As the Government’s special envoy for human rights, former minister Philip Ruddock receives a healthy remuneration and this is on top of his $200,000 parliamentary pension.
Labor’s Penny Wong yesterday asked the Government to explain just how much Mr Ruddock was being paid for his envoy role. Although only paid for the actual days work, the annual salary is between $210, 482 and $241,715. While a parliamentary pension is usually adjusted to take into consideration salary paid for government roles, it appears that as Mr Ruddock bears the title of envoy, this rule does not apply.
“Legal advice was sought on that matter and the legal advice that we were given is that because he bears the title of envoy, it doesn’t have an impact on his pension,” said head of DFAT’s multilateral policy division Dr Lachlan Strahan.
In the Senate yesterday Ms Wong expressed what many might be thinking: “He gets double pay? That’s very convenient, because he has a title?”
Mr Ruddock defended the double pay, saying, “The written advice from the Department of Finance is that if it is under a contract with the department – presumably it’s happened before – it would have a very marginal impact on my pension, even if it were an office of profit under the Crown,” he said.
“It’s a daily rate and the impact on the pension is marginal.”
What are your thoughts? Is it fair that Mr Ruddock is paid his pension and a salary from the Government? Or should he forego one or the other?