by Dino De Marchi
It was a pleasure to attend with veteran Fred Cullen OAM, President of the Ivanhoe sub branch, the recently concluded State Conference of the RSL.
Four important motions in particular were passed which increased potential benefits for entitled veterans:
The Payment of all hearing aids for entitled veterans. In the past the department of veteran's affairs only approved more economical aids for entitled veterans. The gap between more proficient hearing aids had to be met by individual veterans.
The generous standard of proof of a reasonable hypothesis has over the years been watered down by Federal court decisions. A motion to ensure that traumatic events and the relationship to operations service are dealt with by the generous standard of section 120 (1) of the Veteran's entitlement's act was passed by the conference.
Section 24 of the Veteran's entitlement's act deals with special rate pensions. These are various substantial pensions. The 100% general rate pension amounts to $440.00 per fortnight. The special rate pension is in excess of $1200.00 per fortnight. Previously the difference between a veteran who is entitled to a special pension and a veteran who is not entitled depended on chance events, making the law unfair in the case of some veterans. The remit would replaced the requirement of being prevented from working by war-caused injuries or diseases 'alone' with 'substantially', and clarifying under what circumstances one must seek work and under what circumstances one does not have to seek work due to their war-caused incapacity to work.
The question of matters being determined on a substantial merits of the case without regard to legal technicalities was also discussed and passed by the conference.
If the above motions are taken up by the National executive of the RSL later in the year and pushed as important issues for legislative amendment, veterans should see an improvement in their entitlement determinations.
It is again a pleasure to advance the cause of veterans and I look forward to your comments.
Dino De Marchi