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Defence Amendment (Fair Pay for Members of the ADF) Bill 2017

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2016-2017

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

DEFENCE AMENDMENT (FAIR PAY FOR MEMBERS OF THE ADF) BILL 2017

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Jacqui Lambie)



 

DEFENCE AMENDMENT (FAIR PAY FOR MEMBERS OF THE ADF) BILL 2017

 

OUTLINE

The purpose of the Defence Amendment (Fair Pay for Members of the ADF) Bill 2017 is to amend the Defence Act 1903 to protect the wages of the members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) by linking them to annual pay increases of Federal Parliamentarians or to CPI (Consumer Price Index), whichever is the greater in the year under review.

 

The members of the ADF have their pay assessed arbitrarily by the Minister of Defence (the Minister) under section 58B of the Defence Act 1903 . This is a unique situation for workers in Australia. The Minister’s decision cannot be appealed. In addition, all other Australians can be members of unions and can collectively bargain and negotiate their wages annually. Members of the ADF cannot collectively negotiate their pay in this way. They are entirely at the mercy of the Minister of the day.

 

Historically, Ministerial determinations of defence wages have been reasonably fair and have not involved increases which effectively create a decrease in their wage by not at least meeting the rising costs of living (in line with CPI). However, a recent decision by the Minister of Defence has led to circumstances where wages for members of the ADF for a period of three years will fall below increases in the cost of living. This has been seen as an effective cut to pay.

This Bill ensures fairness in the assessment of annual wage increases for members of the Australian Defence Force by linking Defence Force pay to the higher of increases in Parliamentary allowances and CPI.

 

 

 



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

 

Defence Amendment (Fair Pay for Members of the ADF) Bill 2017

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the Bill

The Bill will amend the Defence Act 1903 to ensure the members of the ADF receive fair and reasonable pay increases each year. The Bill will prevent arbitrary decisions by the Minister. Instead, decisions about ADF pay will be fair and reasonable and not subject to any political agenda that may be acting on the Minister from time to time. The Bill does so by ensuring the Minister’s determination of annual wage increases for members of the Australian Defence Force is at least the same as increases in Parliamentary allowances or CPI (whichever is greater).

 

Human rights implications

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 



 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1: Short Title

1.       Provides for the Act to be cited as the Defence Amendment (Fair Pay for Members of the ADF) Act 2017

Clause 2: Commencement

2.       Provides that the Act will commence on the day after it receives Royal Assent.

SCHEDULE 1 -AMENDMENTS

Part 1 - Amendments

3.       At the end of Part IIIA of the Defence Act 1903 , Item 1 adds a Division 4 with new sections 58Z to 58ZD.

 

4.       58Z - inserts various definitions to assist with the application of all clauses under the new Part IIIA, Division 4 of the Defence Act 1903 .

 

5.       58ZA - inserts a new provision specifically defining the meaning of the “CPI index number” to be applied after Royal Assent of the Bill.

6.       58ZB - inserts a new provision specifically defining the meaning of “Parliamentary allowance amount” to be applied after Royal Assent of the Bill.

7.       58ZC - is the substantive clause of the Bill inserting a new provision detailing how the Defence Force pay will be linked to the higher of increases in Parliamentary allowance and CPI . Nothing in this Bill is designed to link parliamentarians’ entitlements to ADF members. Rather, the Bill is designed to link percentage increases in the salary of politicians to percentage increases in ADF members’ pay. ADF member allowances over and above their salary (which are referred to as “relevant allowances” in Division 2 of Part IIIA—see section 58F) are worked out separately under the Defence Act 1903 and nothing in this Bill seeks to change how that occurs currently. This Bill only relates to the percentage increase in ADF members’ wages annually.

8.       58ZD - inserts a sunset provision ensuring that subsection 58ZC(1) will expire three years after Royal Assent.

 

Part 2 - Transitional Provisions

9.       The amendments made by this Schedule apply in relation to Defence Force pay determinations made on or after the day this Schedule commences.

10.   Item 2 of the Schedule states that as soon as practicable after the commencement of this Schedule, and in any case within 28 days after Royal Assent of the Bill, new Defence Force pay determinations covering the remuneration of all members must be made in accordance with the new provisions.