MEDIA STATEMENT VETERANS ON ALERT – ALP POLICY RELEASED BUT NO SIGN OF THE COALITION POLICY

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DKJ4   ADSO’s National Spokesman, David Jamison, has welcomed the ALP’s Veteran Policy announcements in the lead up to the Federal Election on 2 July. “We congratulate Labor for releasing its Veterans Policy, covering some of the major issues of concern to veterans.”

Mr Jamison said “Labor has picked up a small number of ADSO’s objectives to support Defence personnel and veterans such as an extensive review of Veterans Affairs, a comprehensive study into suicide and homelessness, a review of the ADF remuneration process and the establishment of an Australian National Veterans Arts Care Centre (ANVAC) in Melbourne.”

Although these initiatives are welcomed we are disappointed that no announcement was made on our four major objectives whether a Shorten Government will:
1. Enact a Military Accord formally stating the Nations obligations to its service personnel and their families;
2. Restore disabled veterans compensation payments for its loss of value and provide our most disabled veterans with an income level enabling them to live with dignity and provide for their families;
3. Remove the discriminatory provisions of the military superannuation schemes; and
4. Provide for lifelong health support for veterans sent to war/warlike operations.

We call on Labor to reconsider these significant omissions.

Meanwhile we are concerned that the Coalition has still not released its comprehensive Defence Personnel or Veteran Policies, apart from what was included in their last budget and the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Initiative.

All parties should appreciate that many thousands of Defence personnel, veterans and their families live and vote in marginal seats. ADSO expects that ADF Personnel and Veteran Policies of the major parties, the minor parties and independents will be a key factor in the election.

“It is time for the Coalition to also announce a comprehensive Veterans Policy” said Mr Jamison, and added “ADSO challenges the Coalition to address all of the key issues so that the Defence Community will be prepared to make informed decisions at the ballot box.”

Contacts
ADSO Campaign Co Directors: Ted Chitham (0418) 733 887 and Alf Jaugietis (0438) 282 284

ADSO National Spokesman: David Jamison (0416) 107 557

United we stand, divided we fall

Election 2016 - ALP Defence Remuneration Reform

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To ensure greater fairness and transparency in remuneration for the Australian Defence Force, a Shorten Labor Government will reform Defence’s Workplace Remuneration Arrangement and the means by which ADF pay and conditions are determined.

Unlike most employees, ADF personnel are not legally entitled to cooperatively negotiate their pay, conditions and terms of employment.

Instead, proposed wage rises are jointly determined by the Australian Government and the ADF. These proposals are then approved or rejected by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, which has no arbitral powers in this case and can only approve or reject. ADF members rely on independent peak associations, such as the Defence Force Welfare Association, to advocate for them in this process.

In 2014, the Abbott-Turnbull Government shockingly botched the pay deal for our sailors, soldiers and air force personnel.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s initial offer consisted of a below inflation pay rise of 1.5 per cent per annum over three years, and cuts to precious recreational and Christmas leave.

Following a campaign led by the Defence community and supported by Labor, the Liberals ultimately settled on a 2 per cent per annum increase and the maintenance of existing conditions.

The Liberals’ mishandling of ADF pay highlighted the inadequacies in the current process used to set ADF pay and conditions. This process was roundly criticised by Defence commentators as being conflicted and non-consultative.

Labor’s plan

A Shorten Labor Government will provide ADF personnel with a greater voice in the remuneration process by providing appropriate resources for the Defence Force Welfare Association to undertake this role.

Labor will safeguard fairness and transparency in the setting of remuneration for the ADF through:

The provision of a grant of $100,000 per annum to improve the capacity of the Defence Force Welfare Association to advocate on behalf of ADF members, particularly in relation to remuneration determinations.
Amending, where needed, and in consultation with stakeholders, the timelines and processes by which a future Labor Government would make ADF remuneration determinations.

Election 2016 - ALP Media Release: Respecting and Supporting Our Veterans

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THE HON DAVID FEENEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS' AFFAIRS
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

LABOR's VETERANS POLICIES

RESPECTING AND SUPPORTING OUR VETERANS

A Shorten Labor Government will strengthen support for our valued veteran community.

Labor believes in the robust provision of entitlements, services and support to our veterans and their families as a sincere gesture of thanks for the service and sacrifice they have provided our nation.

On releasing Labor’s veterans’ policy today, to Labor’s Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, David Feeney, said that while Australia has a good record of looking after our veterans, it does not have a perfect one.
“We have listened to the veterans’ community, and recognise that more needs to be done,” Mr Feeney said.
“Our veterans’ policy needs be structured to respond to the differing needs of veterans according to their stage of life, with flexible programs based on meeting contemporary needs.”

A First Principles Review of Veterans’ Affairs

When grave concerns are raised about the administration, governance and processes within Veterans’ Affairs, we must act.
Serious instances of processing delays, disclosure of veterans’ private information, overpayment of entitlements and continued high levels of complaints have undermined the veteran community’s confidence in the delivery of government services.

A Shorten Labor Government will commission a First Principles Review of Veterans’ Affairs and the delivery of government services. This end-to-end holistic review will be based on the outcomes required of the Department and focused on agreed upon first-principles.
A first principles review will:
• Rectify administrative, governance and process failings.
• Ensure government services are structured in a way that allows them to meet existing and future challenges efficiently.
• Secure the trust of the veterans’ community.

This is not an attack on DVA employees, or their commitment to the important work they do. 
This is about putting people first.
This is about making sure the systems we have in place work for the people they are meant to serve.
This is about making sure the foundations of our veterans’ affairs system is strong.

