NUMBER 24
New Year
2006

BAPA Newsletter


Also see printable pdf version
Editor:  yeomanoz@westnet.com.au
For a printable version of Membership/Contribution form go to Membership

Brian Havard Retires - The New Committee - President's Report - Brian's Farewell
The BAPA Story - FINANCES  - National Pensioners Convention - A Call to Action
Sample Letter - B.E.R.I.A - Green Taxes - Petition
Five Years Research

A New Regime

Brian Havard retires

After over twelve years of honourable service to BAPA Brian Havard has retired as our President due to continuing indifferent health.
He has agreed to remain on the BAPA Committee and take especial interest in matters of Political and Legal Liaison, the areas of his greatest expertise.
Relieved of the burdens of office, Brian will be free to concentrate on any worthwhile project which advances the cause and which is within his special areas of competence.

The New Committee

James Nelson, our previous Vice President, who becomes President
Peter Morris, an active Consultative Committee member, as Vice President
Jack Stoner, will remain as our Secretary
Barbara Mather, a retired Accountant, will be our new Treasurer & Membership Secretary
David Waterhouse will remain as Webmaster and Newsletter Editor (David will also work closely with Barbara during the change over)
Brian Havard, with his special interest in Political & Legal Liaison
Derrick Prance, with his special interest in SERPS.
In addition:
Anthony Walsh will take a special interest in our Federal Government.
Philip Currah, Frank Yates, Allan Swire & June Borsberry will remain available as Consultants.
 

We particularly welcome Peter Morris, who is a Local Councillor in High Wycombe. Peter has been a valuable member of our Consultative Committee for some time and it will be a huge advantage for BAPA to have a senior executive resident in the UK.
We also welcome Barbara Mather who is not only a retired Accountant but also an active member of BERIA, British Expatriate Residents in Australia.
BERIA was set up to help holders of 410 visas but now supports a wider range of holders of various Australian Visas. Barbara Lassiter has more to say about this later.

President's Report

In taking over as incoming president, I am very much aware that I am building on what Brian Havard has achieved during his years in the job. Among these achievements is building a strong team of committee members, who work well together, using their various skills to further our cause.

The committee, by its very geographic spread, cannot meet to conduct its business, so it operates only through email. Matters are raised, discussed, decided, implemented, without having to hurry because it is late at night, and without having to wait till next committee meeting before making a decision.

Among the things you will already know about are the campaign on Early Day Motions, the campaign to destroy the invalid excuses used by mandarins and ministers, research on legal precedents bearing on our human rights. Also general advice on such things as voluntary contributions, indexation while visiting the UK, and encouragement to fight for your rights when faced with bureaucratic excuses.

One matter of which you may not be aware is that we have been in contact with a lawyer in Britain since late 2002, compiling a case to be pursued if the Carson team decided to give up. Always we were prevented from taking any action because the Carson case naturally had priority before the courts.
The Road to Europe
Now that the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners have taken up the Carson case (perhaps under a different name) and lodged an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights we are offering our full support. The form of this support is yet to be decided in discussion with the CABP. We may throw all our resources and talents behind this case, or we may pursue a parallel case to effect a pincer movement against the UK government. Whichever decision is made will be on the basis of doing what is best for the frozen pensioner cause.
James Nelson, President

Brian's Farewell but he will still be with us

Following a health scare, I am advised to reduce my exposure to pressure, and this seems the appropriate time after twelve exhausting years to hand over the President’s role to James.
I take the opportunity to thank those of you who have been generous in your support of me and my colleagues on Committee. We have always striven to be worthy of your trust.
The great disappointments during my period in office were the seizing of the legal reins by the South African pensioners which prevented our implementing the careful plans we had ourselves laid, the failure of the Federal Government to go beyond verbal exhortations to the UK, and the absence among the membership of any younger volunteers as our successors.
Although we seem to have had no lucky breaks to date, I am an inveterate optimist. Our cause is just, the logic of our case is impeccable, and when the issue can be brought before the European Court of Human Rights which will insist that its Convention outranks domestic UK legislation, victory will have been achieved.
James has all the qualifications needed to lead the Association to that happy outcome. I will continue to contribute my efforts to the extent I am able as a member of Committee.
Again, my thanks and my best wishes to you all.
Brian Havard

The BAPA Story, Our 20 Year History

BAPA was founded in 1985 under its initial title of The Australia British Pensioners Trust Fund in order to campaign against the iniquitous, arbitary, and unfair selective indexation of the UK State Retirement pension.
During discussions with the Australian government it became obvious that, to ensure a greater degree of credence and accountability, BAPA would be best served by becoming an Incorporated Association and in consequence our Constitution was promulgated and Incorporation was granted in 1995.

