8th Feb 2017
Age of entitlement is over: no more gravy plane for MPs
Malcolm Turnbull signing a document

Malcolm Turnbull stirred up controversy in Parliament yesterday when he announced that the Life Gold Pass will be cut, saying it will be effective immediately instead of over a phase-out period.

The move came as a surprise to the Coalition and has angered many members of parliament, particularly those nearing retirement, who are now unable to receive free business class travel. The perk will remain available to former prime ministers only, although millionaire Mr Turnbull says he will not use it.

The Life Gold Pass, which was established in 1918 to provide members of Parliament with taxpayer-subsidised rail travel, has since grown to be an extravagant entitlement, allowing MPs free business class travel post-retirement, with virtually no accountability.

Over time, the specifications for the entitlement have changed. During the Howard Government, the free travel perk was widened and the ‘severance traveller package’ was introduced to include every MP not eligible for the Life Gold Pass. MPs could use this perk for between six months and five years after they retired from Parliament. However, as The Australian reports, some former MPs were still receiving free travel up to 40 years post-retirement.

Now, this is all at an end. Mr Turnbull’s announcement follows the recent scandal involving former MP Sussan Ley. The then-Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, and Minister for Sport stepped down last month when it was revealed she had travelled to the Gold Coast 17 times between 2013 and 2016, costing the Australian taxpayer over $40,000.

The Prime Minster says this move is part of a reform of the parliamentary expenses system, which utilises recommendations from last year’s expenses review. The review, which began in 2015, after former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop was found to have used $5227 of taxpayer money to fund a helicopter charter to a party fundraiser, was left to simmer last year.

According to The Australian, the Life Gold Pass has cost taxpayers $17.2 million since 2001.

Read more at theaustralian.com.au

Opinion: Finishing what was started

Finally, we see some positive change put in to effect.

In 2011, then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard took the first steps to axe the Life Gold Pass scheme by prohibiting it to new members and reducing the number of flights permitted. Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’s widely hated first 2014 Budget also moved along the process of curbing entitlements for retired MPs over a period of six years. Now, Prime Minister Turnbull is finishing what was started.

While many MPs have used the travel privilege over the years to help community groups and charities, others have treated it as a personal airline charter service. What began as a simple rail travel pass 100 years ago became an entitlement exploited by too many MPs.

Cutting the perk is a bold and surprisingly progressive move by the PM, especially given the immediacy of its execution. No doubt, it’s a move that will be well received by the Australian people. However, before we celebrate, let’s take a moment to consider the motive and context in which this announcement was made. Is it worth questioning the PM’s timing on this?

What do you think? Does the timing of this long-awaited policy change seem somewhat suspicious? Or do you think the PM simply made the right decision and closed the book on what had become a drawn out issue?

Below is the list of claims by current Life Gold Pass holders, effective 1 January to 30 June 2016:

