Former partners of veterans – regardless of marital status – will soon continue to receive a pension at least one year after their relationship ends.
Draft laws progressing through parliament not only broaden the scheme to include unmarried couples, but also include same-sex marriages.
The changes are expected to cost about $6 million over the next four years, and $1.4 million each year after that.
“For too long, partners of veterans have not been duly recognised for their relationships with our veterans,” Liberal MP Jason Falinski told the lower house on Thursday.
“This bill will significantly improve the equality and equity of all partners of veterans, either married or not.
“The sacrifice made by any man or woman married to a veteran cannot be under-appreciated. While they may not have been on the frontline of battle, they were absolutely on the frontline when the veterans returned home.”
Under the changes which are now on their way to the Senate, former partners would continue receiving the partner service pension indefinitely after the death of their partner.
After separating from a veteran, partners would continue receiving the pension for 12 months, or could do so indefinitely in instances where domestic violence has been a factor.