Before long, due to the increased availability of computers, we were able to increase our membership within all States and, due to the obvious advantage of an improved communication facility, in 1994 we were able to become affiliated to other expatriate pensioner groups under the banner of the World Alliance of British Expatriate Pensioners (WABEP).

In 1997 we became affliated to the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) and they agreed to act as our representatives in the UK on frozen pension issues. Having exhausted all avenues in the British Courts the South African case, to which Brian refers, is now in the hands Of the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners (CABP) and en route to Europe. We wish the Canadians well and have offered them our full cooperation.

In conclusion as Secretary and one of the oldest members of BAPA, in more ways than one, I wish to make my own personal tribute to Brian Havard who as our President has orchestrated our fight for justice since 1992 with commendable skill in a most dedicated and selfless manner during a most demanding and frustrating time in BAPA's long fight for justice. Fortunately we will still have available his extensive knowledge and expertise in the continuing battle within the political and legal arena and I wish him and his able supporter Rosemarie well in their future endeavours.
Jack Stoner, Secretary of BAPA.

FINANCES

Since our last Newsletter the 2004/05 Audit has been completed. During the course of the year we received $25,868 in contributions and earned $1,934.38 in interest - a total income of $27,802.38
Our expenses were as follows:

Newsletter printing & post $3,164.20
Subscriptions to Associations $ 158.16
Miscellaneous expenses $ 56.00
Bank charges & taxes $ 190.55
TOTAL $3,568.91

We were therefore able to pass $24,233.47 into our reserves.

We currently have outstanding commitments to our legal team in London for work completed and work pending amounting to nearly £15,000 (about $35,000).

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all our current and new members who were so generous over the past year however, as you see, we will be looking to your continuing generosity in the difficult times ahead.

I would also like to welcome Barbara Mather to our fold. Barbara will be taking over as Treasurer at the end of the current financial year and will be working with me in the meantime.
David Waterhouse.

National Pensioners Convention

The National Pensioners’ Convention, to which BAPA is affiliated, has produced a briefing note explaining how the National Insurance Fund works.
The NIF was set up to provide pensions and other benefits in return for contributions by employees, employers, and the State.
Although it has always been accepted in principle that the fund works on a pay-as-you-go basis, with current  benefits paid out of current contributions, the fund has in recent years built up substantial surpluses. One of the main reasons for this is that contributions have consistently risen in line with average weekly earnings, while benefits have been raised much less steeply than contributions in line with the Retail Price Index.
The surplus money is invested in gilt-edged securities, which you might think protected it against government depredations. But the government has found subtle ways
of raiding the fund.
It has cut down, then cut out altogether the Treasury contribution.
It has reduced the employer contribution in compensation for imposing a “green” tax on industry. Not taking money out of the Fund, but diverting money from the fund.
Allocating a bigger slice of the contributions to the National Health service
Crediting benefits to people who, for various good reasons, do not have a continuous contribution record, but expecting the cost to be borne by the fund and not by the taxpayer.
You can read a full copy at NPC_briefing_paper.htm
James Nelson,

A Call to Action

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been invited to address a joint sitting of Federal Parliament in March. This gives us an opportunity to raise our concerns about our frozen pension plight with all our MP’s and Senators and also ask them to raise the issue with him.

On the right you can see a possible draft letter but please don't use this draft word for word. Personalize it, and quote your own circumstances. You can tell them how many years you contributed – the reduction in value over the years etc. Experience tells us that hand written letters and those sent by mail get more attention than e-mails. We suggest you mail your letter to Parliament House at the address shown on the draft letter.

Also, please tell anyone else you know, who also suffers from this iniquitous freezing regime, of the need for action now. If you don’t know who represents you in Parliament look under “Members of Parliament” in the “Government Index” at the front of the Yellow Pages Telephone Directory. You will find Senators there as well.

We suggest you also write to at least one Senator of each Party in your State in addition to your local MP.
Also see “A call to Action”.

