Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 46

Page 6

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Out in the shed with Ted


Ted McEvoy.


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A slap in the face for war veterans.


Indexation on the Service Pension, the TPI, other veterans disability pensions, the War Widows Pension, the Income Support Supplement and equivalent MRCA (Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act ) payments to be cut back.


We fought for ten years for fair indexation for the TPI Pension. We won concessions along the way and in 2007 we succeeded in having fair indexation applied to the whole pension. Now, because of those successes, the TPI Pension is worth some $5,000 a year more than it would have been without them.


In the recent Federal Budget it was announced that, in 2017, should the Coalition win the next election, that fair indexation will be stripped back to its previous unfair form. That means that over time, that hard won $5,000 extra a year will be eroded away. And the erosion will continue after that. And not only the TPI Pension will suffer. The Service Pension, other veterans’ disability pensions, the Income Support Supplement, the War Widows Pension and the equivalent MRCA payments will also have their fair indexation scrapped and replaced by unfair indexation.


This is a slap in the face for war veterans.


Present indexing of the Service, TPI, other veterans’ disability pensions, the Income Support Supplement, the War Widows Pension and equivalent MRCA payments keeps them abreast of community income standards. To put that another way, the present indexation method keeps pensioners up with Australia’s rising standard of living. Twice a year the percentage increase in the cost of living and the percentage increase in the average wage are calculated. In simple terms, the greater of these two increases is then applied to all those pensions and payments.


Say the cost of living in the previous six months rises by 1% and the average wage goes up 2%, then, in simple terms, these veterans’ pensions are increased by 2%. And nearly always the average wage rises more than the cost of living. This has been so for many, many years. It is why Australia’s living standard has been rising.

So if our pensions had not been able to mirror rises in the average wage they would be much less than they are now and would be falling further and further behind community income standards. But this is what will happen in 2017 should the Coalition win the next Federal election. Our pensions will be indexed only to cost of living increases, condemning them to fall further and further behind those community income standards.


Perhaps the government is hoping no-one will understand what is happening. After all the concept of ‘indexation’ is a complicated one and there will continue to be six monthly rises in the pension. So even though those rises will be less than they would have been, the government may hope the difference may not be noticed. But whether noticed or not, over time the degraded indexation compounds, and pensioners’ financial position deteriorates significantly.


But, I hear you say, our pensions are hardly lavish. Surely it would be a mean act to reduce their real value. Yes, it certainly would be a mean act. But that is what may happen. And it is not only ‘indexation’ which is under threat. ‘Thresholds’ are also to be attacked in 2017.


This attack will affect Part Service pensioners; that is those who have other income from wages, investments or military superannuation. Part Service pensioners are affected by a means-test free area. This is the amount of their own income they can receive before the means-test kicks in. Presently this is $156 a fortnight for singles. After that means-test free area, the Service Pension reduces by 50 cents for every extra dollar of income the Part Service pensioner receives. That means-test free area is presently indexed so that it rises in line with the cost of living. The Coalition, should it win office at the next election, will suspend those indexation increases for three years. Thus the Part Service pensioner’s income will not keep up with cost of living increases.


The Coalition will also suspend indexation increases for the assets test threshold and the deeming threshold, meaning those thresholds will not increase with increases in the costs of living. Once again, these suspensions will condemn Part Service pensioners’ incomes to fall behind rises in the cost of living.


It’s a way of reducing the value of the pension.


Perhaps the government may believe you wouldn’t notice because there will be no actual money decrease in your pension. It is just that increases that could have occurred to keep your income abreast of the rising cost of living, will not happen. As you can see these changes are insidious because they are complex and easily overlooked. But they matter, as they will seriously erode pensioners’ financial position over time.


There was a big fanfare in March 2014 with Coalition announcing the changes to military super pensions (e.g. DFRDB) indexation arrangements from the normal CPI indexation to 'align with age and veteran pension indexation arrangements' that are normally indexed in line with male AWOTE [average weekly ordinary time earnings]. That was really deceitful because at the same time they were crowing about their generosity to the vast majority of retired military individuals, they were drafting the budget that CUTS the age and vets pensions indexation arrangements to align with CPI not AWOTE. How deceitful it that!"


To put that in laywoman's terms, the Coalition made a big fuss about changing the way military personnel's pensions are indexed to be more generous, then in the budget the government quietly changed back to the old system. And we thought Tony Abbott was selling himself as the soldiers' friend.


