Push for more say on de­fence pay

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

DE­FENCE per­son­nel at Camp­bell and Ir­win bar­racks, HMAS Stir­ling and Bulls­brook’s RAAF Pearce could get a greater say in their wages if La­bor is elected on July 2.

Last week the Op­po­si­tion out­lined pro­posed changes to the Depart­ment of De­fence’s work­place re­mu­ner­a­tion ar­range­ment that sets wages for per­son­nel us­ing only agree­ments be­tween the Fed­eral gov­ern­ment and the Aus­tralian De­fence Force (ADF).

The changes were put for­ward af­ter the con­tro­versy fol­low­ing for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott’s pro­posed 1.5 per cent pay rise for the mil­i­tary over three years in 2014, be­fore public out­cry re­sulted in an an­nual in­crease of 2 per cent.

“Un­like most em­ploy­ees, ADF mem­bers are not legally en­ti­tled to col­lec­tively ne­go­ti­ate their pay, con­di­tions and terms of em­ploy­ment through unions or en­ter­prise bar­gain­ing frame­works,” La­bor’s As­sis­tant De­fence spokes­woman Gai Brodt­mann said.

“ADF mem­bers rely on in­de­pen­dent peak as­so­ci­a­tions, such as the De­fence Force Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion (DFWA), to ad­vo­cate for them in this process.”

La­bor’s pro­posed changes would pro­vide a for­mal “re­sourced” role for the DFWA in wage talks, af­ter con­sult­ing with ADF mem­bers about how to change the times taken and pro­cesses used to set wages.

A DFWA spokesman said it had lob­bied for trans­parency in set­ting ADF wages to stop gov­ern­ments from us­ing “closed doors” to “thwart” the De­fence Re­mu­ner­a­tion Tri­bunal cre­at­ing “fair and eq­ui­table” de­ci­sions.

“The last ADF work­place re­mu­ner­a­tion ar­range­ment fi­asco am­ply demon­strates what can go wrong when ADF per­son­nel are not prop­erly rep­re­sented in the process,” the spokesman said.

The DFWA wants bi­par­ti­san sup­port from the Coali­tion for change.

As­sis­tant Min­is­ter for De­fence Michael McCor­mack said the Gov­ern­ment had no plans to change how ADF pay and al­lowances were de­ter­mined.

He said ADF pay was set by De­fence Force Re­mu­ner­a­tion Tri­bunal’s “fair and open process” that con­sid­ered all ADF, Aus­tralian Public Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, RSL and DFWA sub­mis­sions, and vis­ited de­fence bases.

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