Coalition pushes pension review

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In an attempt to silence critics of the proposed changes linking the age and disability pensions with inflation, rather than the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) from 2017, the Federal Government has offered to set up a three yearly independent review of pension rates.

The independent review could recommend increases to pension rates which would be considered by the Federal Government at budget time, but would not be binding.

Coalition backbencher and critic of the proposed changes, Andrew Laming, called the proposal “promising”. “I think this is the first glimmer of hope, the first shining beam of light that we have a solution to this problem, which would make changing of pensions each year something that’ll be evaluated on a regular basis, done so independently and hopefully in some way depoliticised,” he said.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison suggested that the review would act as a “safety net”, but said that the pension system must remain sustainable. “This is a very serious issue for the future of the country, the pension is currently being received by around 2.5 million Australians and it is costing taxpayers obviously significantly in the order of over $40 billion,” he said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the offer showed how serious his Government is about getting the reform passed. “Under our proposal, pensions will go up twice a year every year, they’ll maintain pace with cost of living,” he said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek was critical of the idea. She pointed out that the review would only show us that the new lower indexation rates mean pensions are inadequate and that the government may or may not accept the independent review’s advice. ‘It’s meaningless … pensioners know they are being dudded,’ she said.

Read more at www.abc.net.au
Read more at www.skynews.com.au

Opinion: PM continues to miss the point

The offer of an independent review into pension rates is nothing more than lip service from a desperate Coalition Government attempting to push through another unpopular policy. Tony, you aren’t fooling anyone.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison openly confirmed that the review would act as a “safety net’ and then proceeded to say that the findings of the review would not be binding. This independent review offers little to no assurance to those 2.5 million Australians who are already doing it tough.

Shadow Minister for Families Jenny Macklin hit the nail on the head in her response to the proposed review by suggesting that a regular review was a good thing, but it should not come at the cost of a “proper indexation method”.

As with the previously unpopular GP co-payment policy, the Coalition Government currently lacks the support in the Senate to push through any changes to the pensions. Hopefully the Coalition’s latest stunt won’t sway any of the crossbench. 

What do you think? Is an independent review a good idea, regardless of whether the changes to indexation successfully pass through the Senate? Rather than cut the rate of indexation on pensions, from where do you think the government should source budget savings? 

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127 Comments

Total Comments: 127
  1. 0
    0

    There’s little point in a review if the Government of the day can simply ignore it. And what’s this about an “independent” review? The LNP, which has form in this area, will stack the review team with fellow ideological warriors. After all, no government sets up any form of enquiry if the result is not going to be the one it wants.
    Budget savings? Target multinational companies. Change the taxation system so that it is more progressive, with those doing very nicely paying more than they do now. Abolish the fuel subsidy.

  2. 0
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    The Abbot government has nothing but contempt for seniors worth less than a million dollars.

    They, and anyone on the cross benches need not expect my vote to pauperise impoverished old people.

    I am happy to see taxpayers withdraw subsidies for wealthy Superannuants though.

    Those who can pay tax and still live comfortably should contribute before reducing pensioners to penury.

  3. 0
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    remove the life time pensions of MP to 10 years only t0 50% of the one they now get

    • 0
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      Indeed – politician salaries need to be reduced to attract the genuine people and not the ‘career’ politicians, whose primary aim is to insulate self and cronies from the disasters created by their own decisions and indecisions.

      Politician super should be capped and, as before, tax paid on money earned from excessive savings… as it should be with the rest of the community.

    • 0
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      Yes. I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

    • 0
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      This is another one that I agree with wholeheartedly ! As was said the career Pollies are out to get all they can in the short term and all of us older pensioners can go jump as they really don’t care !! It is just lip service to try and get there budget across ! Dotty

    • 0
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      You wont find anyone like Mother Theresa in Parliament.

  4. 0
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    If it’s not binding it’s just another nice little earner for some Party faithful – again.. probably drag some of the old cronies out of retirement for another sweetener. Gotta pay for all the costs of your free overseas trips, you know. Gold Card for life isn’t all that great a deal!