Peter Slipper $12,620.23

Simon Crean $9827.61

Fran Bailey $6732.59

Michael Ronaldson $7494.10

Nicola Roxon $5013.09

David Hawker $4306.80

Bob McMullan $3901.13

Grant Chapman $2469.93 Family claim $376.87

Ron Boswell $2344.07

Bruce Scott $1201.48 Family claim $1201.48

Alex Somlyay $1597.52

Stephen Smitth $1561.64

Martin Ferguson $1299.38

Dick Adams $831.02

Alan Griffin $819.80

Helen Coonan $656.40

Laurie Ferguson $328.20

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    COMMENTS

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    TMac
    8th Feb 2017
    10:10am
    About time and bring on the rest of the proposed changes
    MICK
    8th Feb 2017
    6:18pm
    How can you tell Turnbull and his government are on the way out? Answer: they are dragged kicking and screaming to do what should have been done years ago. I mean this crew have been in government 16 out of the last 20 years have they not? And they wait until now?
    We will have a new government after the next election. Not sure what it will look like but one can only hope that it will be a mix made up of significant numbers of Independents and minor parties. Then we may see the reappearance of democracy. Can't wait. Long overdue that the nation is put ahead of giving taxpayer money to the rich.
    Rae
    8th Feb 2017
    6:35pm
    Is that right MiCK. I wondered why there was nothing left that hadn't been sold off or privatised or contracted out to business buddies. That certainly explains the budget deficit thing.
    MICK
    8th Feb 2017
    7:03pm
    Don't forget Rae.....it's all "Labor's fault" even though the LNP have been in office for 16 out of the last 20 years.
    The word 'corruption' needs a special annotation for use in politics and there needs to be prison time for politicians of all manner who sell out the country to their rich election donation Santa Claus buddies.
    Oldman Roo
    8th Feb 2017
    8:33pm
    Mick , While I prefer Labor to Liberals [ the lesser of 2 evils ] , I am also finding it hard to understand why Labor did not make some of these changes when they were in Government . All very obvious problems that do not take years to fix .
    Number one would have been to correct the perks of Politicians and there is a lot more scope than just scratching the surface like the LNP just did .
    Number 2 was tackling the approx. 679 large corporations that for example did not pay any tax last year. Not to forget the highly attractive tax breaks for the rich with around 50 of the richest people in Australia not paying any tax .
    Why did Labor not touch these corporations and ultra rich not paying any tax ? Maybe the two big parties have something in common .
    I also have to blame Labor a lot for the budget deficit blowout , not at all difficult to figure out with red carpet treatment for refugees and economic refugees boat people . That most of these new arrivals would become an enormous drain on welfare should not have been too hard to figure out , just like Labor has still not figured out that the Boat people and voters fear of their left faction has lost them two elections in a row .
    musicveg
    8th Feb 2017
    9:21pm
    Oldman Roo, it is how our political system works, all being run by the multi national companies, oil and gas, coal and the rich who donate the money to both parties. Check out a documentary called Utopia if you want to know more about our unfair and unjust Government and who is really pulling the puppet strings.
    MICK
    9th Feb 2017
    12:53am
    Whilst I agree with both of the above posts remember that business/big business is all powerful. Look at what they did to Mike Baird when he tried to close down the disgraceful dog racing industry. Baird now gone!
    And then there is the repeal of the Carbon tax. Guess who was running that?
    Big business controls the political game and politicians are their puppets. When pollies want to do something other than grease the palms of business they get shafted. Even Turnbull was pushed out of the leadership when he previously supported renewable energy.
    What is needed is a complete removal of business money and rich benefactors from politics. That'll be hard but once that happens and laws are put in place to stop them getting around the (new) law it will be game over. Don't hold your breath though as our pollies have their own snouts deep in the feeding trough and they do not have the backbones to push greedy business out.
    GreyViper
    9th Feb 2017
    4:14pm
    No Mick, they have not! You are wrong again. K. Rudd and J Gillard were in government for almost 6 years so you can only blame the Liberals for 14 years, NOT 16. Check your math!
    TREBOR
    10th Feb 2017
    10:50am
    So the LNP only accept 2.33 times the blame for the current debacle that Labor does? 14/6 = 2.33

    OK... I see no problem with laying blame there....
    Magnolia
    8th Feb 2017
    10:25am
    Personally I would like Malcolm to look at the superannuation entitlements for MPS.. why should they be allowed to access their Super BEFORE retiring age and then go on to further work and raise more. It should not be allowed to be accessed.
    Tom Tank
    8th Feb 2017
    11:19am
    Absolutely Magnolia.
    They should have to wait until the same age as the Age Pension can be claimed and the taxpayer funded component should be means tested.
    To be fair the pollies do contribute to the fund and that should be recognised but even that component should not be payable until reaching pension age.
    Ted Wards
    8th Feb 2017
    1:04pm
    Here here and why should they be entitle to any more than the average worker. In many cases they do not put in the hours that workers do, nor the length or years of service, yet they get so much more.
    GeorgeM
    8th Feb 2017
    3:21pm
    ALL special entitlements for retiring MPs should be removed, and they should only get Pensions as any other ordinary Australians based on Income and Assets Tests at the same age as other Australians.

    All who agree should sign the e-petition - link provided by Mel in one of the comments below (Mel: Thanks, it works).
    Old Man
    8th Feb 2017
    3:45pm
    You're already getting your wish Magnolia. Those politicians elected to the Parliament for the first time after 2001 can only access their superannuation on reaching 55 years of age, the same as all other Australians. For those who were there prior to 2001, the existing rules were grandfathered.
    Old Geezer
    8th Feb 2017
    5:09pm
    They can access their super at 55 and continue working like everyone else.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    10:25pm
    Shows the need to change the rules.......
    TREBOR
    9th Feb 2017
    1:35am
    Why should anyone get to access their retirement fund, aka super, before retirement age, unless there is some genuine emergency??

    a. So as to afford to those with excessive super and ongoing income the opportunity to use those resources, while still working in often excessively remunerative 'jobs', to further cement their personal asset base and income for generations for their family and to develop a long-term and lasting society divided by 'haves' on one side (who will naturally rule the roost) and 'have-nots' on the other (who will naturally, having no choice, behave as serfs aka slaves), which inheritances to their families they will happily pass on while extolling the virtues of forcing those who have managed to scrape together a HOME over fifty years of work having that created anew into a 'debt' against the government's consolidated revenue so as to ensure that the 'lower classes' do not pass on wealth to their descendants and thus cause those descendants to become a challenge to the hegemony of the 'established' class.

    That says it in ten nutshells.....
    cdbstock
    12th Feb 2017
    12:09pm
    I agree, Magnolia.
    A test for the other parties - If only they would go to the next election with a policy that makes superannuation come under the same rules as the rest of us, the major parties would be in an invidious position - they would lose votes or even government if they argued against such a policy
    Culgoa
    8th Feb 2017
    10:34am
    Cutting the Gold Pass is just a token effort. When will this gutless mob further reduce their perks and cut the allowances to ex PMs? Willing to bet nothing more will happen.
    grounded
    8th Feb 2017
    11:29am
    Yeah, too right....I've been just hanging out, waiting for a joint announcement from Hawke, Keating, Gillard and Rudd that they have decided to forgo their Gold Pass entitlements.....

