A likely new pay deal for the Australian Defence Force is set to leave their civilian colleagues far behind on the wages scale.
The nation's 57,000 sailors, soldiers and Air Force personnel look set to be offered a new three-year workplace deal carrying pay increases of 2 per cent per year and with no loss of conditions.
The offer should allow the Coalition government to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing backdown forced upon it two years ago after a failed attempt to impose its hardline public sector industrial relations policy on the military.
But the deal would also shatter the decades-old convention that pay for ADF members and their civilian public service colleagues should be kept broadly in line.
Fairfax understands that the ADF hierarchy and the government have agreed on a position to take to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, the body that sets military pay, in August.
ADF personnel were told on Friday that the new 'Workplace Remuneration Agreement' (WRA) would be based on a headline position of "2 per cent per annum over a three-year period with no loss of conditions of service".
If the new proposal is approved by the tribunal, it will give the ADF pay rises of 12 per cent for the years 2014-2020.
The Defence Department's 17,000 public servants have not had a general pay rise since 2013 and, if they vote in mid-June to accept the the latest proposal on the table, will have to make do with 6 per cent for the same period, about half what their military colleagues are getting.
Former Defence Department Secretary Dennis Richardson, who retired in May, consistently argued the favourable treatment given to one group over the other would undermine decades of effort to build a "sense of being together and working together" at Defence.
The last time military pay was determined, the then Abbott-government was forced improve its pay offer and abandon cuts to conditions after a backlash in the ranks and from service families.
The group that led the grass-roots revolt in 2014 and 2015, the Defence Force Welfare Association, said on Tuesday that the new offer was "reasonable".
"In the current economic environment the DFWA considers the offer is reasonable, and will seek the opinions of its ADF members before presenting its final position to the Tribunal later this year," the association told its large Facebook following.
But the group also had a warning for the Coalition not to risk a repeat of the embarrassing events of 2014 and 2015.
"Memories quickly fade but no one should forget how emphatically, in 2014, ADF members rejected the defence/government agreed offer to them of a 1.5 per cent per year increase in their pay," the association said in a statement.
"To prove that lessons of the past can be learnt, it is with some satisfaction DFWA learned that the government and ADF have agreed to present to the DFRT a proposal that the next three year WRA for the ADF, commencing November 2017, will give ADF members a 2 per cent wage increase for each of the next three years."