More information on this policy is available here.

The Australian National Veterans Arts Centre in Melbourne

In addition, a Shorten Labor Government will establish the Australian National Veterans Arts Centre (ANVAC) at 310 St Kilda Road in Melbourne.
Currently derelict, the St Kilda Road facility was formerly a repatriation centre used by World War I veterans as the Repatriation Commission Outpatient Clinic.
The building will be remediated and restored by the Department of Defence, before being returned to its original purpose as a centre caring for veterans.
The facility is superbly located for this purpose, being proximate to the Shrine of Remembrance, Victoria Barracks, public transport links and the Melbourne CBD.
ANVAC will host programs and initiatives for a new generation of veterans seeking support for mental health and PTSD, including through arts therapy.
Veterans have long engaged in the arts for a range of reasons including for rehabilitation from wounds, injury or illness, or as a form of therapy to capture their lived experience and to stimulate morale within peer groups.

More information on Labor’s plan for the Australian National Veterans Arts Centre is available here.

Counting the cost: Veterans’ suicide and homelessness

The rate of veteran suicide and homelessness, and the way in which it is recorded, continues to raise significant concerns within the veterans’ community and the general public more broadly. The lack of comprehensive data or the ‘under-reporting’ of veterans’ suicide has been of particular concern.
As part of its mental health policy, Labor has committed to working with the States and Territories to build an accurate picture of deaths by suicide and suicide attempts and agree to a national minimum data set for suicide prevention.

As part of this initiative, Labor will ensure the inclusion of an ‘ADF flag’ within this data set, to allow governments to identify if an individual had previously served in the ADF or was a partner or child of an individual who served in the ADF.

Labor will also work with the States and Territories to include an ‘ADF flag’ within the existing Specialist Homelessness Service Collection.

In addition, Labor will fund a comprehensive study into veterans’ homelessness to identify members of the veteran community who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The study will make recommendations to address factors that increase the risk of homelessness and solutions on how to better connect homeless veterans with appropriate support services.

More information about Labor’s policy on veterans’ homelessness and suicide is available here.

FRIDAY, 17 MAY 2016

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Federal election 2016: Labor would reform ADF remuneration process if elected

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Federal Labor would reform the remuneration process for Australian Defence Force personnel and improve their ability to bargain for better pay and conditions if elected.
The announcement comes after years of frustration within the Defence Force community, triggered by a belowinflation pay offer of 1.5 per cent for 57,000 Australia soldiers, sailors and air force personnel in 2014.
The offer was considered as insult by many with seven months of delay and policy reversals costing ADF personnel nearly $25 million in wages.
The offer was revised to 2 per cent after former prime minister Tony Abbott intervened and was approved in June 2015, although Defence Force welfare groups have continued to call for reform.
Unlike most public servants, ADF personnel are unable to negotiate their pay and conditions and rely on independent associations to advocate for them.
They cannot accept or reject a proposal and cannot take industrial action if they have a grievance.
Wages are proposed by the federal government and the ADF leadership. The proposals are approved or rejected by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, which has no arbitral powers.
The majority of bargaining was done by the Australian Defence Force Welfare Association, which raised concerns personnel would have to give up Christmas and recreational leave to secure the pay increase.

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Labor's defence spokeswoman Gai Brodtmann said her government would provide the association with a $100,000 grant each year to improve its ability to bargain.
"A Labor government would formalise the role of the association in advocating for ADF pay and conditions – and make sure it is appropriately resourced to do so." 
Ms Brodtmann said the 2014 pay offer highlighted the need to reform the remuneration process.
"This process was roundly criticised by Defence commentators as being conflicted and non-consultative," she said.
"ADF personnel and their families make enormous sacrifices in service of our country. They shouldn't be relying on "Captain's calls" to get the pay and conditions they deserve, like they were forced to in 2014."

AKJ ProfileIn a submission to government last year, DFWA association executive director Alf Jaugietis called for the system to be overhauled.

"The repeated intervention of the government to improve the pay offer to ADF personnel highlights the inadequacy of the original offer and also the unfairness of the process followed to determine ADF salary adjustments," he said.
"Even the tribunal started to doubt the fairness of the process under which it had to work and that its hands were tied to make a decision outside of the agreed positions."

Henry Belot - Canberra Times
Published: June 17, 2016 

DFWA MEDIA STATEMENT: 'RECOGNITION THAT THE ADF PAY FIXING SYSTEM IS BROKEN'

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The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA) welcomes Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy’s acknowledgement today during his debate at the National Press Club with the Minister for Defence that the ADF pay determination process is failing our service men and women.

For some time DFWA has been advocating a change to bring transparency to the process and for a stop to the ‘behind closed doors’ approach used by governments
to thwart the Defence Remuneration Tribunal’s role in adjudicating a fair and equitable outcome. The last ADF Workplace Remuneration Agreement fiasco amply demonstrates what can go wrong when ADF personnel are not properly represented in the process.

Additionally, DFWA welcomes the decision to ensure it is adequately resourced to represent ADF members in a professional manner. We have long sought
recognition from successive governments of the Association’s role in representing serving personnel.                

We have further campaigned for the removal of departmental barriers making this task harder and can now look forward to more effectively speaking on behalf of the
men and women of the ADF. 

The Defence Force Welfare Association thanks Senator Conroy and his colleagues for this initiative and now looks forward to a similar commitment from the
Government that will show more meaningful and beneficial support for our service personnel in a spirit of bipartisanship.

Contacts
Executive Director: Alf Jaugietis (0438) 282 284
www.dfwa.org.au
National President: David Jamison (0416) 107 557

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