    As Abbott still remains a duly elected, and working Member of Parliament, he doesn't receive Gold Pass entitlements...only 'Lil' Johnny from the Libs receives it.

    Yeah, dead right....this gutless mob of former Labor PM's certainly need to reduce their perks...and finally get their snouts right out of the trough.
    Batara
    8th Feb 2017
    1:33pm
    Hey Grounded, I would hope Tony Abbott never gets a PM pass. He didn't serve two years in the job and in any case was such a crook PM he does not deserve it. Driving Sydney to Canberra is not so hard. Let him drive to work like any of us would do.
    I see no reason Hawks, Keating, Howard, Rudd, or Gillard should get free travel either, but Abbott is such an abhorrent specimen of humanity the feeling is amplified.
    Triss
    8th Feb 2017
    1:48pm
    Not so fabulous. As I understand it it's only retired MPs' gold passes that are axed. Retired Prime Ministers and Premiers, who get many more perks than MPs, are still eligible. That will include Abbott and Turnbull. Taxpayers duped again.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    6:32pm
    While I blistered them below over paid to travel to work (another perk not very many get in the real world) - they DO have to travel for the job - so incumbents do need some way of keeping track of their expenditure on travel for WORK. A card is a good way to do that.

    What needs to be looked at carefully is the 'piggy-backing' of some flimsy excuse to travel onto the primary purpose of that travel - which is, in far too many cases, for personal or party business - NOT government business. I will say again - Party business is NOT government business.

    It is exactly those two areas that have caught out a few politicians lately, from Choppers Bronnie to The Surfers Apartment Queen... and it is clear that such things - in which I also include charging the taxpayer for a five minute talk to a deaf dog at the aged dog's home followed by a four hour meet with the party faithful insiders such as Tony loved to pull - desperately need to be looked at closely AND set to rights NOW.

    We, the People, are not in the business of providing for every want or whim of our elected representatives - nor of their compadres in the contracted senior executive of the public service (you don't get one of THOSE gigs UNLESS you are somebody's mate, you know persuade me that Fat Hank at Centrelink is the real goods.... I dare you)...
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    6:33pm
    Oh - retired PMs? I see no reason why they should get a free ride for life either.... once they're out, they're on their own, and they've had a sweet enough ride to carry on without our help.
    Eddy
    9th Feb 2017
    10:00am
    Why should MPs, or anybody else, have their salary package cut retrospectively. Retrospectivity seems unfair in anything. MPs stood for election with a pre-determined salary package which included, among other things, a reasonable salary, superannuation benefits and a lifetime travel pass. All this ranting and vitriolic raving does not change the fact that those MP benefits have been in place for many years, to change them now for existing recipients seems unfair.
    How would you all feel if, for instance, the Government decided to change the assets test on homes and made it retrospective for 20 years or so, resulting in most home owning OAP having a debt to Centrelink. Apart from being political suicide, It would not be fair.
    We only have to recall what happened to dairy farmers when their co-op reduced milk prices retrospectively.
    It may not be the ex-MPs who are at fault, but the system. By all means change the system but not retrospectively. Remember, if we pay peanuts all we will get is monkeys.
    TREBOR
    9th Feb 2017
    12:12pm
    I thought they weren't in it for the money and the perks, Eddy - but to serve the people of this nation. A benefit that has been shown to be falsely based should be removed retrospectively.

    How does anyone justify free flights for life to ex-politicians, for example? Hardly in the same category as any assets test (beats the drum again) - in which case a no assets test pension paid to all, and income tax taken on all income and fringe benefits above that.

    We do pay monkeys, Eddy, and all we get is peanut manure in exchange.. not even good for growing the gardens of this country.
    musicveg
    9th Feb 2017
    1:14pm
    Eddy, the Government likes to cut welfare, health, environment protection, community organizations, charity etc. I think it is fair when they are looking to cut back on expenditure to start at the top. Many private organizations often have to do the same, no difference in my opinion when we cannot afford to take care of Australians then MP's have to live a little less rich. If they are here to serve the people they should care more and stop being so greedy.
    Retired Knowall
    8th Feb 2017
    10:39am
    There is an urgent need to review the pay scales for Senior Public Servants. I believe the chief of Australia Post is paid over $500,000. Thats more than the PM
    Wstaton
    8th Feb 2017
    11:39am
    $5.5 million 11 times more than the PM.
    jackie
    8th Feb 2017
    12:10pm
    Australia post is privatised thanks to our incompetent governments that get voted in all the time. One Nation is looking sweeter by the month.
    tendj
    8th Feb 2017
    12:34pm
    And why should tax payers foot the bill for public servants stamp duty when they buy a house in Canberra
    KSS
    8th Feb 2017
    1:07pm
    Why jackie? Has Ms Hanson promised to nationalise Australia Post which already belongs to the nation? Australia Post is NOT privatised it is owned by the Government.

