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Labor 'mean spirited' to vet partners.

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Senator Sue Boyce Queensland

Electorate Office: Level 9, 301 Coronation Drive, Milton, Qld

Telephone: (07) 3510 3100 Facsimile: (07) 3510 3111




Senator Sue Boyce, Senator for Queensland, has called the Rudd Government “mean spirited” for cutting the pensions of some veterans' partners.

The Community Affairs Committee report into the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Further 2008 Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2008 was tabled in the Senate today with Coalition Senators lodging a dissenting report.

The Rudd Government Bill, due to be introduced on Thursday, two days after Remembrance Day, would force the separated spouses or partners of veterans off the partner service pension and onto Centrelink programs such as Newstart, if they were under aged pension age.

Coalition senators, including Senator Boyce, said in their report that the measure should be scrapped because it was "mean spirited and a breach of faith with the veteran community".

"Numerous veterans, particularly from Vietnam, experience stress, disability and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of their war service—and so, unfortunately, do their families.

“This leads to a higher incidence of separation and divorce. Many submissions to our committee told of women who were worn out from caring for their partner or simply needed to leave home for their own safety and their children's.

"Now these partners are being told: 'If you leave, you have to get a job.' War service can't be treated just like any other occupation and the contribution of the partners who have helped to pick up the pieces must be recognised too," Senator Boyce said.

The Opposition will oppose the measure in the Senate.

Media contact: Yasmin Khan on 0419 025 510 or (07) 3510 3100