The average salary of a backbencher has increased by $49,640 compared with a year ago.
Just three months after our nation’s Federal ministers and senators received sizable pay rises, the independently administered Remuneration Tribunal has approved a three per cent pay rise. This means the average salary of a backbencher has increased by $49,640 compared with a year ago while the Prime Minister will be $129,064 better off.
A number of Federal ministers and senators have spoken out against the pay rise and called for its immediate scrapping. "Coming less than a week after the parliamentary paralysis in relation to asylum seekers, and only a few days after the introduction of the carbon tax, this will only fuel public anger at politicians generally", said Senator Nick Xenophon.
Finance Minister Penny Wong has defended the increase stating "I think that the best way to deal with it is the way we've tried to deal with it, which is to take politicians out of the equation and to give it to an independent tribunal, and they set politicians' salaries."
It was only a week ago that our elected leaders failed us. They had the opportunity to make a real difference by putting their minds together and implementing a reasonable solution to the asylum seeker situation. Instead, our leaders stood firm and were unable to resolve the issue on the last sitting day of Parliament before six weeks break.
I am almost never surprised about the game of politics anymore, including Craig Emerson’s poor attempt at covering Horror Movie, but I was generally shocked to hear that the independently administered Remuneration Tribunal approved a pay rise for minister and senators. The rise which is double the rate of inflation comes three months after the largest increase to their pay-packets this decade and is simply un-warranted.
You would be hard pressed to argue that our Federal minister and senators do not deserve the salaries they are now being paid when you compare the figures to the private sector, but that does not mean they deserve a three per cent pay increase when they don’t get the work done. Imagine walking out of work for a six week ‘break’ with such a serious situation unresolved. In four out of five situations you would come back to no job.
Politicians need to be held accountable for their actions and the current Remuneration Tribunal, which approved the pay increase, is not acting in the best interests of those who elect and pay the salaries of our leaders.
Follow Drew on Twitter: @Drew_YLC
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