    "The Government-owned business enjoyed a $36 million profit in 2015-16, yet major job cuts occurred in 2015 due to the decreases in its traditional mail service." Quote from another article on this very site!!!
    KSS
    8th Feb 2017
    1:10pm
    tendj; this is no different to private enterprise paying moving costs for their employees particularly at senior levels and that includes the buying and selling of property if necessary not just the removal van. Such packages can also include school fees and even international flights where the employees is overseas.
    fred
    8th Feb 2017
    1:29pm
    yes Tenj, I totally agree taxpayers should not have to fund or foot the bills of overpaid public servants to pay their private transfer costs and stamp duty etc
    What private enterprise does maybe similar in benefits paid to public employees but KSS misses the point entirely . We the taxpayers do not pay for the staff expenses in private employment or private enterprise , the company does and inturn the owners or shareholders of the company
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    4:31pm
    In other words, they overpay some turkey to reduce services in AustPost, and rip off some of the old posties.... one guy I used to drive to the club in the club bus had been the local postie for years, but AustPost offered him a deal he could not accept. He's got it all in writing and it's in the courts as we speak.

    "Privatisation' is a failure from start to finish and ends up costing more than it was worth to do it. Like over-stocking the public service with Affirmative Actioned people, however - once they are in and are handling the reins - there is NO way short of massive surgery they can ever be removed to create Equality again.

    Once set in motion, these things self-perpetuate and only a massive collapse will bring them down to Earth.
    Nerk
    8th Feb 2017
    10:46am
    What about that $40,000 payment to these people to help them ease back into society when they retire from parliament, how ever why not restablish the taxpayer-subsidised rail travel.
    Old Man
    8th Feb 2017
    3:52pm
    Is that any different to a redundancy package given to employees Nerk? My redundancy package was in excess of that and I was by no means towards the top of the scale.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    6:38pm
    Many of them - such as Turnbull - retain their business links outside while they are theoretically working for us - I see no reason to offer them some grease to slide them back into a position they never left.

    Many of them claim to have left lucrative careers to 'serve' the people - how then is it so hard for them to return to those well-established and lucrative careers?

    Let's take an example - the Greek woman tossed out in the Riverina area seat was a lawyer and had fingers in a few pies already... There was NO reason whatsoever to reward her for electoral failure by giving her a lucrative and perked position on the board of the Australian Submarines Corporation. Just another job for the party faithful, and not warranted by any stretch of the imagination - not any more than this country needs a QANGO like ASC anyway.
    Jim
    8th Feb 2017
    10:47am
    Not sure I fully understand, does the change only affect retired politicians, because that doesn't address the issues of late where politians have being misusing their travel perks for personal travel reasons rather than for parliamentary buisness.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    6:44pm
    Took aim at that one above.... (reprise)..
    While I blistered them below over paid to travel to work (another perk not very many get in the real world) - they DO have to travel for the job - so incumbents do need some way of keeping track of their expenditure on travel for WORK. A card is a good way to do that.

    What needs to be looked at carefully is the 'piggy-backing' of some flimsy excuse to travel onto the primary purpose of that travel - which is, in far too many cases, for personal or party business - NOT government business. I will say again - Party business is NOT government business.

    It is exactly those two areas that have caught out a few politicians lately, from Choppers Bronnie to The Surfers Apartment Queen... and it is clear that such things - in which I also include charging the taxpayer for a five minute talk to a deaf dog at the aged dog's home followed by a four hour meet with the party faithful insiders such as Tony loved to pull - desperately need to be looked at closely AND set to rights NOW.

    We, the People, are not in the business of providing for every want or whim of our elected representatives - nor of their compadres in the contracted senior executive of the public service (you don't get one of THOSE gigs UNLESS you are somebody's mate, you know persuade me that Fat Hank at Centrelink is the real goods.... I dare you)...
    Reeper
    8th Feb 2017
    10:53am
    Yes, at last a positive move. It is long overdue for politicians to have pensions with value added perks. Pensions for ALL Australians should be paid on retirement from the work force at the nominal retiring age.
    Politicians pensions should be run on exactly the same rules as normal superannuation and at the same rates of contribution.
    No politician should be given any extras by the public purse
    Wstaton
    8th Feb 2017
    11:45am
    Definitely especially now that a lot of politicians see entering parliament as a career decision. Mainly due to the huge benefits they can get. Once politicians entering saw it as a service to the community.

    Politicians now seem to enter purely for gain or for power if they already have heaps of money.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    6:50pm
    Yes - many of those 'lucrative careers' they left to 'enter service to the people' were maybe branch secretary of the party or some flunkie for some politician or mate.... thus they have' made their bones' for the party and are rewarded with a remuneration and lifetime perks that runs - annually - somewhere like fifteen times the remuneration and perks of a branch secretary or flunkie. I am assuming a branch secretary pulls about $12k pa (wow) plus $80k expenses - the cost of running a single politician annually is well over $2m.

    Funny that.......
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    6:52pm
    Dang - that's $120k pa (wow) ... ( was pulling $100k+ in 1992 at that day's rate - don't sneer at me - but I was working eighteen hours a day and on call 24/7/365)....

