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A Bill for an Act to provide for compensation payments in respect of veterans interned by North Korean military forces and to amend the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986, and for related purposes
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Introduced HR 01 Apr 2004

Veterans' Entitlements (Clarke Review) Bill 2004
First Reading

Veterans' Entitlements (Clarke Review) Bill 2004
First Reading

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2002-2003-2004

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Presented and read a first time

Veterans' Entitlements (Clarke Review) Bill 2004

No. , 2004

(Veterans' Affairs)

A Bill for an Act to provide for compensation payments in respect of veterans interned by North Korean military forces and to amend the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986, and for related purposes

Contents

Part 1--Preliminary       1

1       Short title 1

2       Commencement 2

3       Schedule(s) 3

Part 2--Compensation payments for North Korean internment       4

4       Definitions 4

5       Eligibility for compensation payment 5

6       Amount of compensation payment 5

7       Claims 5

8       Determination of claims 6

9       Death of eligible person 6

10       Application of certain provisions of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 6

11       Recovery of overpayments 6

12       Exemption from income tax 6

13       Assets test 7

14       Appropriation of Consolidated Revenue Fund 7

Schedule 1--Indexation of above general rate disability pensions       8

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986       8

Schedule 2--Defence Force Income Support Allowance       10

Part 1--Amendment of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986       10

Part 2--Amendment of the Social Security Act 1991       14

Schedule 3--Rent assistance for war widows and war widowers       15

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986       15

Schedule 4--Funeral benefits       18

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986       18

Schedule 5--Minesweeping and bomb/mine clearance service       19

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986       19

A Bill for an Act to provide for compensation payments in respect of veterans interned by North Korean military forces and to amend the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1--Preliminary

1 Short title

        This Act may be cited as the Veterans' Entitlements (Clarke Review) Act 2004.

2 Commencement

       (1) Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

Commencement information

Column
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1

Column 2

Column 3

Provision(s)

Commencement

Date/Details

1. Sections 1 to 14 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.


2. Schedule 1

20 March 2004.

20 March 2004

3. Schedule 2

20 September 2004.

20 September 2004

4. Schedule 3, items 1 to 13

1 January 2005.

1 January 2005

5. Schedule 3, item 14

The later of:

(a) 1 January 2005; and

(b) the commencement of item 45 of Schedule 1 to the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004.

However, the provision(s) do not commence at all if the event mentioned in paragraph (b) does not occur.


6. Schedule 4
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1 July 2004.

1 July 2004

7. Schedule 5

1 April 2004.

1 April 2004

Note:       This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally passed by the Parliament and assented to. It will not be expanded to deal with provisions inserted in this Act after assent.

       (2) Column 3 of the table contains additional information that is not part of this Act. Information in this column may be added to or edited in any published version of this Act.

3 Schedule(s)

        Each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

Part 2--Compensation payments for North Korean internment

4 Definitions

        In this Part:

Commission means the Repatriation Commission referred to in the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.

compensation payment means a payment under this Part.

designated war period means the period beginning on 27 June 1950 and ending at the end of 19 April 1956.

eligible person means a person who is eligible for a compensation payment.

interned means:

       (a) confined in a camp, building, prison, cave or other place (including a vehicle); or

       (b) restricted to residing within specified limits.

North Korean military forces means air forces, naval forces, land forces or other military forces of North Korea (however described).

partner, in relation to a veteran, means:

       (a) a person who is legally married to the veteran; or

       (b) a person who is a partner (within the meaning of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986) of the veteran.

Secretary means the Secretary of the Department.

social security law means:

       (a) the Social Security Act 1991; and

       (b) the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999; and

       (c) any other Act that is expressed to form part of the social security law.

veteran means a person covered by section 6C of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986, in so far as that section relates to item 1 of the table in Schedule 2 to that Act.

