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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 12165

Coalition Extends Veterans Recognition, Care and Compensation

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/10/2001

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 12165

Today the Government reaffirms its commitment to the nation’s veterans.

As Australia readies itself for the fight against international terrorism, we are inevitably reminded of those who fought earlier wars. Our sense of gratitude is reflected in the world’s most comprehensive repatriation system. The policy I release today, Supporting Those Who Served, is designed to protect and extend this system.

In recognition of those veterans who were exposed to the unique hardships and deprivation of combat in conflicts after World War Two, a re-elected Coalition Government will extend the Gold Card to include comprehensive free health care for all Australian veterans of 70 years of age or over with qualifying service.

We will also scrap Labor’s decision to freeze the war widows’ Income Support Supplement (ISS) at $124.90 per fortnight. Since 1986, this freeze has adversely affected 85,000 war widows on income support. A re-elected Coalition Government will index the ISS to increases in Male Total Average Weekly Earnings or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is greater.

Our commitment to index the ISS, together with our policy announced in the last budget to restore the pension rights of war widows who had their pensions cancelled when they chose to remarry, will remedy Labor’s ungracious treatment of war widows.

I am also aware of concerns among some groups of ex-servicemen and women that they may have a claim to entitlements under the Veterans’ Entitlement Act but are currently denied access to these generous benefits because of perceived anomalies in the determination of qualifying service.

These groups could include some World War II Veterans without qualifying service, Veterans of the British Occupational Force of Japan, participants of British atomic testing in Australia and servicemen engaged in counter terrorist and special recovery training.

Accordingly, a third term Coalition Government will initiate an independent review to consider anomalies within the eligibility criteria for veterans’ entitlements. This review will be conducted in close consultation with the ex-service community.

Supporting Those Who Served will ensure our Repatriation System remains the most generous in the world.

Impact on the Forward Estimates  2002-03   2003-04  2004-05   2005-06     Total
Unfreezing the Income Support Supplement    2.5 12.5 25.3 30.0 70.3
Gold Card to ADF in post WWII conflicts aged 70+
and with qualifying service  
15.7 17.8 20.0 20.0 73.5
Total 18.2 30.3 45.3 50.0 143.8



13 October 2001

Transcript 12165