In a rogue move, Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has said she will vote against all new government legislation until the pay offer for Australian soldiers is raised.
Lambie says she will “fight fire with fire” in the Senate, claiming the decision to “effectively strip money and holiday entitlements” from ADF personnel “must be opposed and fought”.
The Palmer United Party (PUP) representative said she was committed to opposing the government’s below-inflation salary offer of 1.5% per year over three years for defence personnel.
She said that although the pay increases are set by a tribunal, “the buck stops with Tony Abbott, and Tony Abbott can override that.” She said “this is just the tip of the iceberg, and I’m not going to tolerate it.”
Clive Palmer said that while his position in relation to opposing the government’s stance on reducing pay remains “consistent”, he said he would not make a political stance or statement on Remembrance Day or ANZAC Day to dispute pay rates.
“I believe there is a political process when it comes to matters such as these and I will be respecting that process,” Palmer said.
Earlier this week the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal signed off on the salary deal which forces ADF personnel to give up some of their Christmas leave, recreational leave and allowances.
“Ordinarily, I would never use one bad government decision as a reason to block a number of pieces of unrelated legislation,” Lambie said.
“However, this decision by Mr Abbott’s team to effectively strip money and holiday entitlements away from all members of Australia’s Defence force is extraordinary in its timing, arrogance and level of political cruelty.”
Lambie said under the new agreement “cuts of up to $130 per fortnight for Totally and Permanently Injured (TPI) vets” are also possible.
The PUP senator has asked all non-government senators and cross benchers to join her in blocking the government’s pay decision.
Lambie has also called upon Opposition leader Bill Shorten to support her upcoming Private Members’ Bill, which she says will guarantee ADF members receive at a minimum, pay rises linked to the annual CPI rate, or the same pay rise percentage that federal politicians receive.
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