The High Court yesterday rejected the bid by four retired politicians to claim larger retirement pensions and more free travel at the taxpayers’ expense.
The four former politicians cited section 51 of the constitution when challenging recent changes to the law that has slowed the growth of their retirement allowances and limited trips they can take on the Life Gold Pass.
There are currently around 350 former politicians receiving more than $40 million in pensions annually and while these four former politicians are currently receiving pensions between $80,000 and $120,000 each every year.
In submissions during the case, the court heard from the Government that each of the four had already received vastly more money from their pension than they had contributed to their own funds. Former Labor MP Tony Lamb was singled out, in the Government’s submissions, due to having paid only $35,297 into his super account during his nine-year career in parliament while having already received over $1.3 million in retirement benefits.
The plaintiffs failed in their bid to gain a boost to the entitlements of former politicians and have been ordered to pay the costs of the long-running case.
Read more at www.theage.com.au.
Sanity prevailed in the High Court yesterday with the court ruling in the favour of the Government in the long-standing case over political pensions. The four former politicians may believe that their bid to restore the original rules surrounding their pension plans was just, but in my opinion, they simply showed their greed.
As the average pensioner goes about their daily life attempting to live off the basic age pension payment, these four former politicians are living the high life receiving pensions of $80,000 to $120,000 per year. It amazes me, but doesn’t surprise me, that this somehow wasn’t near good enough for these four men who through the court case attempted to have this amount increased significantly.
When reading over the case and all of the claims, the item that really got me fired up was the argument over the limitations placed in 2012 on the Life Gold Pass. Previously, the card entitled the holder to unlimited domestic flights at the taxpayers’ expense, but this was wound back to 10 domestic return flights a year. This rule change seemed not just reasonable, but still excessively generous.
Had the plaintiffs won, it would have been a slap in the face to the taxpayer and the case highlights the ridiculously out of control schemes that have been, and still are, in-place ensuring a financially secure retirement for all politicians. The Gillard Government changes were a step in the right direction to clawing back unnecessary post-career parliamentary privilege, but it may just be time for another review.
What do you think? Should there be an independent review into parliamentary pensions? Should the Life Gold Pass scheme be further reduced or scrapped?