5 Eligibility for compensation payment

Veteran

       (1) A veteran is eligible for a compensation payment if the following conditions are satisfied:


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       (a) the veteran was alive at the beginning of 1 July 2003;

       (b) the veteran was interned by North Korean military forces at any time during the designated war period.

Partner of deceased veteran

       (2) A person is eligible for a compensation payment in respect of a deceased veteran if the following conditions are satisfied:

       (a) the person was alive at the beginning of 1 July 2003;

       (b) the veteran died before 1 July 2003;

       (c) the person was a partner of the veteran immediately before the veteran's death;

       (d) the veteran was interned by North Korean military forces at any time during the designated war period.

One payment only

       (3) A person is not entitled to more than one compensation payment.

6 Amount of compensation payment

        A compensation payment is a one-off payment of $25,000.

7 Claims

       (1) Claims for compensation payments must be made in accordance with procedures determined by the Secretary under subsection (2).

Note:       Compensation payments will be made automatically to those eligible persons the Department is aware of.

       (2) The Secretary may, in writing, determine the procedures for making claims.

8 Determination of claims

       (1) Claims are to be decided by the Commission.

       (2) A person who is dissatisfied with the Commission's decision on a claim may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of the decision.

9 Death of eligible person

        If an eligible person dies or died before receiving a compensation payment, then the payment is to be made to the person's estate.

Note:       A claim will still be required under section 7.

10 Application of certain provisions of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

        The following provisions of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 apply as if this Part were part of that Act:

       (a) subsection 119(1) and sections 128, 208, 213 and 214;

       (b) any other provisions of that Act that are incidental to the provisions mentioned in paragraph (a).

11 Recovery of overpayments

        Any overpayment under this Part may be recovered by the Commonwealth as a debt in a court of competent jurisdiction.

12 Exemption from income tax

        Compensation payments are exempt from income tax.

13 Assets test

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

       (1) The value of a person's assets for the purposes of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 is reduced by any compensation payment received by the person.

Social security law

       (2) The value of a person's assets for the purposes

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of the social security law is reduced by any compensation payment received by the person.

14 Appropriation of Consolidated Revenue Fund

        The Consolidated Revenue Fund is appropriated for the purposes of compensation payments.

Schedule 1--Indexation of above general rate disability pensions

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

1 Subsection 22(4)

Omit "increased by 50% of the maximum rate set out in subsection (3)", substitute "$433.65 per fortnight".

2 Paragraph 98B(1)(a)

Omit "a rate that had been increased under", substitute "the rate specified in".

3 Subparagraph 99(2)(a)(i)

Omit "increased", substitute "worked out".

4 Subparagraph 113(2)(b)(i)

Omit "increased", substitute "worked out".

5 Subsection 198(1)

Insert:

above general rate means the following rates:

       (a) the rate under subsection 22(4);

       (b) the rate under subsection 23(4);

       (c) the rate under subsection 24(4).

6 Subsection 198(1) (paragraphs (b) and (c) of the definition of relevant rate)

Repeal the paragraphs.

7 At the end of subsection 198(4) (before the note)

Add:

Note 1:       For indexation of each above general rate, see subsection (5E).

8 Subsection 198(4) (note)

Omit "Note", substitute "Note 2".

9 After subsection 198(5D)

Insert:

       (5E) This Act has effect as if, on the first day (the adjustment day) of each relevant period, there were substituted, for each above general rate, the rate worked out as follows:

Method statement

Step 1.       Work out the general rate on the adjustment day.

Step 2.       Work out the general rate on the day before the adjustment day.

Step 3.       Work out the above general rate on the day before the adjustment day.

Step 4.       Subtract the rate at step 2 from the rate at step 3.

Step 5.       Multiply the amount worked out at step 4 by the pension MBR factor specified in section 59LA (rounding the result up to the nearest $0.10).

Step 6.       Add the rate worked out at step 1 to the amount worked out at step 5: the result is the above general rate on the adjustment day.

10 Subsection 198(10)

After "relevant rate", insert "or an above general rate".

