Veterans owe more than gratitude: PM

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called on Australians to “stand up” for the country’s veterans, saying they owe more than just thanks for their service.

In a speech at the Australian War Memorial marking the Last Post Parliamentary ceremonies, Albanese said the country’s former defense personnel deserve better.

“Just as our veterans have given us, we must rise for them,” he said on Monday.

“We owe them a debt greater than mere gratitude.”

The prime minister spoke of how the silence that was observed to honor the dead should be a lesson to humanity in the horrors of war, saying that veterans can also find solace in it.

“For many veterans, silence is also a shield against the world—an external stillness while within them, the cacophony of war rages,” he said.

The comments come on the heels of the federal government’s announcement of a tax reimbursement to ensure veterans do not have to pay higher income tax due to the 2020 federal court ruling.

Douglas’ decision found that some of the Defense Force retirement and death benefit disability pension payments and the Military Retirement Benefit Plan are gross retirement amounts for income tax purposes, not pension income benefits.

“This will reverse the higher year-end tax obligations that would have occurred for some of these veterans,” Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said.

“This compensation will be for those veterans who were adversely affected by the court’s decision… which began on or after September 20, 2007, and will apply retroactively as well as prospectively.”

The legislation would also extend these changes to spouse or child pensions paid after the death of a member of the two systems affected by the court’s decision.

Submissions to the Treasury on bills are open until August 5.

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