Beware of False Prophets

2 Apr 2015

 It pays not to listen to Lambie

Ross Eastgate – Townsville Bulletin – April 02, 2015

SOME readers may recall a time when ADF personnel were paid in cash plus a cake of soap and two free razor blades thrown in.

There may even be survivors of such experiences who now claim confronting a paying officer armed with a loaded pistol may have triggered long-term traumatic consequences.

There was usually a payday raffle to boost unit social funds with modest prizes for an equally modest ticket price.

Pay was rounded down to the nearest whole dollar while in PNG soldiers received their entire pay credit to the exact cent.

For younger readers, these were small copper coins in one and two cent denominations, quite useful when at the later payday happy hour you could quite confidently have three pots and be guaranteed change from a dollar.

Oh, the payday happy hour was a quaint fortnightly gathering at which all members of a unit were encouraged to socialise with each other while consuming alcohol.

With logic unfathomable to expatriate minds, PNG soldiers would often request a ticket in just one of the raffle prizes on the basis they already possessed whatever was on offer as the others.

It was illogical of course, though not to them and they could rarely be convinced to change their mind even when the flaw was pointed out to them.

It’s a bit like attempting to follow that curious logic which presents as Senator Jacqui Lambie’s political philosophy.

On Tuesday the senator announced she would apply to form her own political party, The Jacqui Lambie Network, which as its name implies is more about personality than sustainable policy.

Like her private members bill linking ADF pay to CPI or politicians’ pay, whichever is higher.

One assumes she means “increases” in CPI or politicians’ pay, though in Senator Lambie’s case one should never assume.

The bill passed the scrutiny of the current senate and typically Senator Lambie has threatened dire consequences to lower house members who dare reject it.

“Already in desperation to distract, the Liberal’s (sic) are spreading lies about my Bill saying it will result in a pay cut — which are clearly untrue,” the senator said in a predictably convoluted press release.

ADF pay recommendations are the prerogative of the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, and the senator’s attempt to automatically link pay adjustments to other determinants runs the risk of adverse outcomes she has clearly not considered.

Still, her sponsorship of the bill and the senate’s acceptance have caused some excited comment in the defence community by those who think it will result in more generous pay outcomes.

More inquiring minds have cautioned otherwise.

Lambie’s stunts and threats promote herself and her political ambitions but rarely achieve positive outcomes.

ADF pay and conditions are too important for such self-serving antics, and it is up to all serious ex-service organisations to lobby for tangible improvements with those who posses real political power to make positive change.

Those who follow the Lambie prescription will inevitably find themselves short changed without a prize.