Schedule 2--Defence Force Income Support Allowance

Part 1--Amendment of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

1 After paragraph 5H(8)(f)

Insert:

       (g) a payment under Part VIIAB;

2 Subsection 5Q(1)

Insert:

Defence Force Income Support Allowance means Defence Force Income Support Allowance under Part VIIAB.

3 After Part VIIA

Insert:

Part VIIAB--Defence Force Income Support Allowance


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Division 1--Introduction

118N Simplified outline

        The following is a simplified outline of this Part:

This Part is about payment of the Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA).

The purpose of DFISA is to make a payment to a person whose payment under the Social Security Act has been reduced or not been payable because the person, or the person's partner, has been paid disability pension (within the meaning of this Part).

A person does not need to make a claim for DFISA: payment of it is automatic.

118NA Definitions

        In this Part:

disability pension means:

       (a) a pension under Part II or IV (other than a pension that is payable under section 30 to a dependant of a deceased veteran); or

       (b) temporary incapacity allowance under Part VI; or

       (c) a pension payable because of subsection 4(6) or (8B) of the Veterans' Entitlements (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 1986 (other than a pension payable in respect of a child).

partner has the same meaning as in subsection 4(1) of the Social Security Act.

Division 2--Payment of Defence Force Income Support Allowance

118NB Payment of Defence Force Income Support Allowance

        Defence Force Income Support Allowance is payable to a person if, on or after 20 September 2004:

       (a) disability pension is payable to the person or the person's partner; and

       (b) either:

       (i) the person qualifies, and makes a claim, for a social security payment (the primary payment) but, because of the disability pension, the primary payment is not payable to the person or the amount of the payment is reduced; or

       (ii) a social security payment (the primary payment) is payable to the person but, because of the disability pension, the amount of the payment is reduced.

Note 1:       For disability pension and partner see section 118NA.

Note 2:       For social security payment see section 5Q.

118NC When Defence Force Income Support Allowance is to be paid

        Defence Force Income Support Allowance is payable on pension payday.

Note:       For pension payday see section 5Q.

Division 3--Amount of Defence Force Income Support Allowance

118ND Amount of Defence Force Income Support Allowance

       (1) The amount of Defence Force Income Support Allowance for a person is worked out as follows:

Method Statement

Step 1.       Work out the amount (if any) of primary payment that is payable to the person on a day that is on or after 20 September 2004.

       Note: For primary payment see section 118NB.

Step 2.       Work out the amount (if any) of social security payment (the notional payment) that would have been payable to the person on that day if both of the following assumptions were made:


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       First assumption

       The first assumption is that the disability pension payable to the person or the person's partner were an excluded amount (see subsection (2)).

       Note: This will mean the disability pension will not be treated as income when calculating the notional payment.

       Second assumption

       The second assumption is that, if an amount of rent assistance was included in the primary payment, that amount were reduced (but not to less than nil) by the rent reduction amount.

       Note: For rent assistance and rent reduction amount see subsection (2).

Step 3.       Subtract the primary payment from the notional payment. The difference is the amount of the Defence Force Income Support Allowance.

       (2) In this section:

excluded amount means an amount that is not income for the purposes of the Social Security Act because of subsection 8(8) of that Act.

rent assistance has the same meaning as in the Social Security Act.

rent reduction amount is the amount that would be the person's income reduction under the Social Security Act if that income reduction were worked out by applying the same income test or ordinary income test that was used under that Act in calculating the primary payment, but applying that test on the basis that the disability pension were the person's only ordinary income for the purposes of that Act.

Part 2--Amendment of the Social Security Act 1991

4 At the end of paragraph 8(8)(y)

Add:

       or (x) Defence Force Income Support Allowance; or

5 Subsection 23(1)

Insert:

Defence Force Income Support Allowance means Defence Force Income Support Allowance under Part VIIAB of the Veterans' Entitlements Act.

