Question Responses

Question Responses

she following questions were submitted via the online question portal before 4:30pm on Thursday 20 April in advance of the 2017 RSL (Queensland Branch) State Congress:



QUESTION ONE

I refer to the State By_Law  No 13. We have served fought died and made commitments that is greater than the general public, to maintain freedom of speech. However, By_Law 13 denies these very members that right.
I request that this be addressed before it becomes public and before about 70 % of our members who are ignorant of the situation, become aware of it.

Submitted by a member of Caloundra Sub Branch Inc.
 

ANSWER

By-Law 13 has been in place since 2012. The purpose of this By-Law is to ensure that communication to the media on RSL issues is the responsibility of the State President, CEO or, during their absence, the Deputy President. This is normal practice for large organisations. The State Board has the ability to authorise others to comment with the approval of the Board.
 


QUESTION TWO

At last year’s conference, the RSL brand was discussed at length.
Part 1 - Why can't can we go to electronic letterhead instead of paper letterhead, which can be locked by State Office and amendments could be made by request.
Part 2 - Request is sought to see what the TOTAL COST was for letterhead production for the 12-month period (Jan 16 - Dec 16) prior and if possible the cost benefit analysis if we went to electronic letterhead.

Submitted by a member of Mackay Sub Branch Inc.
 

ANSWER

During the 2014 re-branding, RSL (Queensland Branch) designed electronic letterhead templates and made them available to all RSL (Queensland Branch) Sub Branches. 
All District Secretaries have copies of the stationery in various digital formats which they can easily customise for each individual Sub Branch.
 


QUESTION THREE

Why was the audit into RSL (QLD) not released to Sub Branches?
I believed we had a transparent and open policy of governance?
A summary of the audit should have been made available OR, at the very least, an acceptable reason provided why it wasn't released
 
Submitted by a member of Ashgrove District Sub Branch.
 

ANSWER

RSL (Queensland Branch) undertakes a financial audit at the completion of each financial year as part of our statutory requirements. The results of these are communicated to members via the annual report where the auditors’ sign-off is visible, but any working papers of the auditors themselves are not made available to members.

 

QUESTION FOUR

If an ex service personnel who is on a disability pension separates from their partner, is their disability pension divided equally?
If this is the case, is RSL (Queensland Branch) taking appropriate action to lobby the government and represent the Veterans’ best interests.

Submitted by a member of Bray Park-Strathpine Sub Branch Inc. 
 

ANSWER

Ex-servicemen and women who receive a class A or class B disability payment under the Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme are currently having those payments considered as part of the asset pool by the Family Court during divorce proceedings.

RSL (Queensland Branch) considers this unacceptable, as these are reviewable payments (not a lifetime pension), and are designed to support the serviceperson who was medically discharged from the ADF because they were physically incapable of working due to injury or illness – a situation that does not change if the person divorces.

DVA does not split Disability Pension payments on receipt of any notification that a veteran and partner have split, however, once a payment is made into a person’s bank account, that money no longer has the legal character of pension or compensation; instead it has then become the property of the recipient and is no different, legally, from any other money belonging to that person.

The protection provided by provisions relating to inalienability is that a creditor of the person to whom the pension or compensation is paid cannot obtain a Court order to require the Commonwealth to pay some or all of the pension or compensation directly to the creditor or to the Court.

These provisions do not prevent a Court (in particular the Family Law Court) taking into account the fact that the person is being paid a certain amount regularly by way of pension compensation under the VEA, SRCA or MRCA in determining what their financial situation is and how much they can reasonably afford to pay a third party.

The only substantive effect of the provisions relating to inalienability is to prevent the Court ordering the Commonwealth to make those payments directly to the Court or to a third party.

 

QUESTION FIVE

Please explain if any the effects of the federal government's latest legislation concerning deeming of super with regard to this affecting war widows future pension entitlements etc.
 
Submitted by a member of Currumbin/Palm Beach Sub Branch Inc.
 
