Federal Labor has exposed the Abbott Government’s deception over the ADF pay rise during Senate Estimates last night.
After public backlash over the Government’s unfair ADF pay offer of 1.5 per cent, the Prime Minister promised to increase ADF pay by “two per cent per annum, over the life of the agreement, with effect from the next pay day.” (Media release, 4 March 2015.)
However he only promised to backdate the pay to 12 March this year, not to the start of the ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement, which came into effect on
6 November 2014.
Backdating the increase to 12 March instead of the beginning of the WRA does not provide the promised 2 per cent per annum over the life of the agreement.
In Senate Estimates on 1 June, Senator Brandis also implicitly accepted that ADF personnel will experience a real pay cut over the next two years, as the 2 per cent increase will fall behind inflation, which the Government forecasts will be 2.5 per cent.
Reflecting this fact, the Fair Work Commission today awarded a 2.5 per cent increase to the minimum wage, confirming the insult this Government has inflicted on the men and women of the ADF.
Senator Brandis attempted to dodge responsibility by asserting that the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal “does review remuneration periodically”.
This is misleading as the DFRT issues a determination in response to a submission from the Government, not the other way around.
“In order to have the Tribunal consider matters, the ADF makes applications to have a specific matter heard. The ADF and Commonwealth present written submissions to the Tribunal and recommend whether the matter should be heard formally, considered on papers or informed by conference.”
DFRT 2013-14 Annual Report
Senator Brandis also evaded the opportunity to withdraw the slur of “double dipping” against Defence personnel who accessed the Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme. It was also confirmed that our hard working ADF personnel will be one of the groups to be slugged by the Government’s proposed changes to PPL arrangements.
The whole ADF pay debacle has caused a significant amount of unnecessary stress and concern for our ADF personnel and their families – and has been a sorry reflection on the PM’s decision-making ability.