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Friday, 19 October 1984
Page: 2078

Senator GARETH EVANS —Yesterday Senator Watson asked me about an approach to the Minister for Defence by the executive of the Armed Forces Federation of Australia in regard to the formation of a union. The Minister for Defence has now informed me that he has recently received a letter from the Armed Forces Federation of Australia seeking support for an association of Service personnel. It is part of Australian Labor Party policy that serving Defence Force personnel should have the right to form and be members of associations in respect of their pay and conditions. The defence chiefs of staff have not yet provided the Minister with advice on this matter and the Minister has certainly made no decision in relation to it.

Yesterday Senator Watson referred to conditions of service for members of the Defence Force. In response to that the Minister for Defence makes the point that in contrast with the previous Government, this Government has taken steps to improve conditions, for example, by establishing the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, legislation for which is currently before the Senate.