ANSWER
RSL (Queensland Branch) can confirm that income stream deeming changes have no effect on clients who are only receiving the War Widows Pension.
The changes may affect the Income Support Supplement.
  • The account-based pension, allocated pension and transition to retirement pension payment a client receives, minus a deduction, is assessed as income.  The deduction calculation represents the return of the purchase price over the term of the income stream.
  • Account-based pensions, allocated pensions and transition to retirement pensions are assessed this way if they have a commencement date prior to 1 January 2015 and the owner has been in continuous receipt of an income support payment since 31 December 2014.
  • If the account–based pension, allocated pension or transition to retirement pension commenced on or after 1 January 2015, then the asset value of the income stream is treated as a financial asset and assessed under the deeming rules.
  • If the client has an account-based pension, allocated pension or transition to retirement pension with a commencement date prior to 1 January 2015 and has not been in continuous receipt of an income support payment since 31 December 2014, the asset value of the income stream is treated as a financial asset and assessed under the deeming rules.
To summarise: -
  • if a war widow has been in continuous receipt of ISS since 31/12/14 and
  • they have an account-based pensions, allocated pensions or transition to retirement pension which commenced prior to 01/01/15
there will be no change to the assessment unless they purchase a new income stream (which would be deemed under the new rules).

 

QUESTION SIX

Who authorised the purchase of the racing yacht Mates4Mates, and what was the purchase price and its resale value?


Submitted by a member of Magnetic Island Sub Branch Inc.
 

ANSWER

The ‘Spirit of Mateship’ purchase was authorised by the Board of RSL (Queensland Branch) in April 2013 for a purchase price of $225,000 and was sold in 2016 for $85,000.

 

QUESTION SEVEN

What was the cost of the personal items purchased on RSL Credit cards, and how much of the monthly allocation was spent on Veteran's in Need?
 
Submitted by a member of Magnetic Island Sub Branch Inc.
 

ANSWER

Current Director Resource Policy and Staff Credit Card Policy states that each individual is solely responsible for ensuring any expenses are directly related to the conduct of their role as a Director or Staff member. Therefore, although purchases are made on RSL credit cards, none of these are deemed personal in nature under the policy, as they are expenses are incurred by a volunteer acting in the role of a Director or a Staff member employed by RSL Queensland to undertake a role. All credit card expenditure must be acquitted through the provision of receipts on a monthly basis.



QUESTION EIGHT

Recently I placed a request for funding through my local sub branch. It was passed through the branch unanimously and then went to district. District denied it saying that I was a competing ESO, I did not think it was a race. It is something that no other ESO or VSO is doing for Veterans in Australia.
 
With everything that is going on in the veterans’ support groups and RSL's in Australia we all need to sit down and have a civilised conversation amongst ourselves and work together for the greater good and that is the Veteran and the Veterans family. We need to forget about our differences and remove our personal ego's. we need to remember that the veteran is our priority not our second.
 
I am not saying remove our individual identity and become one of the collective far from it, what I am saying is that if 1 ESO / VSO is running a specific program other ESO / VSO refer that veteran to the appropriate group that can assist him or her. That way the veteran gets a better service and a far better outcome.
 
Only as 1 pushing in 1 direction will anything change for the better, think about it there is approx. 300,000 veterans in Australia at least half of them will have a spouse which is another 150,000 and the have at worst case with another 150,000 of children that's approx. 600,000 Veterans and Family of Veterans all pushing / requesting the government for changes in the one direction, that is about the 7% of the voting population of Australia.
 
All VSO or ESO groups need to be registered with the ACNC if they are acting on behalf of Veterans and comply with the laws laid down as to protect themselves and the Veterans that they help.
 
Submitted by a member of Bray Park-Strathpine Sub Branch Inc.
 

ANSWER

RSL (Queensland Branch) agrees with the premise that ‘we are here for the veteran’. In November 2015 RSL (Queensland Branch) engaged with all Queensland based ESOs and associations to bring us all together to support the veteran community. The RSL (Queensland Branch) website now lists the majority of ESOs and associations and details what they do. RSL (Queensland Branch) engages with Queensland based ESOs and associations on a regular basis. RSL (Queensland Branch) agrees that all charities operating in the veteran ‘space’ should be registered with the ACNC.

 

QUESTION NINE

How does one nominate for a Queensland State Board position?
 
Submitted by a member of Townsville Sub Branch
 
ANSWER
  • There are three pathways to representation on the Board: election by delegates at the AGM to the Board Executive (three positions), election by District delegates to the position of District President (10 positions), or appointment by the Board on a skills basis (three positions).
  • You can find further details about election to the Board in Section 9 of the Constitution here
 

QUESTION TEN

Why does the State body refuse to recognise Queensland RSL Lawn Bowls as a sporting section of the League?
 
Submitted by a member of Bribie Island Sub Branch Inc.
 
