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Howard Government must act to fix military compensation.



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MEDIA RELEASE

Graham Edwards MP Federal Labor Member for Cowan Parliamentary Secretary for Defence

10 May 2002

HOWARD GOVERNMENT MUST ACT TO FIX MILITARY COMPENSATION

The Howard Government must immediately introduce legislation to fix the current military compensation scheme.

“For three years the Howard Government has deliberately stalled changes to the military compensation scheme, to the detriment of service personnel and their families,” said Graham Edwards, Shadow Defence Parliamentary Secretary.

“Following a Government review in 1999 the Parliament was told that a new military compensation scheme would be introduced. The ALP gave in principle support to a new scheme dependant on the detail.

“That new scheme was deliberately shelved by former Minister for Defence Peter Reith. The necessary legislation is not even on the program to be introduced this year.

“As part of the changes needed, the Government must urgently review the amount of compensation paid to the families of service personnel in the event of them being killed or injured in the line of duty.

“Rather than defending the current system, the Prime Minister should be fulfilling his Government’s commitment to fix it.

“The truth is that a new deal on compensation for service personnel was promised immediately after the Black Hawk disaster yet we are still waiting.

“John Howard has been very keen to talk up a khaki budget based on border protection and the war against terrrorism, but is failing to act with some compassion and real care for the men and women who have to fight the fight, and for their families who wait at home.”

For comment: Graham Edwards - 0418 952 162