Click below to view a YouTube, which shows Senator Lambie talking to Tasmanian War Veteran Marcus Saltmarsh who is calling on fellow Veterans to take the opportunity of a special Senate Inquiry into DVA and make an official written submission – or ask to personally appear and make an oral statement to the Senate committee.
JLN Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie during the last sitting of Parliament spoke with Tasmanian war Veteran Marcus Saltmarsh (and Frank Davies - assistance dog) about the need for Veterans and their families to make official submissions to the Senate Committee which is investigating the causes of Veterans’ suicides and their treatment by the Government’s Department of Veterans Affairs.
Senator Lambie and Mr Saltmarsh urge all Veterans and their family members who want to make an official submission to visit the following federal government website:
Senator Lambie’s YouTube conversation with Tasmanian Veteran Marcus Saltmarsh is as follows:
DVA Senate Inquiry - Veteran's call for Submissions Jacqui: So Marcus tell me why it’s important that veterans and their families put in submissions for the special inquiry into Veterans Affairs.
Marcus: Well Jacqui, most Australians and veterans would be aware that there are problems in the Departments of Veterans of Affairs, the only way the problems can be fixed and the Department of Veterans Affairs can be remediated is if veterans and their families become active participants and lodge a submission.
Jacqui: So Marcus you have been through the Veterans Affairs system, what’s wrong with Veterans Affairs, why do we need an inquiry?
Marcus: The inquiry into the Department of Veterans Affairs is needed for many reasons, the fundamental issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs are many and diverse the claims system is over complicated, veterans are unable to access the appropriate level of care, there’s legislation that has been passed previously that is so complicated that barely a person in the Department of Veterans Affairs can even explain it. The um, There is no greater indicator that there is problems in Veterans Affairs than the tragic fact that 44 veterans have committed suicide alone this year.
Jacqui: Well Marcus you have served in three different conflicts you’ve done Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor so does that mean you get less than a digger that’s served in one conflict?
Marcus: Yes, because I served in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan I receive less compensation than somebody who has served in one conflict under one act and this is a topic I look very forward to speaking about in great detail during the special senate committee.
Jacqui: So because you’re under three different acts does that mean you actually came out with less?
Marcus: I am covered under three different Department of Veterans Affairs acts, because I served in three different conflicts over the length of around a twenty year career, those three acts mean that effectively my compensation is reduced by about 700 per cent.
Jacqui: So Marcus we have had three Ministers for Veterans Affairs up here and I have called them for what they are, DUDS, what do you think is wrong with the senior management of Veterans Affairs?
Marcus: Well Jacqui, there is something wrong at the Department of Veterans Affairs, there is a culture that is not that dis-similar to an insurance company mentality, there seems to be some real hesitation in dealing with the systemic problems and many of the government’s policies seem to be focused on providing band aid solutions when real reform is what’s really needed. I know that there are many people at the Department of Veterans Affairs, who work there who are also very unhappy with the performance of Veterans Affairs.
Jacqui: So when it comes to compensation and entitlements, would it be fair to say that veterans are not getting the same deal as public servants?
Marcus: That’s absolutely correct Jacqui, veterans don’t ask for much they just want to be treated with fairness and with decency they shouldn’t have to fight the Department of Veterans Affairs after they have been overseas fighting in our national interest. To be a defence force veteran shouldn’t mean that when you come home that you join an underclass within society.
Jacqui: Is it true to say that the veterans would rather face the Taliban than the Department of Veterans Affairs?
Marcus: Every day of the week, isn’t that right Frank?
Frank: WOOF WOOF WOOF