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Tuesday, 9 June 1970

Mr HAMER (Isaacs) - 1 can speak with some personal authority and sadness of the defects of the present Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act. Before I resigned from the Navy 2 years ago to stand for Parliament I had served in the Navy for 3 1 years. Yet my benefit from the Government after 31 years service was nothing, although I was given back my contributions less depreciation. This was entirely correct under the DFRB Fund rules because I resigned more than 11 years before the retiring age laid down. Although it was correct under the rules, they are bad rules. In fact, this unfairness was recognised when there were 2 spectacular resignations by officers of my rank. They were given substantial payments to which they were entitled in justice but to which they were not entitled under the DFRB Act.

The present Act is well intentioned, but good intentions are not enough. The DFRB Act does not fit the special needs of our fighting Services and is a major cause of dissatisfaction with conditions of service. It is pointless to tinker with the present Act. We need a special review of what we are trying to achieve with our defence forces retirement benefits and how best we can achieve it. We must not leave such a review to the Treasury. A select Committee is the only way I can see of achieving a radical review of the whole of the system, and I therefore support the purpose of the amendment.

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