Here's The Outrageous Pay Rise Gap Between Our Soldiers Fighting Overseas And The Politicians Who Send Them There

Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets ADF personnel. Photo: Getty Images

With Australian troops in the United Arab Emirates awaiting deployment to Iraq, the Federal Government has revealed its “ridiculous” salary package offer for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.

ADF personnel are outraged after they were told they must sacrifice some Christmas and recreational leave, as well as other benefits, for a pay rise of just 1.5% annually – below inflation – over the next three years.

In contrast, MP salaries have increased more than 30% over the last three years. Australia’s 57,000 Defence members received 9 per cent over three years.

Under the current pay scheme, a non-commissioned soldier in the Australian Army earns about $59,500 annually (including uniform and service allowances). A mid-ranking infantry officer takes home around $84,000 (inc. uniform and allowances).

In June 2013, the Remuneration Tribunal increased the base salary of Australian parliamentary Senators and MPs by 2.4% to $195,000.

An increase of 31.3% in March 2012 resulted in a significant increase in the value of the salary being 2.8 times the average annual Australian wage – the highest level in 37 years. The 10-year average pay rise is just under 7% annually.

Australian politicians are among the best paid in the world. PM Tony Abbott takes home more than $500,000 a year and while you may think he’s worth every penny, the leader of the free world, aka the US President, makes about AU$455,000, and the British PM a modest AU$260,000.

MPs get $268 tax-free for every night they spend in Canberra and a range of other perks and allowances.

Just a handful of the Australian Parliament’s 226 politicians have served in the armed forces. Most notable are a trio from Tasmania – Liberal Andrew Nikolic, whose 30-year army career saw him rise to brigadier, Palmer United senator Jacqui Lambie, and former intel officer and whistleblower Andrew Wilkie – and Duntroon-trained South Australian MP Stuart Roberts.

Earlier this week, Senator Lambie called for Defence Minister David Johnston’s resignation in response to the Government’s ADF pay offer.

“The current ADF workplace remuneration offer is a disgusting, cowardly act – at a time in our nation’s history when again actions count more than words,” Lambie said.

“These are decisions prompted by men who have never served their country, worn the uniform or been prepared to take a round for Australia.”

Lambie pledged to discuss the offer at the next sitting of Parliament and the Senate Estimates hearing into defence spending.

Parliamentary base salary compared with average wages:

Table; Australian Parliamentary Library research paper 2013-2014

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