DISABLED VETERANS IGNORED IN FEDERAL ELECTION
Media Release - 30 October 2001
The National President of the Vietnam Veterans Association of
Australia, Mr Brian McKenzie said today, "The Association
welcomed the new initiatives by both the Liberal and Labor
parties in their pre-election Veterans Policy documents tabled
recently. Unfortunately many of the 'real issues' have been
Responding to the tabling by the Liberal and Labor parties of
their Veterans Affairs policies Mr McKenzie said that no
attention has been paid to the discrimination that exists towards
some widows of younger veterans whereby they are unable to access
supplementary income until reaching 57 years of age despite many
nursing their disabled spouses to the very end.
Then there are the issues of servicemen and women who are
totally and permanently incapacitated who have been requesting
the government to review their payments. Many are doing it tough
because their compensation payments are being continually eroded
due to the lack of effective indexing.
Compensation payments to 25,000 disabled veterans continue to
be eroded because of inaction to ensure their standard of living
and quality of lifestyle is maintained. Some 11,000 Vietnam
Veterans are affected and continue to suffer.
Given the current war on terror and the commitment of
Australian Forces to this global conflict I call on the Prime
Minister to put in place a process whereby those disabled
veterans returning are given adequate compensation that is not
subject to ongoing erosion. Disabled veterans have paid a
significant price in the service of their country and the
government of the day has moral responsibility to ensure that
their living standards are maintained; Mr McKenzie said.
Promises of action, reviews and investigations at election
time are too often forgotten when the event is over. The reviews
that have been promised by the Government and Opposition must
include the erosion of payments for disability compensation and
changes to the Veterans Entitlement Act that deny many veterans
their proper entitlements, Mr McKenzie said.
Mr McKenzie called on all political parties to put the welfare
of all in the veteran community first before political expediency
and any vote grabbing exercise.
Media Contact: Brian McKenzie 0439 030 429