You can read how the budget affects you HERE That the government would do this to its war veterans and war widows is disappointing.




New ADF Super scheme.


The Government is introducing new modern military superannuation arrangements for people joining the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The new arrangements will allow ADF members to choose which superannuation fund they belong to and, for the first time, give those members the ability to transfer their accumulated benefits to a new fund if they leave the ADF.


As part of these changes, the Government will establish ADF Super on 1 July 2016.


These new arrangements form an important part of the Government’s plan to provide flexible working conditions for all ADF members under Project Suakin, the ADF’s future workforce model.


ADF Super will apply to:


  • those joining the ADF from 1 July 2016; and

  • serving and returning members of the Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme who choose to join the new scheme.


Importantly, members of the Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme who are currently serving or who rejoin the ADF from 1 July 2016 can choose to stay in their current scheme, or to join ADF Super. There will be no compulsion to transfer to the new arrangements.


The current Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme will be closed to new members from 1 July 2016.


Under the new arrangements, the employer contribution rate will be 15.4 per cent, increasing to 18 per cent during periods of warlike service in recognition of the unique nature of military service.


There will be no requirement for ADF members to contribute to their superannuation under the new arrangements. This will provide greater flexibility for individuals in how they manage their finances at various stages of their working life.


Recognising that military service can be a dangerous undertaking, ADF members will continue to receive statutory cover for death and invalidity. Importantly, benefits under the new arrangements for these members will be the same as what exists under the current scheme. ADF Super will be established and managed by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, which is currently the trustee for the major Commonwealth schemes, including the current and past military superannuation schemes.


The introduction of modern superannuation arrangements for ADF members, combined with the delivery of new indexation for DFRB and DFRDB members, demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring appropriate superannuation arrangements are available to current and former ADF members.


The Government will work with ex-service organisations such as the RSL, Defence Force Welfare Association and Alliance of Defence Service Organisations to ensure the successful introduction of the new superannuation arrangements.


For those who may be interested, here is the LINK to the press release on the new ADF Super scheme to be introduced 1 Jul 2016




DVA Health care cards


The Government has announced some changes to the DVA Gold/White/Orange health cards. The changes are only minor and are more cosmetic than anything else so you have to wonder why make the changes in the first place.


In the table below, the current cards are on the left, the new look cards on the right.









The changes to the cards include:

  • the title on all of the cards is now, ‘DVA Health Card’;

  • the front of the card has the 100 years centenary of the ANZAC logo on a background of a field of poppies;

  • the DVA security hologram has moved to the front of the card providing greater visibility of this security feature;

  • the signature stripe on the back of the card is longer, allowing more room for a signature;

  • the magnetic stripe for a Gold Card is now gold, on the White Card this is now blue, while the Orange Card retains a black stripe; and

  • the cards are valid for six years now, instead of the previous four years.

If you hold one of the cards, you will receive one of the new ones sometime this month (June). If you have not received yours by mid July, contact DVA and let them know. There is no need to panic as your health care provider will continue to accept the old card until the expiry date shown on the card. Regardless, your entitlement to DVA funded health care services does not change.


When you get your new card, cut up your old card and destroy it and start using the new one.


If you live on the northern side of Brisbane, why not join

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Virgin Australia flew 13 flights in broken aircraft.


Ben Sandilands


Where on earth is CASA as well as Virgin Australia and the Minister for Aviation in relation to the shocking update by the ATSB in the case of a damaged 68 passenger ATR72 turbo-prop that was allowed to fly 13 times in scheduled service after a turbulence event on a Sydney-Canberra flight in February?


The core elements of the ATSB report show that Virgin Australia’s engineering contractor and the airline failed to identify and understand serious damage done to this aircraft in the turbulence event. The aircraft was then allowed to carry passengers for thirteen sectors in that state before an in-flight crisis five days later approaching Albury from Sydney where it was grounded after landing and where it remains to this day, pending repairs if indeed it can be repaired.


These are scandalous disclosures. No one in the general flying public in this country expects that a contract maintenance organisation could be so bad at its job that it failed to understand and identify the grave safety of flight issues apparent on the Virgin turbo-prop on 20 February. It is after all, what the maintenance provider is paid by Virgin to do, rather than scratch their heads and release the aircraft back into service.


It’s Virgin’s inescapable legal obligation to ensure that all aircraft are safe before flying. It didn’t ensure the safety of these 13 flights. It’s CASA’s role to enforce and maintain a safe level of oversight on airline operations and ensure that those who carry out aircraft maintenance are competent and effective.


