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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Page: 5837

Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (15:42): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to table an explanatory memorandum relating to the bill.

Leave granted.

Senator LAMBIE: I table an explanatory memorandum and I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

Today this chamber is presented with an opportunity to debate and vote for the Defence Amendment (Fair Pay for Members of the ADF) Bill 2017.

This Private Senator's Bill was introduced in the last Parliament. It was debated in this chamber during the 44th Parliament and passed, but the House failed to bring it on for debate and consideration. Thus I have re-introduced it in this 45th Parliament. This bill links pay for military personnel of the Australian Defence Force with pay for Australian parliamentarians or to the consumer price index, whichever is higher.

It became obvious for the need of this bill after the Liberal government, led by then-Prime Minister Abbott, announced a change in pay rates for members of our Army, Navy and Air Force which was in fact a pay cut after our nation's inflation rate was taken into consideration. The majority of fair-minded Australians have recognised that the system of determining wage rises for our diggers, sailors and airwomen and airmen has been broken and needs fixing.

The Defence Amendment (Fair Pay for Members of the ADF) Bill 2017 will serve as an equitable remedy to a fractured military pay system that determines the amount of pay to personnel of our Army, Navy and RAAF.

This simple piece of legislation, if agreed to by the majority of senators in this chamber, will provide service members of our Australian Defence Force certainty and a guarantee that they will receive a fair pay increase. The Bill does this by putting in place a minimum pay rise, which at the very least keeps track with the consumer price index or politicians' pay increase, whichever is higher.

Because ADF members, unlike emergency services, non-uniform public servants and civilians, cannot be represented by a union, they are left to negotiate pay and conditions with one hand tied behind their back. This bill means the men and women of our ADF have their pay indexed independently, leaving them to focus on the important and invaluable work they do in service of our nation.

In short, this bill is reasonable and measured. It does not have any provisions that are excessive. If you believe that Australian Defence Force members deserve a fair-go when it comes to calculating their wages, then my Private Senator's Bill will be very difficult to vote against.

I urge all my Senate colleagues to support this Private Senator's Bill, which is in keeping with our fair-go ethos—bringing equity in pay to the men and women who serve our great nation.

Senator LAMBIE: I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.