    Pensions have been sustainable for years, and still are, since the very vast majority of pension payments returns to the economy in quick order, thus stimulating it and providing a base on which government can operate its economic pie in the sky dramas.

    Pensions provide employment in many ways, and I see no reason why those who’ve worked hard for it should carry the can.. we carried that can for our elders without a complaint, and felt it was the right thing to do. Now let it be reciprocated.

    If governments need money or to cut costs, they’ve, by now, received an extensive list of how to go about that.

  5. 0
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    Seniors,
    Keep annoying your MPs. They do not like to see anti mail in their in box. Ask them to pass on your email to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Social Security. It is unfortunate that we cannot vote on their pensions isn’t it.
    If there is to be an independent review let it be bi annually and by the same review committee which does the parliamentary salaries. If their rise is granted then there is no reason to block a pension increase.

    • 0
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      Your wasting Your time talking to them nowadays !! And don’t bother writing either All their Offices are Issued with a State of the Arts Paper Shredder !! 🙁

    • 0
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      There is always value in public feeling because they know where that leads.

    • 0
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      Particolor,
      Oh ye of little faith!

    • 0
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      just the ticket to fix the rorts; good one Dougie

    • 0
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      I have never seen a government based committee that was not picked on the basis of the way they think. Never picked because they are independent in their thoughts and actions and never made a report that did not echo that of the government or the department wanted. If they did move from the required result it was at their own peril. Hence my suggestion to ensure the same panel be used to review pensions as is used to review parliamentary salaries, If one does not achieve an increase neither should the other. Tie them inexorably together and se e what happens.

    • 0
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      I seem to recall that Kevin Rudd handed out a heap of foreign embassy jobs to coalition candidates. That was fair andthis bunch of misfits did just the opposites.
      You have to be a bit more realistic dougie. Sure government tilt the playing field but the current government is anabomination in every way.

    • 0
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      mick, that was to get ’em out of sight and out of the country .

    • 0
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      dougie/particolor – agree with you both, my e-mails to our local bloodsucker is always ” I have contacted the minister and he/she has said ” – biggest bloody cop out of all time, they will Not go against party lines. I have paid more into tax than these other bludging gitts have/will, they could not give a stuff – they are set for life. What it needs is for retirees to get serious and march on Canberra to show we are serious, not sit at our laptops/computers whinging all day

  6. 0
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    When the government is paying your salary it is not an independent review. It is more likely set with the parameters designed to achieve a pre-conceived outcome. In Geelong we have another type of research or investigation. It is about the endemic bullying that is in the local council and which goes right to the top. Unfortunately many of the villains are also good at their field and any organisation is likely to be reluctant to sack them, so they and this happens in many public service and public service type organisations they are promoted outside of the problem area. This just entrenches the problem and not solve it. So we have a situation where council has employed someone to investigate bullying. don’t make me laugh. I cannot see senior or executive government allowing any result that might impinge on their credibility. It will only be a cover up, as has happened in the past. The investigations conclude “insufficient evidence to………) and so the bus goes merrily along without any service. Look at the role models…. The Prime Minister and the like. If we cannot control it at that level then bullying will never stop. Bullying is a form of cowardice where some one weaker is the victim. the cowards usually rely on positions of power, or being supported by other cowards, until a bigger coward comes along then they become the victim. So you can see the difficulties and until it is made quite clear by the public that such behaviour is not acceptable and the law will be used to its fullest. Remember The Panlock case that made it a criminal offence where those convicted can face up to five years gaol term. Well why is it not being implemented?

    • 0
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      I see you have been thinking along the same lines as my argument with a Prof of Peace Studies, who could not get his mind around the idea that legitimised bullying by governmental structures was just as real as schoolyard, and far more damaging, and also set a bad example to the rest of the community by indicating that bullying and standover were the ways to get things you want.

      Leads to all sorts of social problems.

