Politics

The One Part Of The PM’s Veterans Package That Is “Cringeworthy”, A “Joke” And A “Brainfart”

Well, that's new.

Virgin Australia Veterans

In expanding the benefits offered to Australia’s military veterans, PM Scott Morrison has announced today a perk that has people scratching their heads: veterans will receive priority boarding on Virgin Australia flights, and will be specially acknowledged over the intercom before the plane takes the air.

The government has announced a string of veteran benefits this week. At the end of last month, Morrison revealed that veterans would have access to a new benefits card, which would provide five to ten percent discounts to everyday stores. Veterans would also have access to a specialist jobs program under the plan.

“This culture of respect for our service men and women is one of the reasons the Invictus Games have been such a success in Australia,” Morrison said of the plan. “To further enable this culture of respect we are introducing a veterans card and pin that will enable businesses to show their appreciation by offering special discounts and offers for our veterans.”

Later that week it was revealed that the Australian War Memorial would receive $498 million for a redevelopment, which would include a new space to memorialise recent conflicts, and underground spaces to display the institution’s helicopters and aircraft. It would double the size of the War Memorial and take nine years to complete.

But most recently, the Morrison government has revealed that Virgin Australia would provide priority boarding and pay respects to veterans in in-flight announcements. Earlier in the year, United States airline Delta Air Lines put in place a similar program.

On ABC’s Insiders program this morning Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester defended the initiative:

“Australians, by nature, tend to keep their light under a bushel. Some would be happy to get on the plane without anyone knowing they are there,” he said.

Others disagree. Some veterans disliked the plan:

Overall, the government has pledged $11.2 billion to veteran support this year.