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The changing pattern of eligibility for veterans' affairs pensions

Harrison, Arthur 1995 , 'The changing pattern of eligibility for veterans' affairs pensions', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The thesis follows the development of the ways by which successive
Australian Governments, from World War I onwards, have attempted to
provide a measure of compensation to veterans who suffered injury or
disease on war service, and to dependants of veterans whose death could
be related to war service.
Initially, purely local assessment and determination of claims within a
broad framework was applied, but lack of consistency around the country
forced the setting up of an entirely new department of government,
devoted to serving the ex-service community. Superimposed, in the
interest of fairness, was a multiple-level system of review and appeal in
a sequence of Boards, Tribunals and, eventually, the Federal Court and
High Court, with substantial involvement of lawyers appearing for
claimants or the government. As detailed assessment of the effects of
disease and injury are a matter for specialists, the medical profession has
also become deeply involved in the determination process, but with an
all too frequent display of diametrically opposed views on the
relationship, if any, of a particular veteran's present conditions and the
incomplete record of what happened to him during his time in the
Forces. As in other spheres of law, corroboration of a claimant's evidence
is highly desirable, but the sheer lapse of time, half a century in the case
now of World War II veterans, has made if often impossible to find
witnesses with a reliable memory and willing to sign a Statutory
Declaration. Increasingly, too, and especially in regard to certain
conditions, lack of direct evidence has been relieved by the use of
epidemiological data, whereby an acknowledged extra risk has been
usable to grant a claim, often long after the death of the veteran
concerned. Claims which are seen to lie at the extremes of acceptance or rejection are
relatively easy to assess. The inevitable doubt attached to border-line
cases are a different matter as shown by the detailed examples in the text.
Lest it be thought that the last word has been said on the subject, there is
now (June 1994) yet another piece of amending legislation before
Parliament, containing some provisions likely to be resisted by the ex-service
community. Finally, a plea is made for the abandonment of the present squabbling on
medical and legal grounds in favour of a two-tiered, but otherwise
universal, flat rate. Adjustment of actual rates of pension should enable
this approach to reach the usual objective of budgetary neutrality and is
suggested as likely to attract wide approval by those affected.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Harrison, Arthur
Keywords: Veterans, Military pensions, Survivors' benefits
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1995 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Leg.S.)--University of Tasmania, 1995. Includes bibliographical references

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