      While ever government itself bullies – so will everyone else… but in this case I think they’ve made a mistake in thinking that invading Pensionara would be an easy war because somehow those dependent on government payments are the serfs of government.

  7. 0
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    I have not voted Labor since the seventies long story) but having said that, I will not be voting liberal in the coming election in NSW nor will I vote for anyone giving the libs their preferences, so I guess Labor will be it, we in NSW need to send the Liberal’s a clear message, we won’t take your crap anymore, just like Qld has done

    • 0
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      Maybe consider voting for an Independent whose preference goes to Labor. Not the ideal but it does starve this disreputable government of oxygen.

    • 0
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      Given that the NSW State Government has maintained all pensioner payments, discounts and benefits despite reductions in funding from Canberra, I cannot follow the logic of punishing the State Government for Federal Government actions. The two are not linked. Take your issues up with your federal MP and vote accordingly at the next General Election. Do not relegate NSW to the bottom of the barrel to demonstrate your displeasure with Canberra. That would be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    • 0
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      Doesn’t have to be logical, KSS – the thing is that the thrust of these things by a specific party group is enough for the populace to reject that party group in its entirety.

      You belong to the same party and follow the same policy lines – you take the bad with the bad that comes from past failures at all levels of that Party group.

    • 0
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      In other words TREBOR, spit the dummy, stamp your feet, because you happen to disagree with the Federal Government, or more pertinently, dislike the leader of the Federal Government. Then what? You might as well blame Mr Baird because your bins are not emptied or there are pot holes in your local roads, or you cannot have a beer on your local beach or every car park in your area charges high parking fees or you can’t buy matzo bread because your local council passed a vote to denounce Israel. All because your local Council wears the ‘same colours’ as the Federal Government!

    • 0
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      Fair call KSS. Just remember the blatant corruption which they were caught out with. Whilst Labor had its crooks as well the fundamental right of Australians to elect THEIR government is diminished when you get the big end of town filli g the airways with their propaganda.
      Perhaps you might also remember that this NSW state government sent out a memo on Valentines Day instructing its members to write hate mail agai st Labor on the day. Do you still think that this government needs to be returned? I mean…..Australians need to punish the bad.

    • 0
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      That’s called democracy, KSS – anything else is imposition, or a form of Fascism for which nobody voted.

      the over-use, indeed abuse, of government agencies and power to handle minor issues is nowhere more prevalent than in the area of rights for alleged minorities. There are areas where government has a place, and there are areas where it does not.

      Where a government exceeds those parameters in its policy THRUST, it is the right of the people to draw its teeth.

    • 0
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      KSS the problem is this liberal state government is following the federal ideology and they are selling off our assets, a business without assets goes broke in no time, we have already lost many assets so the burden gets greater for those left

  8. 0
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    A simple way to fix the Pension dilemma:
    Change the Entitlements

    I absolutely agree, if a pension isn’t an entitlement, neither is theirs. They keep telling us that paying us an aged pension isn’t sustainable.
    Paying politicians all the perks they get is even less sustainable! The politicians themselves, in Canberra, brought it up, that the Age of Entitlements is over:

    The author is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in Australia will have this message. This is one idea that really should be passed around because the rot has to stop somewhere.

    Proposals to make politicians shoulder their share of the weight now that the Age of Entitlement is over:

    1. Scrap political pensions.
    Politicians can purchase their own retirement plan, just as most other working Australians are expected to do.

    2. Retired politicians (past, present & future) participate in Centrelink.
    A Politician collects a substantial salary while in office but should receive no salary when they’re out of office.
    Terminated politicians under 70 can go get a job or apply for Centrelink unemployment benefits like ordinary Australians.
    Terminated politicians under 70 can negotiate with Centrelink like the rest of the Australian people.

    3. Funds already allocated to the Politicians’ retirement fund be returned immediately to Consolidated Revenue.
    This money is to be used to pay down debt they created which they expect us and our grandchildren to repay for them.

    4. Politicians will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Politicians pay will rise by the lower of, either the CPI or 3%.