The more people who write to their local Members the better the chance that Tony Blair will get the message.
Tony Walsh, BAPA

SAMPLE LETTER

Give your full name and Address
Address the letter to your local Member or Senator at:
Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600

Dear Mr, Mrs or Senator ...........
FROZEN BRITISH STATE PENSIONS PAID IN AUSTRALIA
I am writing to you as my representative in Parliament.
You will be aware that for many years now people have been trying to change the UK rule that causes the British State Retirement Pension to be frozen at the level of the first payment received by UK pensioners who have settled in Australia. This despite the fact everyone paid the same.
The list of countries where the pension IS uprated in line with inflation includes the USA, Israel the Philippines and all the EU countries. It also includes selected commonwealth countries such as Barbados, Bermuda, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jamaica, Jersey & Malta.
The Main countries where the British pension IS NOT uprated include Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa & Zimbabwe.
You will be aware that recently the British House of Lords heard an appeal by a lady, who emigrated to South Africa from the UK, against an earlier finding in the High Court that these rules were not illegal. The Lords, by a majority verdict, also found that they were not illegal but did not say that they were fair. They said that as it was the British Parliament that made the rules it has to be Parliament who changes them.  
An opportunity now exists to bring this matter to the fore.  
The British Prime Minister Tony Blair will, I understand, be addressing a joint sitting of both Houses of the Federal Parliament in March. I ask that if you can make the opportunity to bring this matter up with him, or any of his party, you should do so.
I look forward to hearing that you are able to add your voice to this debate, it would mean a great deal to me personally and also to the Australian taxpayers who generously support so many of us when our incomes drop to a level entitling us to a part Australian Pension.

Yours sincerely ...........................

If there are two of you please both sign.

B. E. R. I. A.

British ExPat Retirees In Australia (BERIA), is a forum which was set up in May 2003 for holders of the Retirement Sub-Class Visa 410.

It has proved to be very successful, not least in members helping one another with the requirements for renewing the visa. They have also helped with information concerning the transfer of money, taxation, driving licenses, purchase of houses and many other aspects of settling in the country on such a visa.As a holder of the 410 Visa you will be aware that it has now been discontinued and, as a group, we are currently working together with the aim of encouraging the government to consider allowing the holders of the 410 visa some 5 or 6,000 of us) to become permanent residents after living here for a certain period of time,

410 Visa holders from all countries are welcome to join us. To do so send a blank e-mail to BERIA-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Barbara Lassiter lassiter1981@yahoo.com

Dum Spiro Spero
(While there's life, there's hope)

Green Taxes

The National Insurance Fund (NIF) income from employers’ contributions has been deliberately and substantially reduced as a result of a series of “green” taxes: the Landfill Tax, the Climate Change Levy, and the Aggregates Levy. The purpose of all these taxes was to make companies pay for the environmental damage caused by their activities. Employers have been compensated by a reduction in their contributions to the NIF.

As a result, money has been diverted from the NIF, amounting to at least £13bn, and well over £2bn a year in the future, in lost contributions. This ia great deal more than it would cost to index our pensions.

Instead of benefiting the poorest pensioners, our £400 million is being used to benefit rich companies.

Petition

Petition to the House of Commons
Included with this newsletter is a form of petition to the House of Commons. It has several lines to accommodate signatures, and we would like you to collect as many as you can. They do not all have to be members of BAPA nor even frozen pensioners. If you need more forms, pop into your local library and make photo copies.

Be sure people print their names and addresses as well as signing to make it legitimate.

When you have a few, or even if you can only manage yourself and your "significant other", send them to our Treasurer at PO Box 550, Burpengary, Queensland, 4505 for onward transmission.

While the deadline is not hard and fast, we want to present the petition in the House of Commons round about the same time as the new pension rates are made public. So please pull your socks up, put your shoulder to the wheel, keep your nose to the grindstone, dig for victory and all that sort of thing and let us your signed petition forms by 1st March.

If you get friends to sign the petition, try to get them to join BAPA. And if you get people to join BAPA, try to get them to sign the petition.
James Nelson.

To download a petition form go to PETITION to the House of Commons

Five Years Research

As evidence of our commitment to helping the Canadian Alliance in their quest for justice, Brian has supplied to their lawyers a complete set of our research papers compiled and composed over the last five years. Most of this material is in the public domain on our web site, but we felt it would be more convenient for them to have it all in one file.

To contact any member of the committee go to Committee
To download a Membership Form go to Membership


Member of the World Alliance of British Expatriate Pensioners
Affiliated to PARITY & the National Pensioners Convention
Member of the Discrimination Law Association


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