Sometimes you hear people say rather bleak things about the value of getting involved in politics – things like “what’s the point?”, and “I can’t make a difference!”
If you’ve ever thought that, I hope this little story will change your mind.
There’s a bloke named Robbie Robinson who lives the Bundaberg Region. He’s passionate about helping Australia’s veterans have great, satisfying lives after the period of their service. He’s all about the practical things we can do to better connect former service men and women with their families and communities, and help them to have purpose and good mental health as they transition into civilian life.
He got in touch with his local LNP party unit, and put together a motion suggesting a practical measure: the extension of the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (DHOAS) so that rather than a veteran being eligible for a concessional loan for 2 years after discharge, that period is extended to 5 years. His rationale was that in the first 2 years, many veterans are focussed on reconnecting with family, getting assistance for physical and mental conditions that prompted their discharge, or working to get a foothold in their new work. Those matters stand in the way of prompt applications for the DHOAS.
When the local party unit passed his motion, a branch colleague of Robbie’s got in touch with my office and gave me copies of the resolution and his reading in support. I read it and loved it.
The next sitting week, I took it to the Minister, and explained why it was the right thing to do. It took some time, and an election, and a bit more badgering, but now I have something exciting to report.
We are now legislating this change with amendments to the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme Act 2008. It’s one small but significant way that we can meaningfully show our thanks to those who serve our country, and acknowledge the difficulties that can come as a consequence of that service. Realistically, not all veterans will want or need that additional 3 years of time to consider whether they want to access an assisted home loan. But for those who have been struggling with their post-service life, battling PTSD, family challenges or getting the right work, it will mean the world.
These are the days we see how the system - imperfect as it may be - works!
It’s a great example of the opportunity that comes with LNP membership. Sometimes people are put off from joining the party by the fact that they don’t agree with 100% of the Party’s positions. I say that’s a good thing, and a sign you are needed in it. Every time another person commits to shape our policy, it gets better as their life experience and intellect is applied to the challenges we face as a state and nation.