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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 85

Senator Chris Evans asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 13 April 2004:

(1) (a) What investigations, if any, are being conducted into claims by various individuals and media outlets that military pensions have been awarded to members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) who were medically discharged, where the condition that led to their discharge was shown later to have been diagnosed erroneously; and (b) for each investigation: (i) what is the scope of the investigation, (ii) who is conducting the investigation and to whom do they report, (iii) when is the investigation expected to be completed, and (iv) will the results of the investigation be made public; if so, when.

(2) Is the Minister aware that there is no mechanism or system that requires the department to automatically notify ComSuper of any change in status of a person who was discharged from the ADF (for example, under regulation 99 of the Defence (Personnel) Regulations 2003).

(3) Is the Minister seeking advice as to whether an automatic review of a person's entitlement to receive the invalidity pension under the Military Superannuation Benefits Scheme should occur where it is found that the medical diagnosis that caused their defence service to be terminated was apparently incorrect.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) (a) Defence does not investigate unsubstantiated claims in the media. Defence is not conducting any general investigations into such allegations. However, Defence is undertaking an investigation into the circumstances where a former Royal Australian Navy (RAN) member was medically discharged. This is currently the subject of a claim for damages that the former member has made against the Commonwealth.

(b) Given the circumstances to (1) (a) above, it is not appropriate to provide the detail requested.

(2) Yes, there is no statutory provision that requires the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to notify ComSuper of any variation in the reason for discharge of a former ADF member made under Regulation 99 of the Defence (Personnel) Regulations 2002. Under current arrangements ComSuper is, however, notified of such a decision by the ADF.

(3) No.