Schedule 3--Rent assistance for war widows and war widowers

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

1 Subclauses 4(3) and (4) of Schedule 6

Repeal the subclauses.

2 Subpoint SCH6-A1(4) of Schedule 6 (after step 2 of method statement 3)

Insert:

Step 2A.       Work out the amount per year (if any) for rent assistance using MODULE C below.

3 Subpoint SCH6-A1(4) of Schedule 6 (step 5 of method statement 3)

Repeal the step, substitute:

Step 5.       Add:

       (a) the ceiling rate; and

       (b) any amount obtained under step 2A; and

       (c) any amount obtained under step 3; and

       (d) any amount obtained under step 4.

       The result is the revised rate.

4 Subpoint SCH6-A1(4) of Schedule 6 (step 6 of method statement 3)

Omit "ceiling" (wherever occurring).

5 Subpoint SCH6-A1(5) of Schedule 6 (after step 1 of method statement 4)

Insert:

Step 1A.       Work out the amount per year (if any) for rent assistance using MODULE C below.

6 Subpoint SCH6-A1(5) of Schedule 6 (after paragraph (a) of step 4 of method statement 4)

Insert:

       (aa) any amount obtained under step 1A; and

7 Subpoint SCH6-A1(6) of Schedule 6 (step 9 of method statement 5)

Repeal the step, substitute:

Step 9.       Work out the person's ceiling rate in accordance with points SCH6-A4 to SCH6-A9.

Step 9A.       Add:

       (a) the ceiling rate; and

       (b) any amount obtained under step 2; and

       (c) any amount obtained under step 3.

       The result is the increased rate.

8 Subpoint SCH6-A1(6) of Schedule 6 (step 10 of method statement

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5)

Omit "ceiling rate (see Step 9)", substitute "rate (see step 9A)".

9 Subpoint SCH6-A1(7) of Schedule 6 (after step 1 of method statement 6)

Insert:

Step 1A.       Work out the amount per year (if any) for rent assistance using MODULE C below.

10 Subpoint SCH6-A1(7) of Schedule 6 (after paragraph (a) of step 4 of method statement 6)

Insert:

       (aa) any amount obtained under step 1A; and

11 Point SCH6-C2 of Schedule 6

After "maximum basic rate" (wherever occurring), insert "or ceiling rate".

12 Point SCH6-C3 of Schedule 6

After "maximum basic rate", insert "or ceiling rate".

13 Point SCH6-C4 of Schedule 6

After "maximum basic rate" (wherever occurring), insert "or ceiling rate".

14 Point SCH6-C4A of Schedule 6

After "maximum basic rate", insert "or ceiling rate".

Note:       If item 45 of Schedule 1 to the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004 does not commence, this item does not commence at all. See item 5 of the table in subsection 2(1).

Schedule 4--Funeral benefits

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

1 Subsection 98B(2)

Omit "$572", substitute "$1,000".

2 Paragraph 99(4)(a)

Omit "$572", substitute "$1,000".

3 Subsection 100(2)

Omit "$572", substitute "$1,000".

4 Application

(1)       The amendments made by items 1 and 2 apply in relation to the deaths of veterans occurring on or after the commencement of those items.

(2)       The amendment made by item 3 applies in relation to the deaths of dependants occurring on or after the commencement of that item.

Schedule 5--Minesweeping and bomb/mine clearance service

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

1 Section 6 (after table item 4)

Insert:

4A

6DA

Operational service--minesweeping and bomb/mine clearance service

2 After section 6D

Insert:

6DA Operational service--minesweeping and bomb/mine clearance service

        A member of the Defence Force is taken to have been rendering operational service during any period of service in respect of which the member has been awarded, or has become eligible to be awarded, the Naval General Service Medal or the General Service Medal (Army and Royal Air Force) with the Minesweeping 1945-51 Clasp, the Bomb-Mine Clearance 1945-53 Clasp, the Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-49 Clasp or the Bomb and Mine Clearance 1945-56 Clasp.