It’s the Minister’s responsibility, particularly as the leader of the Nationals, to make sure that rural and regional air services, including those that fly him and his colleagues to and from Canberra, are safe. It’s called Ministerial responsibility.


How on earth did this situation arise with this aircraft, and what steps have been taken to ensure that whoever screwed up so badly, within Virgin, and within the contractor, never gets to imperil the safety of flight in this country in this manner again? This may seem harsh, but flight safety standards are by necessity harsh. The harsh reality is that 13 passenger loads were exposed to a broken aircraft, and that is intolerable. Read the ATSB document carefully HERE as it contains inferences and disclosures that are very disturbing.



Dear Mum and Dad,


I am well. Hope youse are too. Tell me big brothers Doug and Phil that the Army is better than workin' on the farm, tell them to get in bloody quick smart before the jobs are all gone! I wuz a bit slow in settling down at first, because ya don't hafta get outta bed until 6am. But I like sleeping in now, cuz all ya gotta do before brekky is make ya bed and shine ya boots and clean ya uniform. No bloody horses to get in, no calves to feed, no troughs to clean - nothin'!! Ya haz gotta shower though, but it’s not so bad, coz there's lotsa hot water and even a light to see what ya doing!


At brekky ya get cereal, fruit and eggs but there's no kangaroo steaks or goanna stew like wot Mum makes. You don't get fed again until noon and by that time all the city boys are buggered because we've been on a 'route march' - geez its only just like walking to the windmill in the bullock paddock!!


This one will kill me brothers Doug and Phil with laughter. I keep getting medals for shootin' - dunno why. The bullseye is as big as a bloody dingo's arse and it don't move and it's not firing back at ya like the Johnsons did when our big scrubber bull got into their prize cows before the Show last year! All ya gotta do is make yourself comfortable and hit the target - it's a piece of cake!! You don't even load your own cartridges, they comes in little boxes, and ya don't have to steady yourself against the rollbar of the roo shooting truck when you reload!


Sometimes ya gotta wrestle with the city boys and I gotta be real careful coz they break easy - it's not like fighting with Doug and Phil and Jack and Boori and Steve and Muzza all at once like we do at home after the muster.


Turns out I'm not a bad boxer either and it looks like I'm the best the platoon's got, and I've only been beaten by this one bloke from the Engineers, he's 6 foot 5 and 15 stone and three pick handles across the shoulders and as ya know I'm only 5 foot 7 and eight stone wringin' wet, but I fought him till the other blokes carried me off to the boozer.


I can't complain about the Army - tell the boys to get in quick before word gets around how bloody good it is.


Your loving daughter,








You can now use open, non-commercial street maps on your web site and applications. This is an alternative to Google Maps, MapQuest, and other mapping applications. This is a very handy tool if you want to email someone where you live and how to get there, and it's FREE.


You can access it here        http://www.openstreetmap.org






Spam is a common, and often frustrating, side effect to having an email account. Although you will probably not be able to eliminate it, there are ways to reduce it and changes to the Data Protection Act mean you should carry out a thorough check on all mail you receive.


Spam is the electronic version of 'junk mail'. The term spam refers to unsolicited, often unwanted, email messages. Spam does not necessarily contain viruses - valid messages from legitimate sources could fall into this category.


There are some steps you can take to significantly reduce the amount of spam you receive.


  • Don't give your email address out arbitrarily - Email addresses have become so common that a space for them is often included on any form that asks for your address, even comment cards at restaurants. It seems harmless, so many people write them in the space provided without realizing what could happen to that information. For example, companies often enter the addresses into a database so that they can keep track of their customers and the customers' preferences. Sometimes these lists are sold to or shared with other companies, and suddenly you are receiving email that you didn't request.


  • Check privacy policies - Before submitting your email address online, look for a privacy policy. Most reputable sites will have a link to their privacy policy from any form where you're asked to submit personal data. You should read this policy before submitting your email address or any other personal information so that you know what the owners of the site plan to do with the information.


  • Be aware of options selected by default - When you sign up for some online accounts or services, there may be a section that provides you with the option to receive email about other products and services. Sometimes there are options selected by default, so if you do not deselect them, you could begin to receive email from those lists as well.


