Leader of the Opposition
Canberra ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister
I am writing to ask you to formally reconsider your decision to cut the real pay and conditions of Australian Defence Force personnel.
Under the Government’s offer, confirmed by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal on 3 November 2014, Australian service men and women will have to give up Christmas and recreation leave, while receiving a below inflation pay rise of 1.5 per cent. This is despite the 2014-15 Budget already having allocated funding for a fair pay deal for ADF personnel.
Under the Defence Act 1903, Section 58H, the Government is able to request the DFRT to reconsider its determination. In doing so, the Government is able to set out the grounds on which the reconsideration is being sought. This request must be done in writing and within 28 days of the determination being made.
Labor has been inundated with correspondence that expresses disgust at the scandalous decision to cut the real pay and conditions of ADF personnel.
Given the unique, demanding and often dangerous roles performed by ADF personnel on behalf of all Australians, and the extensive time they are often required to spend abroad and away from family, this decision is particularly insulting.
Soldiers are also making their views known in the media, including one who said:
“The government that I have sworn to protect and serve, and that up to this point have been enormously proud to do so, has signed off on a deal that is essentially a kick in the teeth to every Soldier, Airmen, & Sailor.
My own government disdains me and my fellow serving members, and it disdains us publicly and with thinly disguised contempt.”
Given the outrage within ADF ranks, their families, and the wider community over your Government’s decision to cut the real wages of ADF personnel, there are undoubtedly sufficient grounds upon which to seek reconsideration from the DFRT.
Your decision is clearly affecting ADF morale and has the potential to affect retention and recruitment.
In requesting the DFRT to reconsider its decision, you should advise the Tribunal that the Government’s original offer:
1) Falls well below expected inflation outcomes;
2) Was particularly unfair in light of the 2014-15 Budget allocating funding for an above inflation pay rise for
3) Does not reflect community expectations concerning appropriate pay and conditions for ADF personnel;
4) Is affecting ADF morale and has the potential to affect retention and recruitment;
5) Has caused a backlash amongst ADF servicemen and women, their families, and the wider community; and
6) Should be changed to ensure a fair deal for our ADF personnel.
I am sure that if you take this action and admit that the wrong decision has been made, the DFRT will endorse a new, fairer pay deal for our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women.
Our Defence Force personnel shouldn’t have to fight their Government for decent pay and conditions.
I know our nation values our ADF personnel and views the Government’s current position as unacceptable. I ask you to reconsider this matter and ensure they are properly paid.
I am happy to meet with you personally to resolve this issue.
Bill Shorten MP
Leader of the Opposition
7 November 2014
PO Box 6022 Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 • Tel:(02) 6277 4022 • Fax:(02) 6277 8592