Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal
Role of the Tribunal
The functions and powers of the Tribunal are set out in section 58H of the Defence Act 1903. The Tribunal inquires into and determines pay and pay related allowances for the Regular and Reserve members of the Australian Defence Force.
A two yearly review is required pursuant to the Act, which traditionally sets the timeframe of the rolling review of ADF salaries and allowances.
In addition the Tribunal is required to inquire into and make determinations in respect of prescribed matters which have been referred to it in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
Members of the Tribunal
The Tribunal consists of three members:
The Members are appointed by the Governor General to serve on a part-time basis for a period of up to five years, and are eligible for re-appointment beyond one term.
Parties before the Tribunal
There are two primary parties in all matters before the Tribunal, ie the Defence Force acting on behalf of the members of the Defence Force and the Commonwealth acting as the respondent. The Commonwealth is the nominal employer for ADF members.
The Defence Force Advocate (DFA) is appointed on a part-time basis by the Minister for Defence acting on recommendation by the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF).
The functions of the DFA are to:
The DFA is supported by the Directorate of Military Salaries and Allowances - Policy (DMSA-P) which administers, researches and develops all industrial matters, and which provides the assistant (junior counsel) to the DFA for all matters for consideration by the DFRT. Matters for consideration by the Tribunal may be initiated by any of the three Services, however carriage of all such matters is through the industrial section.
Commonwealth Advocate is a representative from the Australian Public Service Commission
Interveners. Where the Tribunal thinks that a person or body should be heard in relation to a matter that is being, or is to be considered, the Tribunal may permit the person or body to be present. Interveners may appear and make submissions, but must seek leave to appear before proceedings start. Since provisions were established in 1991 to allow for interveners to appear, leave to appear has never been refused. The Returned and Services League of Australia is an example of an intervener.
The Tribunal may regulate the conduct of its proceedings as it thinks fit and is not bound to act in a formal manner. The Tribunal may inform itself on any matter in such manner as it thinks fit and is not bound by the rules of evidence. Normal Tribunal business includes:
The visits are considered to be highly beneficial for both the DFRT and the ADF. Importantly they provide ADF members with the opportunity to raise remuneration issues with their independent pay fixing Tribunal. There may be occasions where information gained in the course of these visits may cause the Tribunal to request that the ADF bring forward a particular matter for its consideration. The Tribunal is accompanied on the visits by staff from DMSA-P.
The DFRT activity (case) program is developed in consultation between DMSA-P, the Services, the Australian Public Service Commission, and the Tribunal. It is a rolling schedule that is normally prepared 12-18 months in advance and approved at programming conferences that are held regularly by the Tribunal.
The cases that are scheduled for Tribunal hearing usually reflect the agreed priorities of the DFRT, the ADF and the Services. The processes by which cases are identified and priorities are assigned are principally:
· Further information ‑ DMSA-P
Last Updated: 6 December 2012