Thursday, July 17, 2003

 

Good Morning E ,

      Thanks again for the super information. However, I am really writing to you about the proposed "stay of execution" for the Government Barristers.

 

      Firstly I would like to explain my concerns.

 

The government has been playing hard ball with me since 1979 . You know of all our health and emotional issues , but even on top of that . There are many other things they did to destroy my life . Every day hassles and fights and I am tired of them always enforcing the laws on me.

 

      Painful memories, like when I had 6 months left to serve and a friend and I found a small charter yacht business at Cardwell, North Queensland. After visiting it, doing all the meteorological studies, having the account books checked by the Small Business Authority, studies of growth ect and finding out that there was a new resort developmentplanned for the near future, by Keith Williams (developer of Hamilton Island), we saw have a great business with unlimited potential. We had spoken to resort developers and had been told our clients would be able to use facilities.

 

The business also came with moulds to make ourselves more fiberglass hulls at a very low cost, as we are both capable tradesmen. Everything was going through.

 

 I had told the RAAF that I was leaving, They had sent in a new corporall to be trained in my spot . We had to have the business settled quickly and it required myself and partner 'M' there to run. M was due to be discharged and moved to Cardwell in preparation.I took leave to move my family there,even though it was 3 to 6 months before my discharge date. The RAAF let me use my discharge removal(free removal on discharge) to move my wife and baby son (Ryan) to Cardwell . All this time I had kept the RAAf fully informed about the business.

 

    The owner had purchased another business, hundreds of km. away and could not extend settlement . We moved our families into rented properties at Cardwell . Repainted the yacht, did all sorts of maintainance and had some other work done, then I had to go back to Canberra to serve out my time.

 

I had applied on many grounds including compassionate that I be allowed out early to be able to secure my future . My initial reply from the Govt was from some young clerk in Canberra saying the rules she is reading don’t allow me to do that so NO! They would not allow it!

 

My spot was already filled and replacement trained. The RAAF had not informed me of this despite having been informed of all of the plans and state of play. I was willing to go on leave without pay, or accept early discharge at my own expense.  Still they said no. The rules (from young clerk ) say no . Even though the options for the discharge I was requesting are in the system!!!!

      By this time my friend M. was having hassles in dealing with things himself. I was supporting myself in Canberra and trying to pay rent and support the family in Cardwell ($about $26000 gross). We were in a very difficult situation.

We had also appealed through our local member John Langmore. He had made representations to The minister for Defense Personnel, Ros Kelly (hag, sic), on our behalf. John beleived in our case.

The RAAf kept playing hardball, while I was basically idle in Canberra, until the relationship between myself and M fell apart and my wife walked out suffering fom sthe stress of a new baby and desperately uncertain living arrangements. They all left me to arrange all our possessions to go into storage locally from distant Canberra. Then later to move our stuff from Cairns to Tasmania, where my wife had run with our child in a state of emotional breakdown and refused to return. It cost many thousands I did not have and we lost the business and invested funds. The RAAF refused to live up to their obligations and didn’t care about the consequences to one of their members.  I was so sick from being poisoned in the F111 tanks and general stress during those months that I could hardly speak at all.

The RAAF didn’t appreciate my efforts to improve myself and purposely gave me hell for the last month or so. Even trying to force me, including officially ordering me to go on a flying detachment for a week just two days before my discharge date. That would have meant I was away on an official posting and under orers while I was no longer employed by the RAAF. 

 I kept refusing so they changed my annual report, which had shown me to be a top-class member of the RAAF, and virtually destroyed me so I could never re enter the RAAF .Once again they were enforcing rules, just because they had the ability to do so even though it was going to cause me hardship. (He says even though, I say they did it to hurt him on purpose, steve-ed.)

Another little example of rules being applied. When we were posted to Canberra in March 1985, the only reasonable house available was a home in Evatt. It had uncovered cement floors, no mailbox, palings missing off fences, holes in wall ect .ect.

We didn’t have much money and had to get a hire-purchase loan to install carpet. We had a very common Berber carpet installed by Simons. We had to have the carpet installed, its such a cold place and we couldn’t just live on the cement, that was still covered by 1/4 inch of black rubber underlay left by the previous people (glued down ).

One week after our carpet was laid, Simons came to our home, saying they were told to measure up our house for new carpet, and they would have to remove the old. (one week old…bought with loan). Of course we were very upset and contacted the RAAF base squadron to stop this.

We found out of the Simons rep that they were going to lay our exact carpet, even laid by the same people. This was just crazy so I contacted whichever department it was at the time(public service) and suggested that they buy our carpet off us to save waste and our hardship . The reply was that they hadn’t done that before, the RULES state that they can force me to tear up my carpet, so they will. When the actual week came, on the Monday (after previously stating that I would not tear up my carpet , it was just a waste), I was summoned to the Warrant Officer of Base Squadron, who ordered me to tear it up by Saturday as the new carpet, same as mine would be laid then. In no uncertain terms I let them know that they would not be allowed entry to my home and they threatened to locked me up in the brig on the day. In desperation at trying to find someone who could see sense I sent an urgent letter to the Minister for Defense explaining all the above.

On the Friday he contacted me apologizing for the stupidity of the public service and the RAAF . The RAAF Warrant Officer was also ordered to apologize to me . My name was mud after that .

To try and hurt me further , the RAAF totally cancelled the upgrade on my married quarter. Rather than just fix the carpet problem . I have other very similar stories of the RAAF enforcing rules because they are there . Knowing they are unjustly applying them at the time .

Then there is Deseal and all the attached hassles . Even the constant battle I have with MCRS just to get a return call . They have always enforced the rules to the enth degree, with me.

The RAAF , and even DVA(MCRS) , have never bent the rules for me. Never. But they have knowingly, forcibly applied rules to me, that knew to be causing me hardship .

That is why when I heard that you were considering giving the Govt more time my initial response was shock. Shock for a couple of reasons. Firstly we didn’t know about it and were not going to be involved in the process of deciding if that was the appropriate decision to make. Secondly as I have shown you with a small sample of experiences, I genuinely believe that no matter how leniently we are with them they will always enforce any rules they possibly can and not show equal consideration This is from my own genuine experiences.

Now E, I realize that some person has had a tragedy and I am sorry for him. He will recover. We of the Deseal/Reseal are sick and even dying everyday. If they were genuinely interested in compromise they would have accepted our case already knowing we are sick and in terrible states. Sick every day….knowing their doctors proved this ..and we are waiting for financial help, not just a handout .

 My own opinion is that we should send a letter of sympathy to the Barrister whose father died, then state your clients are very ill, having difficulty coping with life, and NOT EXTEND THE TIME. I repeat. NOT. This is my opinion, not the opinion of the other guys who as yet I have not contacted on this matter . I have spoken to F. This letter is my opinion and mine only .

 

        Please let me know after you have read this .

                      Rob Solomons