    I doubt (my point) anyone is 'leaving a lucrative career to enter service to the people through politics', unless they are a Jackie Lambie or similar.
    Old Geezer
    8th Feb 2017
    11:40am
    What a very small drop in the ocean that was!
    Mad as Hell
    8th Feb 2017
    12:18pm
    Gee that will make me vote Liberal
    dougie
    8th Feb 2017
    2:50pm
    From little things - big things grow!
    Old Geezer
    8th Feb 2017
    2:56pm
    Yes take something small away and give something bigger back. Awesome.
    TREBOR
    9th Feb 2017
    1:39am
    You'll need to explain that general statement, OG - WHAT is 'something bigger being given back'?

    It seems you know something we don't - so now is the time to come to Jesus....
    Slimmer Cat
    8th Feb 2017
    11:47am
    Peter Slipper looks like he has taken advantage of the Gold Pass having racked up $12,620.23 on flights but he was not trying compared to Ruth Webber a one term Labor Senator from WA from 2002 - 2008 who racked up over a two year period 147 flights an average of one every 5 days at a cost of $116,662 and earned herself 200,000 frequent flyer point in the process.
    mareela
    8th Feb 2017
    12:19pm
    Slimmer cat and grounded I wouldn't get too hot under the collar re Labor MP's and PM's. A check of Liberal/ Conservative pollies will show they are just as bad and in most cases worse. Ie: Susan Ley, Asbestos Julie Bishop and the absolute star, helicopter Bronnie Bishop. Just settle down and accept that both sides of politics have rorted the travel system. Your bias is showing. However, I do understand how you all must be feeling when you see such an inept government doing its best to ruin this country.
    Oldman Roo
    8th Feb 2017
    12:37pm
    I consider this only " a small drop in the ocean " reduction to the Politicians gravy train . No doubt, done by a Government not going well in the polls and , is really nothing more than a bit of political window dressing to keep the " natives " quiet .
    Eddy
    9th Feb 2017
    10:23am
    Something like throwing a bone to the dogs to quieten them down.
    TREBOR
    10th Feb 2017
    10:53am
    Obviously hasn't had that effect here, Eddy.... the hounds of hell are howling here ..(dang...)
    KSS
    8th Feb 2017
    12:48pm
    First: What a sad lot most of you are! You keep moaning and complaining about the 'perks' politicians have, whinging about the continued support of ex-politicians after retirement in addition to their pensions, yet now, when Mr Turnbull has moved to end one of those very same 'perks' most of you are still not happy. You just can't bring yourself to accept that finally something that has dragged on for years has been resolved and with immediate effect. And that its a good thing.

    Yet again we have the article writer prompting all the negativity with the words:
    "No doubt, it’s a move that will be well received by the Australian people. However, before we celebrate, let’s take a moment to consider the motive and context in which this announcement was made. Is it worth questioning the PM’s timing on this?
    What do you think? Does the timing of this long-awaited policy change seem somewhat suspicious? "
    And off you go, back up on your soap-boxes! How easily you take the bait!

    And second: Yet again the link for further information is to a PAID site. I have to ask, does YLC get paid by the click from the Australian?
    Oldman Roo
    8th Feb 2017
    1:14pm
    Nothing unexpected coming from someone well known in this forum for his pro Government views and has LNP DNA all over it . No wonder Bernardi could no longer stay with them because he is a man of principles and has a conscience .
    Old Geezer
    8th Feb 2017
    2:55pm
    KSS they are welfare recipients and as such will never be happy with anything.
    Oldman Roo
    8th Feb 2017
    4:28pm
    Old Geezer , In usual LNP style you are always trying to pervert the truth and resort to accusing everyone as being no good free loaders if they can see the hidden agenda . You are representing a party that is governing for the rich and , you are right , they would like us to be happy with anything , preferably every fortnight just enough to live on bread and water .
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    4:38pm
    We will be content when all their perks and rorts are brought down to earth and they are forced to consider things from the point of view of the ordinary person again instead of living with the certainty of luxury for life.

    That might wake them up to the job they are paid to do (hint: that job is not to push some playground ideology learned at university) - and paid well enough to do to cover their own expenses and retirement package.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    6:56pm
    KSS - we like to do them slowly (where have I heard that before?) - a journey of a thousand smiles begins with a single stepping on of a rort.....
    Ted Wards
    8th Feb 2017
    1:15pm
    Yes about time, and yes what is the motive but at last its a step in the right direction. They also need to start looking at the money they waste with changing government departments and shuffling portfolios around to different departments. Id love to know how many billions of dollars has been wasted with the living longer living better changed to aged care. Billions has been wasted in inquiries and pointless consultations, moving the portfolio from the Dept of Aged Care and Health, then to the DSS, then back to the department of health. Every time the minister changes that cost us millions in wasted stationary etc. How much money has also been wasted on the process for NDIS?
    The money they waste in many areas is really over looked and not even discussed. Anyone involved in the aged care industry will understand what I am talking about! All this change that is not for the better, that doesnt really even start till the 27th of this month where the biggest change in history to the aged care industry will occur. The changes have already been shown to not work, in fact older people are now more scared of service providers because of the lies and misinformation they are giving to consumers to keep them with their organisation. SO much wastage and wroughting. However this does provide some hope that at last the politicians realise they are accountable to the public.
    musicveg
    8th Feb 2017
    1:35pm
    It's a good start, but more needs to be done. Now let's see whether he ends the perks for the mining companies and get some taxes paid from the big corporations that pay little or no tax.
    Ahjay
    8th Feb 2017
    1:41pm
    When will we see him get serious.
    If public servants and politicians were on the same pension and superannuation laws as the ordinary Australians we would probably see a budget surplus.
    As an employee,recently retired at age 75, I was getting 9.5% paid into my super and I am subject to the asset and income tests.
    TREBOR
    9th Feb 2017
    12:15pm
    You would also see more sensible reasoning going on about the retirement package concept..... easy to say the peasants are getting too much and there are too many of them - breed like bloody flies, that lot ... when you're sitting on a gold mine for life yourself, which is built on a pattern of retirement package nobody else gets.

