Michael Pascoe writes:

When the immediate pain and anger
ease a little for Shelley Kovco, she might find the incompetence in
being sent the wrong body to bury one of her lesser worries.

What’s
waiting for her is the experience of Kylie Russell, widow of SAS
Sergeant Andrew Russell who was killed by a land mine in Afghanistan
four years ago. While John Howard and friends wrap themselves in the
flag and send our troops to war, they price dead soldiers well below
lives lost in other professions of service.

Kylie Russell
received a one-off payment of $37,000. Partners of federal
parliamentarians who die in office are paid more. Leo McLeay was paid
$65,000 for falling off a bicycle he borrowed from the Parliamentary
gym. There was another $55,000 held in trust for the education of Kylie
and Andrew’s daughter, Lisa. She was three months’ old when her father
died – he had never seen her. Given the education inflation rate, Lisa
had better not be hoping for a private education. And then there’s the
annual war widow’s pension – just $13,000 a year in 2002 though worth a
fraction more now with indexation.

Shelley Kovco has two small children, aged four years and eleven months.

Lest we bloody-well forget indeed.

Peter Fray

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