly demonstrate to the politicians that we are an organized and a cohesive group who can coordinate such actions, thereby implying that we can organize other activities.

Timings

All these letters must be addressed to Parliament House, not to the individual electoral offices. We will encourage people to write three letters: one to their local MP (regardless of political party), one to a State Senator and the third to our erstwhile Prime Minister.

Letters are to arrive at Parliament House on either Tuesday, 16th (the day Parliament resumes) or Wednesday 17th August, (the day be fore Vietnam Veterans’ Day.)

This means your letters must be posted on either 12th August or 13th August.

In the interim, members are encouraged to “trickle feed” letters, specifically to the Independents and to those ALP members holding marginal seats. If you do not receive a reply to your letter, then we would strongly urge you to take the initiative, and follow up with a further letter demanding a considered reply. These should also be sent on 12th/13th August.

OPERATION “LETTER RAID” letters must be posted in the first instance to PARLIAMENT HOUSE on 12th/13th August.

All letters must be addressed to:
Senator…..
The Senate,
Parliament House,
CANBERRA, ACT 2600

For those still feeling energetic….. please copy your letters and forward them on at the same time to the Electoral Offices of the Senators who voted against the Bill, to ensure they are totally bombarded!! A complete listing of Senators and all their electoral offices can be obtained HERE

The List of Senators who voted against the bill can be found HERE

The list of marignal Federal seats can be found HERE

It is worth noting that the number of Defence/Commonwealth public servants, living in the majority of marginal seats, far outweighs the number of votes required to unseat the sitting Member in each of those seats. When writing to these politicians, remind them that their seat will be targeted at the next election. (A comprehensive table giving all relevant information can be found on our website: www.justafairgo.net Please include the various fig ures in your letter to your particular politician. e.g.

“I note you hold your seat by………votes. However, I also note that there are ……….DFRB/DFRDB recipients and Commonwealth Public Service Pensioners living in your Electorate. I think you should consider this, going into the next Election.”

The success of OPERATION “LETTER RAID” will be guaranteed if you consider this formula.

  • There 1,000 members on this emailing address
  • If each member writes and mails three letters = 3,000 letter s
  • If one other relative in each household writes another 3 letters = 3,000 letters
  • If each member then sends this SITREP to five other members and requests each new recipient and one relative of each new recipient, to each write three letters = 30,000 letters

TOTAL 36,000 LETTERS and this is only the beginning…….

There are some recipients of this SITREP who will on forward it to more than 100 (in some cases more than 1,000) other people, who hopefully, will do the same thing and all recipients will write their three letters. Not a lo t to ask, we could easily achieve over 50,000 letters arriving at Parliament House within a span of two days.

Let’s make it happen! – People Power will Win!


ADDITIONAL INFORAMTION

Carbon (Dioxide) Tax

The average DFRB/DFRDB superannuation payment (“pension”) is $22,559. Whilst our members might receive some tax relief with an increase in the non-tax threshold, as a result of the new Carbon (Dioxide) Tax, this certainly does not address the fact that t he inflationary pressures of the proposed carbon price is not well known. Given the Government’s track record, we lack any confidence in any modelling undertaken by the Department of Finance and Deregulation / Treasury. Basically the proposed carbon tax will impact on each member differently, as it will be determined by their total taxable income, whether they are on any other benefits and whether or not they receive a Commonwealth Health Card. Consequently it would be advisable to seek advice from a financial adviser, an accountant or from your tax consultant.

Once we have more precise details on how this tax will impact on DFRB/DFRDB recipients we will post it to this site and we will include the details in a SITREP.

Remember while the Government and the Opposition are completely preoccupied with the Carbon Tax debate, we have little chance of gaining any political traction. That is why it is essential for Operation Letter Raid to be carried out strictly in accordance with the program outlined above.

We understand that another action group will be conducting a Rally on the lawns of P arliament House on 16th August to demonstrate against the introduction of the carbon tax. www.hadenough.com.au

Unresolved Issues

The ‘FAIR GO” Campaign is a “rolling” campaign, as it will continue to address other related matters which still have yet to be resolved, including:

  • TPI Pensions
  • Commutation of DFRB/DFRDB pensions
  • Life Expectancy Tables
  • Taxation on DFRB/DFRDB superannuation payments
  • Treatment of surviving spouses of DFRB/DFRDB recipients
  • Pharmaceutical Expenses
  • Restoration of PM Keating’s “stolen” 1.8% of the DFRB/DFRDB superannuation payments from October 1986 to November 1989.

Replies from Politicians

To date, very few responses have been received from our Politicians of all parties. Those that have been received have normally been written by staff members from the politician’s office. Responses have been identical and have been of no value to our cause. They have been full of rhetoric and “hot air.” This clearly demonstrates, once again, their lack of interest, their lack of concern and their determination to ignore us! Their puerile responses do them no justice and only continue to inflame the situation and increase our resolve to see this out until the bitter end.


Independent Australia (online publication)

All members are encouraged to continue posting their letters and emails, as well as any responses from politicians (both letters and emails), to the website above. This site has become the official historical document for our fight for “A FAIR GO” and it is essential that we maintain it up to date for the duration of our fight. You should be aware that this site is monitored regularly by the politicians and by an ever increasing number of the general public.

We acknowledge the fabulous work done by Tess Lawrence, Journalist Advocate. Without her inspiration and her indefatigable determination, we would never have got this far – thanks Tess.


Advocacy of Current and Former Defence Members Issues

Fair Go Campaign

The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) relies entirely on the generosity of public support to make the campaign successful. Your donations will greatly assist the Campaign – so we encourage you dig deep! The campaign is funded from donations and other revenue raising means.

DFWA manages the account and we request all payments be made direct to them. (donations, regrettably are not deductible)

donate

volunteer

signup

Click on the boxes above to donate now……volunteer or to sign up to the ADSO.

Volunteer to join our State/Territory Action Groups (STAGs) or Local Action Groups (LAGs) established within your State and Electorate. Register at [email protected] with your name address and contact details and name your electorate and MP.


Unfortunately, there are some members from within our own Defence community who seem hell bent on creating divisions within our force. These people seem to be attemptin g to discredit some of our members, thereby encouraging internal fighting on our websites and in normal email communications. We must ignore these people and ensure all our energies are directed towards achieving our goal! (see further information below).

WARNING……..WARNING……CHARACTER ASSASINATION

My solicitor has advised me to post the following message……..

“I should advise you all that unsubstantiated and false allegations have been made against me (and others) by an apparent group of Veterans, the majority of whom choose to use pseudonyms to protect their identities. The allegations made have caused me to seek legal advice and, accordingly, I do not feel it is appropriate to make any further comments at this time whilst legal action is potentially pending.”

I will simply say “be careful” as the first tactic to disarm any political action is to cause disharmony within the core group seeking to rectify any injustice.

We must stay united and ignore any such falsities if they reach you.”

Neil Weekes, AM, MC  

“I WILL MARCH TO CANBERRA WITH THE DIGGERS…WILL YOU JOIN ME?”

 

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