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'Slime' Minister Abbott: Diggers families and supporters vent outrage at ADF pay deal

Social media has lit up with outrage from the families of Diggers following the approval of the Australian Defence Force's controversial pay deal.

The Defence Force Welfare Association's Facebook page has been carpet bombed with negative comments about the 1.5 per cent pay rise across three years plus the loss of leave days for 57,000 members of the ADF with comparisons being drawn with the massive leap in politicians entitlements and Tony Abbott referred to as the "Slime Minister".

"I saw my husband for 55 days in total last year and this is what we get," wrote one woman who called the deal pathetic. 

One said "I have always voted conservative but this amongst other things have forced me to reconsider" and another wrote "you can bet there will be more partners of ADF members pressuring them to leave even more so now!".

Serving ADF members must be careful about what they say in the public domain about their employer so quite often it is the spouses delivering the fury over the ADF's latest workplace remuneration arrangement.

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A common theme was the constant improvement in politicians entitlements.

Politicians' pay rises have outstripped those of Australian soldiers by more than 140 per cent over the past two decades, according to new research by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. 

"Amazing how the politicians sit on their bums at home in safety yet get huge wages amazing benefits, huge pensions from retirement regardless of age they retire," wrote one angry observer.

"Yet the people who they send to a war zone to do their dirty work can't even get pay to match inflation."

A woman who worked out how the $36-a-fortnight pay rise for her husband would be whittled down to a $12 increase after tax and superannuation said she feared the looming price increase in fuel - the Coalition plans to introduce a twice yearly, half a cent increase in the fuel excise. 

"DHA will increase rent and water... I'm sure other things such as electricity will increase," the same woman said.

There was doubt among some defence force families about the 1.5 per cent annual pay rise costing the government $634 million across three years with questions raised about whether this number took into account lost leave days under the new arrangement.  

The office of Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert said on Tuesday afternoon that the figure did not include productivity offsets which totalled $17.2 million.

One member of the ADF asked if someone could explain what other forms of leave were available to commanders as there had recently been a crackdown on shortleave and all other forms of leave.

"It is now virtually impossible to get shortleave," he said. 

The father of a member of the air force has started a petition against the pay deal and has uploaded a video featuring Mr Abbott to YouTube saying Diggers had been dudded.

The Prime Minister has stood by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal approval of the below-inflation pay deal for 57,000 Australia soldiers, sailors and Air Force personnel on Tuesday morning, suggesting it will be highest pay rise anyone in the public service will receive this year.

He said he "regrets" it is not higher but "we are going to see restraint across the whole of the public sector and I would be surprised if anyone in the Commonwealth public sector receives more that what is seen by our Defence forces".

Mr Abbott said the ADF deal "would not affect those serving overseas" and "those serving overseas get very substantial additional allowances and that is right and proper that that should be the case".

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