ANSWER
  • Queensland RSL Bowls Association was granted permission at an RSL National Board meeting in November 2015 to use the letters ‘RSL’ in its title.
  • Recognition exists for any individuals that also hold RSL Queensland membership and are therefore a member of the League.
 

QUESTION ELEVEN

Could the policy relating to expenses to elected officials (members) at State and District level be published?
 
Submitted by a member of Tweed Heads & Coolangatta RSL Sub Branch
 
ANSWER 
  • In the interests of transparency, RSL Queensland will publish governance criteria, including eligible expenses for elected officials, on it website. It will be found ahead of State Congress here: www.rslqld.org/governance
  • Being a separate entity from RSL Queensland, each District implements its own expense recovery policies for work undertaken as a volunteer District President. It is at the discretion of the District President as to whether they accept any personal expense reimbursement or not.
 

QUESTION TWELVE

Are all expenses acquitted against receipts?
 
Submitted by a member of Tweed Heads & Coolangatta RSL Sub Branch
 
ANSWER

All expenditure incurred on RSL Queensland issued credit cards is acquitted against receipts on a monthly basis.  Where receipts are not available or have been lost, a signed statutory declaration from the card holder is required to swear the expense has been incurred in the direct conduct of Director duties for RSL Queensland.

 

QUESTION THIRTEEN

Are any other payments e.g., (but not limited to) stipends, honorariums, fees, director’s fees, consultancies, vehicle usage, paid to elected officials (members) at State and District Level.
 
Submitted by a member of Tweed Heads & Coolangatta RSL Sub Branch
 
ANSWER
  • Being a separate entity from RSL Queensland, each District implements its own expense recovery policies for work undertaken as a volunteer District President. It is at the discretion of the District President as to whether they accept any personal expense reimbursement or not.
  • Resources made available to RSL Queensland Directors will be listed ahead of State Congress here: www.rslqld.org/governance
 

QUESTION FOURTEEN

Do any other bodies/organisations related to RSL or with close linkage make any payments in any form to elected officials or other members?
 
Submitted by a member of Tweed Heads & Coolangatta RSL Sub Branch

ANSWER
Other than District branches which have discretionary power to reimburse volunteer District Presidents for their conduct of District branch business, RSL Queensland is unaware of any other organisations that make payments of any nature to volunteer Directors.

 

QUESTION FIFTEEN

What items are provided to individual State and District elected officials (members) e.g., (but not limited to), motor vehicles, mobile phones, computers, home phone/internet provision? How are they acquitted?
 
Submitted by a member of Tweed Heads & Coolangatta RSL Sub Branch
 
ANSWER
  • In relation to volunteer District Presidents, District branches have discretionary power to provide resources necessary for their District Presidents to fulfil their role.
  • A full list of resources made available to RSL Queensland volunteer Directors for the conduct of State business can be found ahead of State Congress here: www.rslqld.org/governance
 

QUESTION SIXTEEN

What funds are provided for, "extra-ordinary circumstances" and how are these acquitted?

Submitted by a member of Tweed Heads & Coolangatta RSL Sub Branch
 
ANSWER
The RSL credit cards are provided to volunteer Directors to enable any unexpected or extraordinary expenses directly related to the provision of veteran welfare activities to be provided in emergency circumstances only.These are acquitted in the same way outlined above.

 

QUESTION SEVENTEEN

There have been reports that Queensland RSL is considering financing a welfare officer position to assist the RSL in Darwin?

Submitted by a member of Cairns Sub Branch Inc.
 
ANSWER
  • Due to a shortage of advocates in the Northern Territory, RSL Queensland and RSL NSW have provided staff and volunteers to assist the current and ex-service community in Darwin on an ad-hoc basis.
  • RSL Queensland has volunteered to assist the RSL sub-branches in Darwin with recruiting their own paid delegate. We have not offered to pay the salary of that delegate.
While there has been informal discussion on the future of the RSL in the Northern Territory by a range of League members from different states, to our knowledge there has been no firm proposal by the Northern Territory sub-branches to RSL South Australia for them to separate from RSL South Australia, and no firm proposal by them to RSL Queensland and/or other States to become part of those organisations.

Important Documents State Congress 2017 Wrap UpQuestion ResponsesState Congress ProgramNominations, Motions & Apologies Breakout WorkshopsRegistration Types & Inclusions2017 State Council of Auxiliaries AGM