    They need to get down in the mud with the peasants to even begin to understand their job.
    Mel
    8th Feb 2017
    1:50pm
    There is an online petition that is gaining momentum. The link might not work on here, but copy and paste it and share it as much as you can. It's asking for politicians to be treated the same as the rest of Australians re entitlements, it's starting to have an impact, let's get the message across.

    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Petitions/House_of_Representatives_Petitions/Petitions_General/Sign_an_e-petition?id=EN0096
    Old Geezer
    8th Feb 2017
    2:48pm
    Pollies have entitlement OAPs have welfare. So you can't compare the two at all. One is for services rendered the other is for those with no other means of support.
    Old Geezer
    8th Feb 2017
    2:52pm
    I've added an appropriate comment instead of signing it.
    GeorgeM
    8th Feb 2017
    3:22pm
    Thanks, Mel, the link works. All concerned Australians should sign this.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    4:41pm
    Politicians have welfare OAPs have entitlements, OG... Been through that with you many times.

    The current 'entitlements' of politicians is up for review as if properly should be. It is frankly ridiculous that part-time short-term contracted employees enjoy luxury for life, and gets all expenses paid - nobody else gets to go to work by VIP jet etc... everyone else who works pays their way to work.
    Old Geezer
    8th Feb 2017
    5:07pm
    Wrong there Trebor. There are some in private enterprise that get much better than pollies including private jets and payouts that would pay the pollies pension many times over.

    Pollies get entitlements where as OAPs get welfare. Have you got it yet because I certainly have?
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    7:00pm
    Government is not a business, OG - and politicians are paid servants, not big bosses.... government is a service to the people..... politicians should be happy to receive $80k plus genuine expenses repaid on submission of receipt to serve the people.... I would....

    Please explain how you equate service to the public with running a massive profit-making scheme? (long overdue and I await your reply with bated breath - BTW - there remain two other questions you have yet to answer ....................
    Old Geezer
    8th Feb 2017
    7:09pm
    Trevor I wouldn't be a pollie for the pay they get myself even with all the perks. $80,000 a year is about what a low paid worker in the public service gets today so I really can't see anyone working as a pollie at that rate.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    10:31pm
    In that case, you, sir, do not understand or accept the concept of service to the people first and foremost as part of the elected representative's job, but view it rather as a position of power and control and of self-reward for doing so.

    Offering a salary commensurate with providing a service to the people who elect them means that the self-servers will be weeded out and only those with a genuine interest in this nation and its people first and foremost will apply.

    I hope that helps you.
    Eddy
    9th Feb 2017
    11:04am
    Unfortunately Trebor, back in the days (say pre 1900) when politicians were not adequately remunerated the only people standing for parliament were the well off with independent incomes, voting rights were dependent on land ownership. Us poor peasants could not stand and anyway could not afford to stand for election. The result was only legislation which benefitted to rich was passed, like a Poll Tax.
    When pollies were adequately remunerated we had the opportunity to get laws passed which were of benefit to the community as a whole, like old age pensions, paid holidays, working hours regulated, child labour etc etc.
    I have no issue with the level of remuneration the current MPs and Senators receive. For instance, while I have no knowledge of his finances, I am sure Senator Hinch took a big reduction in annual income to successfully stand for election.
    OlderandWiser
    9th Feb 2017
    11:39am
    OG, legal definitions of entitlement and welfare are NOT relevant, because they are created by corrupt self-interested parties for their own benefit.

    The MORAL definition is what counts. MORALLY the OAP is an ENTITLEMENT for all retirees who worked for decades and paid taxes, and politicians pensions are WELFARE (or rather WEALTHFARE - wrongful, immoral payments to leeches!)
    TREBOR
    9th Feb 2017
    12:20pm
    A fair point, Eddy - but we are long past the days when a decent remuneration came in for politicians. The point is that the salary level may be reasonable (or not, depending on how you consider it), but the reality is that each politician costs ten times that salary to run - well over two million each a year... something like $2.4 m a year per politician - and yet they seem to feel that they cannot afford ordinary retirement benefits like everyone else.

