Retiring politicians’ bumper pensions

Of the 22 federal politicians who have announced they will retire this year by not contesting their seats in the up-coming election, 16 are eligible for the Parliamentary Contribution Superannuation Scheme. This means that they will each receive a pension of at least $118,000 per year for the rest of their lives – with some receiving much more.

The defined benefits scheme is available to politicians elected before 2004 and costs the taxpayer $40 million per year. The latest tranche of ‘retirees’ will add $2 million to the bill.

The pension is paid at 75 per cent of the current base MPs salary of $157,500 but with allowances added for time served, 14 of the 16 eligible will have tens of thousands of dollars added to their income.

Warren Truss, Ian McFarlane and Phillip Ruddock will benefit most and will walk away with pensions of between $150,000 and $200,000. Bruce Billson, Bill Heffernan and Mal Brough will also benefit from the scheme, with Labor’s Anna Bourke, Joe Ludwig and Bernie Ripoll also taking home generous pensions.

And it gets better, with the income indexed each year. Retiring MPs are also given the option of taking half of the defined benefit as a lump sum, with a smaller annual payment. Also, for those in office before 6 March 2012 who complete the required amount of service will also receive a Life Gold Pass that entitles them to 10 business class domestic flights per year. 

Moving to Washington DC to take on the role of Australia’s Ambassador was made sweeter for Joe Hockey, who also qualified for the generous pension.

The Parliamentary Contribution Superannuation Scheme was scrapped in 2004 by John Howard. 



Opinion: Stop paying excessive parliamentary pensions

The Government’s mantra for the last few years has been that the cost of providing the Age Pension is spiralling out of control – at a rate that is unsustainable. So news that 16 federal politicians will leave parliament this year each with a payment of at least $118,000 should anger those trying to live on a meagre pension of $867 per fortnight (Single, full Age Pension including supplements). 

And let’s not forget that those men and women who have served us so well in Parliament on high salaries will more than likely walk into other high paid jobs. Or at the very least, will have had plenty of time and spare cash to adequately fund their own, very comfortable, retirement. Not for them the worry of whether or not they will exceed the income and asset test and lose their Age Pension.

In just over two weeks time the Age Pension will be indexed and the Government will announce how it is committed to providing for Australia’s pensioners by delivering an increase in the pension. What rubbish. The extra $6.20 or so (based on September 2015 increase) that pensioners will see in their payments will soon be swallowed up by increased rents and utility bills. The increase is of little or no value to anyone who receives it and it’s certainly not down to the generosity of the Government.

The Parliamentary Contribution Superannuation Scheme may now be closed to new politicians but that doesn’t stop politicians, some of whose ability is questionable, taking home handsome pensions. If they had any sense of what is right, they would forego their massive payouts to help save the country the $42 million cost every year.

Do you think a pension of $118,000 is justified for retiring federal politicians? If not, what level of pension should former MPs receive? Should the Government simply stop the payments in order to help balance the books? 

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