A revealing piece by Ian McPhedran. News Ltd.
Here is the text from Ian McPhedran's News Ltd's national defence writer in The Sun Herald 12 December article.
WHILE salaries for the nation's top brass have more than doubled in the past decade and wages for politicians have jumped by 75 per cent, pay rates for the troops have grown by less than half.
Documents obtained by News Corp show that taxpayer funded wages for soldiers have risen by an average of three per cent a year since 2005 compared with seven per cent for politicians and a massive 18 per cent for the Chief of Defence Force (CDF).
Pay rates for senior brass and politicians are set by independent tribunals, but pay scales for soldiers are set by the government and the CDF and ticked off by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal. The defence boss earned $370,320 in 2005 and he now rakes in $764,000 a year or $14,692-a-week compared with a Warrant Officer Class 1 who was on $58,674 in 2005 and who now earns $85,753 a year or $1649-a-week. Service chiefs are paid $512,000-a-year or $9846-a-week. A backbench politician earned $111,150 in 2005 and is paid $195,130-a-year or $3752-a-week today. This included a massive one-off 31 per cent increase to $185,000 in March 2012.
Maverick Tasmanian Senator and former soldier Jacqui Lambie said there was one rule for the rich and powerful and another for the workers. She has called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to explain whether he supports the current system after he forced military personnel to take an effective pay cut for the next three years. Senator Lambie wants defence pay rises tied to politicians pay and she hopes to meet with Mr Abbott next week to discuss the pay issue. "Obviously the people who determine the pay rates of the leaders of our military, aren't the same people who decide how much our average digger receives — and I wonder if that's fair?" Senator Lambie said.
Research conducted by the Parliamentary Library for Senator Lambie uncovered the pay rate disparity. "I wonder how the CDF felt as he agreed with Prime Minister Abbott to recommend a yearly wage rise of only 1.5 per cent while he takes home $764,000 each year?" she said.
"The system is broken and has produced a crisis that only the PM can fix." It is understood that defence boss Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin was given a very tight negotiating framework by the government with the starting point being a zero per cent pay rise without productivity offsets.
According to insiders the defence pay deal was to be used as the benchmark for the rest of the public service and the 1.5 per cent increase was only achieved after intense negotiations and numerous offsets which were last week reversed after a massive public campaign against the decision.
The CDF (Biskin) is the only public servant in the nation who is both employer and advocate for his staff who are banned by law from joining a trade union.
Responding to questions from News Corp, Defence said the outcome represented a balance between recognising ADF service and the fiscal restraints imposed by government. "At all stages of negotiations, the Chief of the Defence Force and the Vice Chief of the Defence Force have argued for the maximum increase available under the framework set by Government," Defence said in a statement.
Defence dad Tony Dagger, whose petition against the current pay cut has hit 63,000 signatures, said the pay issue should be removed from the CDF. "It should be handed to an independent body or tied to politicians' pay as suggested by Senator Lambie," he said. "Unfortunately the CDF is part of the political game."
THE PAY GAP
Chief of the Defence Force
2005 = $370,320, 2010 = $523,860, 2015 = $764,000
2005 = $111,150, 2010 = $136,040, 2015 = $195,130
Warrant Officer Class One
2005 = $58,674, 2010 = $75,789, 2015 = $85,753.
Congratulations ……. The Abbott Government has now been elevated to one-term wonders!
After lurching from one political fiasco to another, Julie’s ‘Lima Moment’ has added the final tier to your demise! The ‘Lima Moment’ flies in the face of all the reasons why formerly ‘rusted on’ conservatives voted for your lot in 2013. What Julie’s done has promoted a ‘naughty’ carbon dioxide nutrient to cause celeb status!
And please……. it matters not where $200M came from (Foreign Aid) the point of it all is that you’ve ‘kicked the guts’ of your supporters while turning your fiscal backs on the military, who are a special case for consideration and more deserving of a lousy 1.5% increase! You send these fine people to do the government’s bidding in war zones, but you’d never ever contemplate walking a kilometre in their boots……. Twists and turns and backflips are areas for controversy, but to give the ‘village idiots’ and ‘economic wreckers’ (Labor and Greens) free political kicks that will insanely drive them to greater ridicule is tantamount to political stupidity and suicide.
Put simply, The Abbott Government has not given its fading supporters a veritable reason why they should ever vote for you again! When I currently think of a once great LNP four words come readily to mind – supporter disenchantment and political suicide! You’ve achieved in a tick over twelve months what Labor accomplished in six unremarkable and unproductive years.
An unenviable political record that will be hard to replicate, even by Labor’s low standards! I can only visualise the level of a ‘right royal’ serve Shorten and Milne has in mind for your lot today. It ain't gonna be pretty, but you also deserve it! You’ve let so many voters down it’s now hard to imagine how you will ever be able to woo them back. Public and policy myopia and muteness have developed into your signature ‘strong suits’…….. congrats!
When Gough Whitlam "stole" our DFRDB so began the erosion of respect for the "unique nature of military service" and the introduction of the "unique nature of parliamentary service". In the minds of those career and self glorification opportunists now in power, Defence Force members past and present, are simply volunteers and therefor serfs of the Commonwealth and to be treated as such. As a result, many retired members have been denied as much as $200,000 nett of retirement entitlements forcing them onto welfare. If that figure and those highlighted in the article depict parliaments level of respect for retired and serving members of the ADF then their self indulgence obviously leaves no room for any respect for those that actually serve/d their country.
Doubtless the government will use their recent pay freeze as ammo and an example of pay restraint to limit pay increases by public servants as they did for the military, conveniently forgetting the huge increases, esp in 2012. If the fiscal situation is as bad as made out, and I think it is, they shoul show real leadership and take a pay cut. The CDF is in an impossible situation with the double hatted role he has to play in current pay determination arrangements. It needs to change. As a start, recognising the unique nature of military service, the teamwork, and loyalty and trust in both directions, as a matter of principle, the senior officers pay should be determined the same way as all in the military team. At the moment the CDF,pay wise, is clearly in the employer/government team. Anyone for leadership?