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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3315

Mr HUTCHINSON (Lyons) (10:42): Legislation was passed last night in this place to deliver equity for veterans and their families. Finally this government has acted to deliver fair indexation for Defence Force superannuants. Is there any greater commitment to our nation than that made by the men and women who serve in our Defence Force? I think perhaps not. Two of my mother's brothers saw active service, Des Cordell in World War II and Alan Cordell as part of the Fleet Air Arm in the Korean War. Rightly, we have days set aside each year to recognise and show respect for those who have returned, as well as those who have fallen in the foreign fields, deserts and jungles and those who paid the ultimate price defending our nation at sea.

For too long veterans and their families were treated differently and manifestly unfairly when compared with indexation of other pension and superannuation schemes. The government has recognised this injustice and as early as 27 June 2010 committed to fair indexation for our Defence Force retirees. We took this commitment to the 2010 election. In opposition we introduced legislation in another place to provide the long overdue equity for DFRB and DFRDB superannuants. The response from the government of the day was to set up another inquiry, which we opposed as six previous inquiries had all supported fair indexation. Guess what? Labor and the Greens used the inquiry to oppose the legislation put forward by the coalition. Shame on you to have been the first parliament to oppose fair indexation for Defence Force retirees' pensions.

Prior to the 2013 election I was proud to sign the coalition's pledge to deliver for our veteran community fair indexation. The pledge highlighted the coalition's clear commitment to our veterans. It said that a coalition government would deliver fair indexation to 57,000 military superannuants and their families. The coalition would ensure DFRB and DFRDB military superannuation pensions are indexed in the same way as age and service pensions. All DFRB and DFRDB superannuants aged 55 and over would benefit. Only a coalition government will deliver fair, just and equitable indexation of DFRB and DFRDB pensions. With your support, Australian veterans and their families will get the fair go they deserve.

In my electorate of Lyons, we estimate that there are up to 300 families that will be the beneficiaries of this legislation. These changes are more than justified. They recognise the unique nature of military service. Delivery of this legislation has been an article of faith for this government and I feel privileged to have been part of a government that has delivered for our veterans something that was so long overdue, and to be part of a government that keeps its commitments, in this case to our veterans and their families.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.