    5. Politicians lose their privileged health care system and participate in the same health care system as ordinary Australian people.
    I.e. Politicians either pay for private cover from their own funds or accept ordinary Medicare.

    6. Politicians must equally abide by all laws they impose on the Australian people.

    7. All contracts with past and present Politicians men/women are void effective 31/12/15.

    The Australian people did not agree to provide perks to Politicians, that burden was thrust upon them.
    Politicians devised all these contracts to benefit themselves.
    Serving in Parliament is an honour not a career.
    The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so our politicians should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three or so days for most Australians to receive the message. Don’t you think it’s time?

    THIS IS HOW YOU FIX Parliament and help bring fairness back into this country!

    If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.

    If you wonder why the above individuals are asking for your help look at the figures below.

    REMUNERATION – SPECIFIED STATUTORY OFFICES

    Date of Effect 1 July 2014

    Specified Statutory Office

    Base Salary (per annum)

    Total Remuneration for office (per annum)

    Chief of the Defence Force > $535,100 – $764,420

    Commissioner of Taxation > $518,000 – $740,000

    Chief Executive Officer, Australian Customs

    And Border Protection Service > $483,840 – $691,200

    Auditor-General for Australia > $469,150 – $670,210

    Australian Statistician > $469,150 – $670,210

    “PAY FREEZE, NOT FAIR. SOB, SOB”

    Salaries of retired Prime Minister and Politicians

    Office

    Additional salary (%)

    Salary as of 1 July

    Prime Minister

    160

    $507,338

    Deputy Prime Minister

    105

    $400,016

    Treasurer

    87.5

    $365,868

    Leader of the Opposition

    85.0

    $360,990

    House of Reps Speaker

    75.0

    $341,477

    Leader of the House

    75.0

    $341,477

    Minister in Cabinet

    72.5

    $336,599

    Parliamentary secretary

    25.0

    $243,912

    Other ministers

    57.5

    $307,329

    Shadow minister

    25.0

    $243,912

    Source: Remuneration Tribunal.

    So if I press all the right buttons, the TOTAL annual wages for the 150 seats in the Parliament are:

    Prime Minister

    $507,338

    Deputy Prime Minister

    $400,016

    Treasurer

    $365,868

    Leader of the Opposition

    $360,990

    House of Reps Speaker

    $341,477

    Leader of the House

    $341,477

    Minister in Cabinet

    $336,599

    Parliamentary secretary

    $243,912

    Other ministers*

    307,329 x 71 = A$21,820,359

    Shadow ministers*

    $243,912 x 71 = A$17,317,752

    The TOTAL ANNUAL SALARIES (for 150 seats) = $41,694,311 – PER YEAR!

    And that’s just the Federal Politicians, no one else!

    For the ‘lifetime’ payment example (below) I used the scenario that:

    1. They are paid ‘lifetime’ salaries the same as their last working year and

    2. After retiring, the ’average’ pollie’s life expectancy is an additional 20 years (which is not unreasonable).

    It’s worth remembering that this is EXCLUDING all their other perks!

    SO, for a 20 years ‘lifetime’ payment (excluding wages paid while a Parliamentarian)

    Prime Minister @ $507,338 = A$10,146,760

    Deputy Prime Minister @ $400,016 = A$8,000,320

    Treasurer @ $365,868 = A$7,317,360

    Leader of the Opposition @ $360,990 = A$7,219,800

    House of Reps Speaker @ $341,477 = A$6,829,540

    Leader of the House @ $341,477 = A$6,829,540

    Minister in Cabinet @ $336,599 = A$6,731,980

    Parliamentary Secretary @ $243,912 = A$4,782,240

    Other ministers** @ $307,329 = A$6,146,580 x 71 = A$436,407,180

    Shadow ministers** @ $243,912 = A$4,878,240 x 71 = A$346,355,040

    Conclusions:

    TOTAL ‘life time’ (20 year) payments, (excluding wages paid while in parliament) = A$833,886,220 – OVER $833 MILLION

    Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, John Howard, Paul Keating, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, et al, add nauseum, are receiving $10 MILLION + EXTRA at taxpayer expense.

