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Labor and Independents fail to support our vets



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HON BOB BALDWIN MP MEMBER FOR PATERSON SHADOW MINISTER FOR TOURISM SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEDIA RELEASE 22 August 2012

LABOR AND INDEPENDENTS FAIL TO SUPPORT OUR VETS

Bob Baldwin, the Member for Paterson, was the only MP from the Hunter to vote for an important Coalition amendment that would have seen Veterans pensions indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) like aged service pensions.

Australia’s 57,000 military superannuants will now be denied a fair pension benefit because of Labor’s failure to understand the issues facing our veterans.

In a heartfelt speech to Parliament Mr Baldwin spoke of the importance of supporting our veterans and acknowledging the sacrifices that they have made for Australia.

Local Labor members Greg Combet, Joel Fitzgibbon, Sharon Grierson, and Jill Hall refused to support the bill along with independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott. Rob Oakeshott saw fit not to attend the debate instead deciding to vote down the bill in his absence.

Mr Baldwin recognised that many veterans suffer not only physical scars but psychological scars long after the guns have fallen silent.

Mr Baldwin made reference to his Vietnam Veterans Day speeches he made in Medowie and Forster last week and paid tribute to Australia’s most recent casualty Sergeant Blaine Diddams, whose parents reside at Pacific Palms in his electorate.

Sergeant Diddam’s father, Col. Peter Diddams (ret.), himself a Vietnam Vet, told Mr Baldwin to look after our troops and honour all our veterans.

Bob Baldwin said he had also received many letters and emails from veterans regarding the paltry increase in their DFRDB pensions this year including one from Dave in Medowie: “I notice from the news that Federal MP’s will receive a 3% pay increase (which is the second in 3 months). This news came to me the same day that that I was advised from DFRDB that my pension would increase by 0.1% (for the year). How is it that your pay increases by a factor of 30 times compared to mine?”

“It is not acceptable for Parliamentarians to bestow upon itself pay increases without looking after those veterans such as Dave. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Australia’s service personnel, past and present, deserve to live out their lives in the knowledge that this nation will ensure they have financial security.” Mr Baldwin said

Media Contact: Brett Sundell M: 0423000826