Yesterday's Question Time descended into farce as the Opposition demanded answers over a payroll bungle that has denied allowances for defence personnel returning from Afghanistan.
"We are all collectively distressed at the thought that our special forces soldiers could be incorrectly having monies deducted from their pay," Minister Fitzgibbon said.
"The fact is that underinvestment in ICT in Defence is causing problems right throughout the Defence organisation."
Fitzgibbon said the payroll issue was "complex" and involved the inability of Defence's computer systems to recognise the competencies required to secure certain allowances for Defence personnel.
"The reality is that the ICT and other systems have not been able to deliver," he said. "That is the fact of it."
The ensuing debate saw Liberal Party ministers Greg Hunt and Nola Marino ejected from the chamber. Hunt's offense was to exclaim: "The computer says no!"
"They are issues that we have inherited because of underinvestment in these systems over many years," Fitzgibbon said.
"I said I would fix this problem. The Chief of Army is acting in good faith to fix it as quickly as possible.
"In the meantime we have put provisions in place to ensure no Defence member is financially disadvantaged."