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Minister attacks motion to increase Veterans disability pensions.

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Media Release

ALAN GRIFFIN MP Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Federal Member for Bruce MINISTER ATTACKS MOTION TO INCREASE VETERANS DISABILITY PENSIONS The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce Billson, in a media release today criticised the Opposition for moving a motion in regards to the indexation of pensions for our most severely disabled war veterans. Kevin Rudd will move the motion in the House after question time. The text of that motion is attached. Mr Billson has made it clear time and time again that he does not believe that our most severely disabled war veterans deserve a fairer method of indexation. Instead he has focused on telling the Veterans’ community that they have never been better off and already have it good enough. Labor has recently committed to Veterans’ initiatives relating to • The indexation of disability compensation for our most severely disabled war veterans • Increased suicide prevention measures • An inquiry into Suicide within the ex-service community • A study into the health of Children of Vietnam Veterans • A integrated mental health package for the ADF and ex-service community • An interdepartmental working group to reduce the administrative burden faced by veterans who have to deal with multiple public service agencies Sadly the Minister has refused to announce any of his policies in these areas, and instead has focused solely on criticising Labor’s actions on these issues. Mr Billson, with his negative and vitriolic attacks, is increasingly sounding like an opposition member rather than a Government minister. His exaggerated criticisms show just how out of touch and stale the Howard Government has become on Veterans’ Affairs. The Veterans’ community want a Minister who is prepared to put forth quality policy and engage in important debates. They do not want a Minister who is purely concerned with making desperate political attacks and staying in Government.

Our veterans deserve the very best support and compensation. At the very least they deserve to have their issues debated in Parliament. It is the Minister’s right not to speak on the motion. However, he should hardly be criticising the Opposition Leader for initiating this important debate in Parliament.

Labor will continue to be strong advocates for our most severely disabled war veterans.

Media Contact: Rod Hilton - 0403 831 179

Attachment: Kevin Rudd’s Notice of Motion



Mr Rudd — I give notice that at the next sitting I will move -

That the House:

(1) affirms its recognition of the sacrifices made by Australia’s veterans;

(2) accepts its obligation to ensure that veterans’ sacrifices are acknowledged and that benefits earned by veterans are paid to them on a just and fair basis;

(3) acknowledges in particular the plight of our most severely disabled veterans;

(4) acknowledges that the value of the Special Rate Disability Pension (TPI and TTI), Intermediate Rate and Extreme Disablement Adjustment Pensions have eroded under the Howard Government

(5) supports Labor’s policy to index the remaining portions of the above general rate disability pensions to movements in male total average weekly earnings, in recognition of the more severe work and lifestyle effects suffered by the recipients of these entitlements.