    Should an elected PM serve 4 years and then decide to retire, each year (of the 4 years) will have cost taxpayers an EXTRA Two and a half million bucks a year! A$2,536,690 to be precise.

    A 2 year retirement payment cut-off will SAVE our Oz bottom line A$792,201,909 *** NEARLY $800 MILLION.

    There are 150 seats in House, minus the 8 above = 142 seats, divided equally for example = 71 each for both shadow and elected ministers.

    This example excludes all wages paid while a parliamentarian AND all perks on top of that – travel, hotels, Secretarial staff, speech writers, restaurants, offices, chauffeured limos, security, etc. etc.

    150 seats, 20-year payment of A$833,886,220 less annual salary x 2 years of A$83,388,622. [$41,694,311 x 2]

    “Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.”

    Doug Larson (English middle-distance runner who won gold medals at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, 1902-1981)

    YOU’RE RIGHT, YOU HAVE FOUND WHERE THE CUTS SHOULD BE MADE!

    ACTION: Push for a MAX 2 year post retirement payment (give ‘em time to get a real job).

    Spread it far and wide folks. People should know.

    • 0
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      WOW !! Done 🙂

    • 0
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      Nice Speech !! 🙂 Now go and Enjoy the Half a Loaf of Bread that Joe just shouted You for a Pay rise ?? 🙂 Don’t eat it all at once !! It has to last a fortnight !! And You wont be getting another Half Loaf for another Long Six Months !! 🙁
      THANKS JOE for the Buck 70 !!

    • 0
      0

      Sheila, Even this is only a relatively small amount and such action will only lead to claims of sour grapes and entitlement. The whole $40 billion of pension payments is equivalent to the amount of the unnecessary superannuation concessions for higher earners which also totals approxiately $40 billion. This is where campaigns should focus along with other revenue sources foregone. Combined with revealing the myth of the national debt, these are the directions we should be urging Labor to follow and to provide a rebuttal now before the impressionable who seem to be most of the population accept carte blanche the absurd propositionsthat the government is pushing.

    • 0
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      notice how they cannot apply the same rates to health funds etc.

    • 0
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      Streuth…write a book. Remember…..rules for some and (different) rules for others!

    • 0
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      Well shot, sheila, though a bit long. Most don’t read all that, but they follow the gist. You should do it as a series of lectures. I often flood people with far too much information at the one time…..

    • 0
      0

      Sheila, actually I do not agree with the call to cut MP’s salaries. If you look at your own figures there are civil servants who earn considerably more. The fact that the PM of Australia earns only half a million dollars is frankly laughable. Any self- respecting senior administrator of a large company would not get out of bed for that amount. It seems more pertinent to me to look at those salaries of the Public Service Heads!

      I don’t think the salaries are the issue. Nor is the MP’s superannuation. Yes they are paid higher percentage than most Australians but so are many sectors paid higher than the national standard 9%.

      No, the real issue is all the payments they are ‘entitled’ to once they leave office, regardless how the leaving occurs. Given they do have a generous retirement package, why do the Australian people have to continue to pay for offices, secretarial support, cars, flights, telephones, and assorted other ‘expenses’? Why do they not pay for these things themselves if they want them? Its not like they couldn’t afford them After all if they are used in the course of their business, they would also be tax deductable! This is where savings can and should be made. Their pensions should not be able to be accessed until they reach the national retirement age – currently 65 rising to 67 by 2023 and possibly 70 by 2035. Most of the younger MPs out of a job get other work almost instantly so have no need to access their parliamentary pension. Those older MPs providing they have reached the preservation age (which could be 60) should be allowed to access their pension under the same terms as any other Australian accessing theirs.

      How much did Australians pay for Mr Whitlam after he left office? Or Mr Keating? Or Mr Hawke, Mr Howard? How many ex MPs are still being funded by taxpayers (other than their pension)? This is where we need to be making serious changes. Not whinging about a salary + pension that in the commercial world is derisory.