    You're an ex military man - how much time did YOU get to spend with family? What effect did your service have on that family? A lot more than a politician's life does - and your rewards are puny compared to theirs.

    Point is that for every Hinch who stands and maybe drops income (I doubt it - most of his income would be tied up in trusts and such and will be ongoing), there are a hundred who are promoted into the position from working in the Party, as a reward for toeing the party line. Most certainly not for being a dissenting voice over policy or ideology - that only gets you shown the door.
    Old Geezer
    9th Feb 2017
    6:10pm
    Rainey there is no morality at all for those of us that worked hard and paid our taxes but don't get a razoo when we retire. So the OAP cannot be anything even morally other than welfare.
    TREBOR
    10th Feb 2017
    10:57am
    ... and that, my children... is the politics of envy writ large..... than you OG, for your comment.
    mogo51
    8th Feb 2017
    2:34pm
    Well it is a start but nowhere near enough. Even ex PMs should only have it available for months after they finish their term of office.
    Next is the extravagent pension entitlements, plus their expense accounts and use of Com Cars.
    dougie
    8th Feb 2017
    2:39pm
    Now he has the knife honed to a fine edge, keep going. Ask we the populi and we will tell you in order which should be the next to go.
    Malcolm, have the intestinal fortitude to make those cuts which you know should be made including so called over seas study tours. If politicians need these trips to get some ideas that will never happen do it at their or their parties expense. Not the Public Purse.
    Not Senile Yet!
    8th Feb 2017
    2:51pm
    Bloody Overdue by 10 yrs....They do not need it!!
    The pom
    8th Feb 2017
    3:00pm
    About time some of these people learned that the rest of the country pays their way. There are lots of rorts which need looking at to bring them back in line with the rest of the world. The very generous pensions they start to get at some times fairly early age when they have capacity to get a paying job like the rest of us. Some time ago a Queensland senator retired in his 20s and started to receive pension which will be indexed even though he was quite capable of earning a good wage in real life.
    billie
    8th Feb 2017
    3:04pm
    Why do I get a cynical feeling about this?
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    7:02pm
    This will be a thin covering of flim-flam to hide some deep dark secret going on.... or at the very least in the hope that the people will be so busy applauding that they will forget all the other complaints.... or the people will actually begin to think Mal has some balls after all.....
    RayL
    8th Feb 2017
    3:50pm
    It's a step in the right direction but only a small step.
    Old Man
    8th Feb 2017
    4:02pm
    Again, this site gives out some of the truth but leaves out some which gives a slanted view. Yes, Gillard axed the Life Gold Pass scheme for some but to compensate politicians for this all salaries for MP's were increased by just over 31%. This brought Gillard's income to $481,000 from $367,000. This added bit of truth doesn't make Gillard to be quite the poster girl that the writer suggests.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    7:03pm
    Yes - amazing - I don't recall getting a massive rise like that ever. If it's a matter of their self-interest, politicians will always step up to the plate and take it on the chin... or into their wallets if they can....
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    7:04pm
    ... or any other way they can grab hold of it.... the taxpayer funded pool of cash is never-ending....
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    4:14pm
    Hmm - Big Mal is feeling the pressure from below, and has decided his best course of action is to show firmness and leadership by chopping down one of the most reviled sacred cows that accrue to politics.

    No reason in this wide world for an ex-politician to be handed lifetime privileges that far out-weigh anything the ordinary person will ever get. It's not as if they earned those privileges.....
    Old Man
    8th Feb 2017
    4:24pm
    I agree TREBOR, it's like Topsy, it just grew and grew. Never at any stage when a new perk was evolved did anyone think that it would be a good idea to take away an old one. What's the bet that somewhere in the system is an allowance for stabling a horse and a room for a groom.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    4:43pm
    Topsy - a very fine comparison there, OM. Wish I'd thought of that.... it just grew and grew.....
    Queensland Diva
    8th Feb 2017
    5:41pm
    Baby steps eh! Now on to the pensions - no getting hold of your parliamentary pension until you're 65 and you must pass a means test, just like the rest of the population. Can't see that happening though.
    Pamiea
    8th Feb 2017
    6:35pm
    Disgusting to say the least. I'm glad Labor started the ball rolling. All we have to do is stop the money they receive when they retire which includes those already retired. Their age of entitlement is well and truly over. Let them live off their savings and the pension if need be.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    7:05pm
    They can certainly afford to liquidate a few assets to fund their retirement, since they are well over any assets test..... that'll bring Old Geezer out in full cry....
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    8:29pm
    As a carer who runs his car several times a week for the ex's appointments - I'm about to upgrade my 'welfare mentality' by applying for a refund of petrol etc money.... two trips from the Mid North Coast to the south coast and return... and I forgot all about that ENTITLEMENT.....
    Boof
    8th Feb 2017
    7:44pm
    I used to say, Ministers' should travel overseas & check out the systems that are working for their country,& if good, adopt it for here. BUT. With today's internet access & accessability to foreign ministries, there is no need for them to travel, to obtain that information. Certainly there is no need to form committees to investigate, the same issues at a cost of $millions.
    Zicky
    8th Feb 2017
    8:53pm
    Well,it's good to see so many are showing that they are so vehemently opposed to the outlandish perks and rorts of most of our Federal Politicians. Now let's see if you/we are prepared to keep screaming about this...at the ballot box, to our Federal members, to news organisations, social media, anything......you/we must keep up the pressure on these totally out of touch politicians. Do not assume that it's just Liberal and Labor .....Greens are worse.
    musicveg
    8th Feb 2017
    9:18pm
    Are the Greens worse, do you have proof? Or are you against the Greens. I thought they were trying to make things fairer for all.
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    10:22pm
    When a 'party of the people' will sacrifice any ethic and will vote with 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' to gain a semblance of political power - as the Greens have done several times already while enjoying their personal feathered nests - they are rightly called Whores.
    Paddles
    8th Feb 2017
    9:04pm
    This site attracts a lot of people who are quite articulate and hold firm views, especially on the defects (as they see them) in our political representatives.
    My sometime sparring partner Mick is a case in point as he is quick to condemn our pollies and is not backward in putting forward his own views on all matters under the sun.
    I have to wonder whether he, and his ilk, have ever offered themselves for public office and, if not, why not????
    TREBOR
    8th Feb 2017
    10:24pm
    Public office? Not as such.... you may try it some time if you wish - but essentially I am a shy character, and am not necessarily the best 'front man' for the revolution. I am far better as an advisor in the background.

