Letter from President FNSA

15 July 2012 

The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister of Australia
Parliament House

My Dear Prime Minister, 

RE: Defence DFRB/DFRDB Superannuation Vs AMWE (Pensioners Indexation) 

On behalf of the 9,200 plus Members of the Federation of Naval Ship Associations, I draw your attention to the thousands, if not millions of words that have been written or spoken about on the lack of a Fair Indexation for Defence Force Superannuants. I have NO desire to add further comment to the written words of the Defence Force Welfare Assn including their “Fair Go Campaign” and hundreds of other retired defence personnel. However, I do wish to point out several aspects of this lack of Fair Indexation for DFRB/DFRDB Superannuants... 

In the past week or so I received my DFRDB Pension Update from the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation. This update (copy attached) revealed, during the past 6 months the CPI from Sep 2011 to March 2012 has increased by 0.1%. My update further goes on to advise me I will now receive the increased princely sum of $1.38 per fortnight or $0.69 cents per week. 

I have also read that you and your Government have agreed to provide a sum of $250 Million X 4 years to Afghanistan. Most of which will no doubt fall into the corrupt hands of Afghani politicians and officials. In addition, Australian Federal politicians have accepted a pay increase of approximately 3% last week. This would indicate an average, across the board increase, of some $6,000.00 PA (much more in Ministers and your own case). This is approximately 150 times my increase of 0.69 cents per week. Of course, this is in addition to a huge increase in federal politicians salaries awarded several months ago. Last but not least I note you have just announced the G20 Conference will be held in Brisbane in 2014 at a cost of $370 million. 

Prime Minister, all my Members and I want is some sense of fairness and social justice in our Superannuation Indexation. We are even going backwards very rapidly against the “Old Age Pension” which is indexed to the AMWE not the CPI. Your Minister for Finance rabided on last year about any increase to Defence DFRB/DFRDB Superannuants would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. What total and utter rubbish. Any expenditure to increase Defence Superannuants to parallel that of Aged Pensions is likely to cost around $20 Million PA. This would be for approximately 60,000 Defence Superannuants. Unlike your own recent pay increase which, I understand, will cost $20 Million PA for under 200 federal politicians. Where is the social justice in this from a Party who espouses “Social Justice for ALL” 

I now wish to comment on the “Crocodile Tears” which you and other high ranking politicians shed when attending the funerals of our gallant servicemen. Those who have paid the supreme sacrifice in either Iraq or Afghanistan, now totalling 33. I have little doubt that you do feel sorry on these difficult occasions however this is not reflected in your lack of superannuation commitment to our veterans and their widows.  As my second attachment states “Why should we give our leaders an eyes right” when you cannot or refuse to maintain Defence Superannuants with Fair Indexation at least equivalent to Aged Pensioners. I assume you; your Treasurer and Minister of Finance are frightened by a likely push from Commonwealth Public Service Superannuants in relation to fair indexation. Well, I have yet to see a Politician or Public Servant brought back home in a “body bag” and here lies the unique difference between military and other superannuants.  I again wish to advise you, that Australia has NO more loyal citizens than those who serve or have served in the Defence Forces of Australia. For this unswerving loyalty we are denied fair justice in our sunset years. Most DFRB/DFRDB recipients are getting old. Most, like me, served in Vietnam and yet we find ourselves behind politicians and aged pensioners in terms of a fair indexation to our Superannuation.  

I will not waste your time quoting or attaching the many hundreds of angry and frustrating emails I receive from my Members. Many aged and frail.  In view of your intransigence to even consider this “Penny Pinching” increase to Defence Superannuants, I sincerely regret you will NOT receive my vote next year.  Maybe when you are sitting dejected on the “Opposition Benches” next year you might reflect, what in excess of 60,000 Defence superannuants and in particular the 9,000 plus Members of the FNSA, residing in marginal seats, might have achieved for you. Fortunately the Leader of the Opposition has indicated he will approve our Indexation to match that of Aged Pensioners when he is elected next year. 

Finally, please DO NOT have Warren Snowdon’s minions write me yet another letter, explaining in “One Million Words” why we are not being aligned with the Aged Pensioner Indexation. I and 60,000 other DDRB/DFRDB recipients are just sick to death of hearing or reading the drivel coming from Snowdon’s Office (via the Minister). We just want your Government to get on and approve this travesty of justice  

I get physically ill when I think of the funds your Government expends and yet you cannot see a way clear to pass a Bill to align loyal Defence Superannuants with the same Indexation as Aged Pensioners.

 Yours in faithfully 

Commander Ken Swain AM RAN Rtd
Federation of Naval Ship Assns


The Hon Wayne Swan MP, Treasurer and Assistant Prime Minister
The Hon Warren Snowden MP, Minister for Veterans Affairs
Tony Abbott MHR, Leader of the Opposition


1.      DFRDB Payment Summary, reflecting an increase of .69 cents PW for Sep 2011-Mar 2012.

2.      Extract of email on “Cost of Politicians Pay Rise