    • 0
      0

      Now that the curtain has been lifted on what the politicians (and ex politicians’) are costing the taxpayers , we might also examine the pay and conditions that are paid to department heads and senior management in the Public Service. The head of the ABC, for example, (if my source is correct) takes home over $700.000 per year and the ABC’s “stars” of news and current events are paid around %300.000 per year. So the Public Service “Sir Humphries” ( of Yes Minister fame) all have their snouts well and truly in the trough as well.
      So it isn’t just the politicians that are reaping the rorts. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what is going on in the state governments.

    • 0
      0

      Good one Wally. None of them are worth $800 000 pa. And if they were paid on performance then they’be lucky to be getting $50 000 pa. But remember: this is a club…..the public is not asked to make comment and certainly no suggestions.

    • 0
      0

      They all aspire to one day become the top postie in all of Australia.

  9. 0
    0

    1. The Australian ‘government’ MUST stop listening to their ‘shadow government whisperers” (corporations, lobbyist) and start listening to the voice of their citizens!

    2. The Australian ‘government’ MUST STOP spending money on the so-called
    War on Terror” ( that isn’t! ) and instead take care of their own citizens!

    PROBLEM SOLVED! And everyone is HAPPY!

    http://justice4poland.com/2014/12/09/prominent-voices-speak-out-to-stop-usukeu-push-for-thermonuclear-wwiii/

    http://uk.sputniknews.com/world/20141206/1013279203.html

    http://cecaust.com.au/main.asp?sub=articles&id=2014_12_08_pilger.html

    • 0
      0

      You miss the point: big business provides election funding to the liberal side of politics so BIG BUSINESS OWNS THIS GOVERNMENT. That is thr problem!

    • 0
      0

      I’d like to see you provide more explanation of what you mean by citizens. Rudd tried that and look what happened to him.

    • 0
      0

      Naughty Mick. You neglected to mention that the Unions fund their puppets, rubber stamps and cronies that infest the Labor Party.

  10. 0
    0

    What a lot of absolute rubbish.
    If we really need to improve the quality of our politicians from ex-staffers, teachers and union officials, we may need to increase the packages.
    If you all think our politicians are over paid, where else are you going to get elected persons working 7 days per week for 48 weeks of the year to represent you moaners and put up with all the rubbish below.

    • 0
      0

      tams all the moaning is coming from the well educated politicians trying to shaft the pensioners disabled and needy. I see no effort in trying to address there own expenditure. 7 days a week 48 weeks per year good thing they get so many Parliamentary breaks and a good length are they not.

    • 0
      0

      Its not the pay its the GOLDEN HANDSHAKE AFTER 2 TERMS IN OFFICE and the instant access to this wonderful loot.

    • 0
      0

      I beg to differ – if the salaries were much smaller you would ONLY attract the people who really want to do the JOB….. I’d be one of them and prepared to take $50k plus go to my electorate at year’s end for a bonus for work value. I’d soon get the message if I were not working for my ELECTORATE. Grass roots politics.

      The ordinary person out there isn’t so dumb they can’t say how their own country should be run.

    • 0
      0

      TREBOR, are you suggesting that Malcolm or Clive should become our PM because they don’t need the money? For that matter, why not Gina Reinhardt or Jaimie Packer? If the only criteria is to be willing to work for next to nothing.
      And another thing, don’t give ’em an expense account, either. Make ’em pay forroom and board, trips around the country and overseas as well. Let ’em pay for their own office staff, drivers, and all the other rorts that go with their jobs! Then see what kind of people put their hands up to be politicians! Probably bribe takers like so many of our neighbouring countries have.

    • 0
      0

      Damn – I forgot how Malcolm and Clive could snake under the wire…. might have to make it illegal for anyone with above a certain amount of assets to stand for Parliament, since they have no grasp of the real issues and no way of obtaining that grasp.

      A year living on the pension would sort them out.

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