‘Why I’m ashamed to be an Australian Soldier’: Digger speaks out on military wages
- 5 hours ago
November 06, 2014
A LONG-SERVING Australian soldier has spoken out about the state of
our country’s military declaring he is “thoroughly disgusted” to serve
in the army.
The 31-year-old soldier, who has requested to remain anonymous has
served with the Australian Defence Force for 11 years across Australia
as well as serving in Afghanistan.
It’s a role he dreamt of
fulfilling, and, until a decision was handed down on military wages by
the Defence Remuneration Tribunal this week, it was “the proudest thing
(he) could imagine anyone doing”.
The Victorian soldier has never spoken publicly about his life as a soldier, but this week he felt compelled, he told news.com.au.
decision to increase defence personnel wages by only 1.5 per cent, a
rate below inflation that would mean a decrease in pay in real terms was
the last straw.
The Defence Force member says he has “sworn to protect and serve” his country, and until now was “enormously proud to do so”.
“My identity as a Serving Member has taken some hits recently,” he said.
order not to wear or our uniforms in public because of an ‘unspecified’
threat — if I wasn’t scared to wear my uniform fighting in Afghanistan,
I’m sure as hell not going to be scared to wear it on any Australian
street. But, I’ll toe the line.
“And then there was my recent discovery as I investigated my
upcoming posting, that Defence has been quietly stripping away
allowances for things such as the cross country moves that it requires
its members to undertake.
“I’m only going to get a third of the
allowances that I got for the exact same move I made previously, and in
fact am going to be out of pocket? OK, OK ... You are telling me you’re
only going to pay me to fly and if I choose to drive I guess that’s just
my own stupid fault.
“But today, the government that I have sworn
to protect and serve, and that up to this point have been enormously
proud to do so, has signed off on a deal that is essentially a kick in
the teeth to every Soldier, Airmen, & Sailor.
“They have given
us a ‘pay rise’ of 1.5% per year for the next few years. This is more
than 1.5% below estimated inflation, and 140% less than the pay rise
that politicians have awarded themselves in past years.”
are we, the Serving members of this countries military forces supposed
to pay the government back for this paltry pay rise? By sacrificing
leave days and allowances across the board. In fact, the monetary value
of the lost leave days is greater in value then the extra money this
‘pay increase’ will deliver.”
Expressing his disgust at the pay increase decision the
Defence Force Welfare Association has labelled “insultingly low”, the
soldier goes on to sympathise with outsiders disgusted at the military.
you want to attack me in the street because you disdain the fact that I
am an Australian Soldier, then at the very least I can understand you,”
“My own government disdains me and my fellow serving members, and it disdains us publicly and with thinly disguised contempt.
“I am an Australian Soldier and, for the first time in eleven years, I am thoroughly disgusted to be one.”
The soldier told news.com.au that although he is the one who has bravely spoken out on this issue, it’s not just his battle.
“This is not my fight, it’s the fight of every serving member as of that despicable decision,” he said.
just one member of thousands who are affected, and I’m not even the
worst off ... I’m not currently serving overseas, where our people are
actively put in harms way, and yet expected to accept a loss of, in some
cases, up to a quarter of their dangerous service allowance.”
The three-year pay deal affecting Australia’s 57,000 full-time
uniformed personnel and 20,000 reservists was approved by the Defence
Force Remuneration Tribunal on Monday.
Defence Force Welfare
Association urged the Prime Minister to intervene, saying to
“insultingly low annual increase” was a strange way to reward defence
“This so-called increase represents barely half the
expected annual inflation rate and an even lesser proportion of the
expected rise of annual living costs,” he said in a statement.
The Government has justified the decision saying it’s all they can afford.
all like to pay our serving defence personnel more, but there’s going
to have to be a very tight pay restraint across the public sector,
including with defence personnel,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott told media
in Sydney yesterday.
Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert
described defence personnel’s current salaries as “generous”, citing an
“enormous number of allowances”, subsidised housing and health care