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Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Page: 4682

Senator RONALDSON (Victoria) (15:13): As much as I like Senator Moore, that speech bore absolutely no relevance to either the response of the Minister for Foreign Affairs or the response of Senator Johnston. Senator Carr clearly had no idea what DFRDB is—none at all. He probably knows by now because he is back in his office. He did not attempt to answer that question at all. He read from a brief which had been passed to him by someone else. Again, we have the repetition and the reinforcement today that the Australian Labor Party do not support the coalition's view on changing the DFRDB indexation. We know, again as a result of today, that the only way those DFRDB and DFRB recipients are going to get an appropriate indexation of their pensions is by a change of government. That was reinforced today. The minister made no attempt to answer my question in relation to the impact of the carbon tax on military superannuants. Some 57,000 superannuants and their families will receive no compensation for the carbon tax. That was quite clear from Minister Carr's answer today, or lack of answer, because if it were otherwise he had the perfect opportunity to set the record straight. They will be getting no compensation. So on 1 July 57,000 Australians and their families will get the double-whammy. They only get the six monthly CPI increase and not the full suite of indexation options that the coalition will provide, and they get no compensation at all.

Regarding Minister Carr, I would just make this comment. Every other minister in this place walks in with two armfuls of briefs. This minister, who has the responsibility of representing the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel and the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, walks in with a folder that fits under one arm—no weight at all. And he gives no weight to his responsibilities. He swans around this place as an esoteric show pony. He is not doing his job and he deserves to have someone sit down and tell him that he just does not swan in here and then swan overseas and not accept any responsibility for the matters for which he has representative responsibility.

I want to turn in the time left open to me to a quite remarkable speech given by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs in the other place on 31 May. In a remarkable contribution, the Minister for Veterans' Affairs suggested that it was illogical that we the coalition pursue fair indexation of pensions. I do not have the time to go through this quote, but what the minister did was to take an example of a colonel equivalent who retired in 2010 after 35 years of service and then frame his whole debate around a superannuation payment of $59,000 per year. What he said was:

You might tell me what the logic is here. What is the logic of equating a superannuation payment of $59,000 per year to the age pension?

Well, we have equated military super­annuation to the age pension. We have equated it to the service pension. What the minister failed to do was to tell the other place that he had inflated by 250 per cent the average payment under the DFRDB and the DFRB. It was an absolutely and totally duplicitous use of an example that he should have known, and did know, was not an example of the average amount of the DFRDB or the DFRB. It was a deliberate attempt to mislead the other chamber by a minister who leads a government and who fails to accept that what is happening to military superannuants at the moment is grossly unfair.

In the 28 seconds left to me, I will again repeat that I do not care what Senator Moore and others say about further discussion taking place on this matter, because quite frankly no-one believes them. No-one believes the Australian Labor Party because 12 months ago in this chamber the Australian Labor Party and the Greens had the opportunity to provide fair indexation to military superannuants and they failed to do so.