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Re(1): Publicity D F R B

I wrote this letter to the PM last Monday, still awaiting a reply, starting to turn blue from holding my breath.

Sorry, bit of a long read, but needed it to cover the whole gambit:

11 February 2019

The Right Honourable Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister of Australia
Parliament House

Subject: Federal Government charges Veterans fee in return for

Dear Prime Minister,

As you would be aware, since 1948, upon retirement from the Defence Force after 20 or more years Military service, Veterans were OFFERED an entitlement to Commute part of their ‘retirement pay’, that is, take an ADVANCE LUMP SUM PAYMENT of their future pay in return for a reduction in ‘retirement pay’ in accordance with the DFRDB Act 1973, Section 24.

In recent years many Defence Force Veterans, who were ‘offered’ and accepted Commutation under the ORIGINAL DFRDB Act 1973, HAVE REACHED, OR EXCEEDED, THEIR LIFE EXPECTANCY AGE.

It is only then these affected Veterans have been made aware their ‘retirement pay’ WILL NOT REVERT BACK TO THEIR FULL ENTITLEMENT.

I forward this information on behalf of the 55,000+ DFRDB entitled recipients, particularly the elderly who are not computer, internet or social media literate.

Affected Veterans have been contacting their local Federal Government elected representatives, pointing out this unfair, unjust anomaly requesting the Government SUPPORT THEIR ‘OLDER’ VETERANS by amending the DFRDB Act 1973 Legislation, RESTORING ‘RETIREMENT PAY’ TO THEIR FULL ENTITLEMENT upon reaching their Life Expectancy Age, DEBT repayment date.

Personally, when my local Federal Member, Bert Van Manen MP was first approached for assistance on 29th September 2016, he had no knowledge of this iniquitous anomaly. His initial reaction was openly dismayed that Veterans have been FORCED to continue on reduced ‘retirement pay’ even though the advance lump sum payment had been fully repaid!!!!!!!!.

Being a former Financial Advisor, he comprehended the norm, once any financial debt has been recompensed to the source, repayments would cease.

Obviously, when Bert, or his office, approached the office of the Minister for Veteran Affairs to address this anomaly MY LOCAL MEMBER’S EMPATHY EVAPORATED in accordance the Coalitions current stance on this matter.

Affected Veterans do not want to detract from the excellent work the Federal Government is undertaking for current and recently discharged military personnel, particularly in relation to mental health and transition to civilian employment initiatives, but the ‘older’ Veterans are also suffering.

Responses from the Veterans correspondence has resulted in Minister for Veteran Affairs, Darren Chester, rejecting ANY CHANGES to the Legislation, instead, endeavouring to BLAME veterans, claiming they:
• “agreed” to accept Commutation in return for PERMANENT reduced ‘retirement pay’ and
• Veterans ‘misunderstood’ their entitlement.

Minister Chester’s comments are FLAWED and mislead THE GENERAL PUBLIC, in that:
• Veterans DID NOT “agree” to accept a permanent reduced ‘retirement pay’ entitlement.
o The Govt or DFRDB Board CANNOT locate ANY ‘agreement’ from ANY affected Veterans CONFIRMING verbal, or written documentation was provided, acknowledged, or signed consenting to accept a PERMANENT reduction in retirement pay entitlement in EXCHANGE for accepting an ADVANCE LUMP SUM Payment.
• Veterans ‘misunderstood’ their entitlement.
o Veterans DID NOT misunderstand their entitlement, in accordance with the DFRDB Act 1973.


The Government has even offered the argument, “there is NO MENTION of pay returning to full entitlement” therefore Veterans have misunderstood their entitlement.

That argument is FLAWED, in that THERE is NO PRECEDENT for the Government to assume that, upon receiving a LUMP SUM ADVANCE of entitled ‘retirement pay’ over a SPECIFIED REPAYMENT PERIOD, the DEBT, having been fully REPAID, affected Veterans ‘retirement pay’ would NOT revert back to full entitlement.

The DFRDB Board, a Government Entity, is CULPABLE in offering an ‘entitlement’ to Veterans resulting in FINANCIAL LOSS to said Veterans and FINANCIAL GAIN TO THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA without FULL DISCLOSURE of the financial LIFE TIME IMPOST the ‘entitlement’ inflicted on affected Veterans.

Effectively, these Veterans, having reached their Life Expectancy Age, ARE NOW PAYING the COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA a ‘fee’, and in return, NOT RECEIVING ANY ‘BENEFIT’ OR ‘ENTITLEMENT’ for said ‘fee’!!!!!!!!!!

Prime Minister, in light of the recent Financial Services Royal Commission findings the Federal Government appears to be contravening its own Governance by NOT APPLYING THE SAME STANDARD as your Government to the Royal Commission Terms of Reference.

Would this Legislation stand up to scrutiny under the same Terms of Reference, of course deleting the reference material exempting Government Entities? It certainly does not meet community standard and expectations or in the best interest of those members.

There is currently a large social media campaign (closed group) where affected members have posted stories where media, both print and TV, have aired our concerns. FYI, have a look at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-30/defence-force-retirement-benefits-shortfall-veterans-action/10760352?WT.ac=statenews_qld&fbclid=IwAR0MjVNbn8cJBm_rWCr2aJTC3djaTJ7M3VKDhq9vMJP3oeK6pZit6CBqmyE

I appreciate your very busy schedule. I have just finished watching your appearance at the Canberra Press Club, and as usual espousing to the general public the ‘great work’ our Defence Force members do. To the ‘older’ Veterans, affected by this current Legislation, those words actually appear hollow. We were the ones having done that ‘great work’ all those years ago, myself included, in Darwin after Cyclone Tracy 1974, where I was stationed at the time, Honiara Cyclone Relief in April 1982, Charleville Flood Relief in May 1989 as a RAAF C-130E Loadmaster at No. 37 Squadron. The same squadron you fly with in the MEAO on your visits there.

I would also appreciate YOUR timely response, prior to COB this Friday, 15th February.
• Will the Coalition make a commitment prior to calling the election to restore Commutation recipients ‘retirement pay’ back to their full entitlement upon reaching their Life Expectancy Age?

Sir, it is not a hard question to answer, either Yes or No.

Non response by the stipulated requested time will leave little alternative other than affected members, Australia wide, disseminating a copy of this letter to EVERY NEWS MEDIA OUTLET, noting the lack of response/commitment, so the public can judge the Federal Government’s lack of support to these ‘older’ veterans and the current Legislation that benefits the Commonwealth at the expense of those Veterans.

Yours faithfully, awaiting a timely response

Colin G Coyne
Disadvantaged DFRDB Commutation recipient
Constituent of the electorate of FORDE


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