    There is much about me that you cannot know.......... not least of all the way I was discredited by my own government..... it is in my partial auto-bio, but I do not push such things here.....
    GrayComputing
    9th Feb 2017
    10:32am
    Good move PM.
    Now cancel all the parliaments GOLD PLATED superannuation schemes and move them to a industry standard super scheme, like the ones that rob us. That might get finally some attention.
    Furthermore make parliaments super payments linked to the budget. If the budget goes negative then there is no super paid into the scheme for that year
    Old Geezer
    9th Feb 2017
    6:07pm
    Just read that pollies are low paid.

    http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/ian-macdonald-defends-pollies-perks-threatens-split-with-government-on-life-gold-pass/ar-AAmKolE?li=AAavLaF&ocid=spartanntp
    TREBOR
    10th Feb 2017
    10:47am
    Let us look at it this way:-

    There is a current surge to undercut wages for those at the bottom, through reduction of penalty rates, floating the idea of dumping a minimum wage, and so forth.

    Politicians and many others are on salaries, and a proportion of salary is to cover for working odd hours and weekends and so forth.

    Therefore there is, under this current regime of wage-chopping, an absolute requirement that, in the event of penalty rates etc being dropped for wage earners, the same percentage of drop should occur in salaries.

    Does anyone seriously here suggest that we should create an even more divided society - divided not only along lines of income and benefits but also along lines of the way certain 'classes' in society are treated - one as serfs the other as 'masters'?

    We have people who feel that the 'peasants' should only get $10 an hour or less - while the salaried class and the business class should get as much as they can as a 'right'. Why should a 'salaried class' (which includes politicians) streak away in the income stakes via the hobbling of the 'lower classes'?

    I think that pretty well covers why there is a crying need for reduction in politician salaries, as an object lesson, if nothing else, in having to change your lifestyle to suit changing circumstances.

    This also clearly shows why the Opposition can make a solid claim that a class war is being perpetrated on the Australian people at this time.
    musicveg
    10th Feb 2017
    2:21pm
    That explains it well, the haves and have not's will be further from each other. Those who are already poor are getting poorer, those in middle class are running faster on the treadmill to try and keep up, and the rich are getting richer so they can keep pushing down others. The human race has not evolved for thousands of years. It is time we give every one equal opportunity and that starts will equal pay for all no matter what kind of work you do. Think about the lower paid people who scrub and clean and are so tired by the end of the day they have no energy left for their family, compared to someone answering a few phone calls, going to meetings and doing a bit of paper work, who then have the energy(and money) to go out for dinner and entertainment and enjoy life more. Don't anyone tell me a person deserves more than others because of their choice of jobs, because some people don't have a choice, they never get a chance even at education which used to be free. The world needs to change from greed and corruption.
    TREBOR
    11th Feb 2017
    1:01pm
    I hesitate to go for an 'equal pay for all' Stalinist concept, musicveg... what is more important is a 'work value' case.... how does one define the value of a coffee to a hurrying office worker? How does one compare the physicalk effort of a street cleaner with the oppotunity thus created for the office worker to walk on a clean street?

    These things are as imponderable as the value of being a housewife.... but nobody can deny the very real value of such work.... so there is an argument for a more evened out pay system, with far less going to the top and more going to the bottom.

    Damn - now you've got me sounding like a Laborite...
    TinTin
    10th Feb 2017
    11:03am
    Turnover is finally scrapping what should never have been part of the benefits the politicians get. FGS they get everything for free when they relentlessly slash and burn very small benefits from the public. In my opinion the Gold Card cut should be just the start of a thorough independent Royal Commission into the rorting and benefits of the government. The party that pushes for this and succeeds will get my vote without any hesitation.


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