  • Use filters - Many email programs offer filtering capabilities that allow you to block certain addresses or to only allow email from addresses on your contact list. Some ISPs offer spam "tagging" or filtering services, but legitimate messages misclassified as spam might be dropped before reaching your inbox. However, many ISPs that offer filtering services also provide options for tagging suspected spam messages so the end user can more easily identify them. This can be useful in conjunction with filtering capabilities provided by many email programs.


  • Don't follow links in spam messages - Some spam relies on generators that try variations of email addresses at certain domains. If you click a link within an email message or reply to a certain address, you are just confirming that your email address is valid. Unwanted messages that offer an "unsubscribe" option are particularly tempting, but this is often just a method for collecting valid addresses that are then sent to other spammers.


  • Disable the automatic downloading of graphics in HTML mail - Many spammers send HTML mail with a linked graphic file that is then used to track who opens the mail message - when your mail client downloads the graphic from their web server, they know you've opened the message. Disabling HTML mail entirely and viewing messages in plain text also prevents this problem.


  • Consider opening an additional email account - Many domains offer free email accounts. If you frequently submit your email address (for online shopping, signing up for services, or including it on something like a comment card), you may want to have a secondary email account to protect your primary email account from any spam that could be generated. You should also use a secondary account when posting to online bulletin boards, chat rooms, public mailing lists, or USENET so that you can get rid of it when it starts filling up with spam.


  • Don't spam other people - Be a responsible and considerate user. Some people consider email forwards a type of spam, so be selective with the messages you redistribute. Don't forward every message to everyone in your address book, and if someone asks that you not forward messages to them, respect their request.



Husband to wife: "Honey it's me. I don't want to alarm you but I was hit by a car as I was leaving the office. Paula brought me to the hospital. They have checked me over and did some tests and took some x-rays. The blow to my head was severe. Fortunately, it did not cause any serious internal injury. However, I have three broken ribs, I have a compound fracture in the left leg, and they think they may have to amputate my right foot."


Wife’s Response: "Who's Paula?"



SMS Shortcuts.



There is nothing more irritating than having a conversation with someone using text chat that you simply don't understand. Here are the most commonly used acronyms and what they mean.


4 = For.

2 = Too.

2Nite = Tonight

AFK = Away From Keyboard.

B4 = Before.

B4N = Bye For Now.

BBIAB = Be Back In A Bit.

BBL = Be Back Later.

BFF = Best Friends Forever.

BRB = Be Right Back.

BTW = By The Way.

CYA = See You.


FYI = For Your Information.

GF = Girlfriend.

GR8 = Great.

GTG = Got to Go.

ILY = I Love You.

IMHO = In My Honest Opinion.

IMO = In My Opinion.

IRL = In Real Life

K = Ok.

LOL = Laugh Out Loud.

LMAO = Laughing My Arse Off.



OMG = Oh My God.

PLZ = Please.

ROFL = Rolling on the Floor Laughing.

RUFR = Are You For Real.

THNX = Thanks.

TMI = Too Much Information.

TTYL = Talk To You Later.

TYVM = Thank You Very Much.

U = You.

WTF = What The F@#&.

YOLO = You Only Live Once.



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in Brisbane. 

Click HERE to see what's coming.



The Body.


The Human Body is a treasure trove of mysteries, one that still confounds doctors and scientists about the details of its working.


It's not an overstatement to say that every part of your body is interesting. Click HERE to see fifty surprising facts about your body.



When Miley Cyrus gets naked and licks a hammer it’s “art” and/or “music”

but when I do it I’m “drunk” and have to leave Bunnings.



DVA Concessions.


If you are a TPI you have access to some benefits not available to a standard Gold Card holder. One of these concessions is the benefit of not having to pay the GST on a new or second hand car purchase and/or replacement parts for that car. To claim this benefit you fill in and present the GST claim form (see HERE) to the seller of the car or the parts.


Presentation of this form will normally satisfy the seller who will deduct the GST from the selling price however some retailers are a little hesitant (as is their right) in accepting the form alone, especially on a large purchase like a new car and will ask for confirmation that you are in fact a TPI and that you are eligible for the concession.


Should this occur, contact your State DVA office and ask them to send you a confirmation letter as above (Click it for a bigger view). You can then present both to the seller and get your concession.


When/if you do get the confirmation letter from DVA, it is a good idea to keep a copy in the bottom drawer for future use.




Blessed are those who are cracked,

for they are the ones who let in the light!




Ok, Ok!! – I’m going back to my room now!!




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