Labor pledges greater say from defence personnel in discussing wages

Labor pledges greater say from defence personnel in discussing wages

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

The Opposition yesterday outlined proposed changes 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 proposed after the controversy following former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s proposal of a 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 told the Western Suburbs Weekly.

“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.

The Coalition did not reply to Community Newspaper Group’s questions.