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Gimme, gimme, gimme a payrise for pollies.

Nice look in a time of financial hardship for real people.

FEDERAL politicians have won a $4700 increase to their electorate allowances in what amounts to a hefty de facto pay rise.

As Australians face the toughest Budget in decades, the Remuneration Tribunal has increased the allowance to $32,000.

That equates to $90 a week – vastly overshadowing the expected $30-a-week top-up for pensioners expected in next month’s Budget.

20 Responses

  1. “The base rate for a federal backbencher stands at $127,060.”

    Well not trying to belabour my point here but really, who cares……

    “Yesterday, West Australian Health Minister Kim Hames said it would cost tens of millions of dollars to treat 23 asylum seekers admitted to Royal Perth Hospital after the explosion.”

    I don’t quite understand where the story is here comparatively speaking…….

    “Economists are predicting a Budget deficit of around $50 billion for 2009-10 as the downturn sharpens.”

    I wonder how many “backbenchers” the Australian taxpayer could get with “tens of millions”? I know, I know, “where is the compassion……….”

  2. Sparta..are you suggesting that Australia as a civilized nation should not be providing care to burns victims because they are asylum seekers?

    But back onto joni’s topic re the recommendation from the Renumeration Tribunal (an independant body). Surely the Rudd government will be under considerable pressure to vote down this recommendation. And as per joni’s link Bob Brown is going to vote against it in the Senate:

    Greens leader Bob Brown last night described the increase as “not on” and vowed to fight it in the Senate.

    “We will move disallowance of it,” Senator Brown said.

  3. I think what you fail to appreciate Joni, is that we get a lot of good value out of these backbenchers and their salary is simply a reflection of the contribution they make to society. Many of them work trielessly, I mean tirelessly.

    Just take Tony Abbott for example, or Peter Costello..?

    And then look at me straight in the face and tell me that they haven’t made a positive contribution to society in the past twelve monks, I mean months…

  4. Me? Straight Face? LOL

  5. (I got the impression that Sparta was suggesting that doctors and nurses and pharmacists are overpaid tax-dodgers, and likely to dissipate any such exorbitant wealth transfers by simply burning YOUR money before it makes any contribution to any traceable measure of economy or considerations of effective opportunity costs; but that’s all completely besides the point to the topic of showering compassion on the under-governed.)

  6. “Sparta..are you suggesting that Australia as a civilized nation should not be providing care to burns victims because they are asylum seekers?”

    Sigh…“economic migrants” and those who are not, are costing the Australian taxpayer millions you don’t have….To mention the “pay raise” just seems trivial is all….. Again, I understand your compassion but Australia and most of the other Western nations simply do not have the resources to fund the needs of “billions” that would qualify for your version of “compassion” or that of the UN. I am putting something together that will better articulate my point, no need I suppose to “gloss any eyes over” now………Relax Joni…….

  7. Sparta – you have a thread on which to post the asylum seeker issue, I just do not see the need to bring it over here.

  8. Two initial thoughts/queries re:

    It can fund such spending as, say, an MP’s purchase of a bicycle to donate to a local school as a raffle prize.

    MPs are allowed to keep any unspent amounts as taxable personal income.

    A) What are those amounts actually spent on, say, not a fictional bike but actually spent, and for what purposes? (one assumes there are guidelines)
    B) How much of those amounts actually end up as ‘personal income’, as opposed to being discretionary expenditures, which goes to the reporting and the ‘de facto-ness’ of the pay rise thingy?

  9. I seriously don’t believe this payrise will come to pass.

    It runs against the grain of populist rhetoric that the government has adopted.

  10. Scaper I agree. Howard got away with a 6.7% pay rise in ’07 (sort of) but this current recommendation is running parallel with the pensioner debate.

    From: http://www.thewest.com.au/aapstory.aspx?StoryName=393018

    20th June 2007, 11:03 WST

    Prime Minister John Howard has defended a 6.7 per cent pay rise for politicians, saying they work harder than many people on similar salaries….

    Mr Edwards, a disabled Vietnam war veteran, said it was hypocritical for politicians to get a pay rise when veterans’ pensions had not been indexed.

    “I think it’s hard to justify a pay increase for politicians at the same time that the government refuses to even index, the pensions of Australia’s most deserving and disabled war veterans,” he told reporters.

    “It seems to me to be hypocritical.”

  11. Min, on April 27th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    …On the other hand, Howard’s de jure ‘base salary’ pay rise, just like Rudd’s ‘base salary’ pay freeze last year, was within the ambit of Government; whereas the ‘electorate allowance’ is a creature handled, apparently, by an ‘independent statutory body’. If Rudd is going to be in any position to over-ride that ‘independence’, he will need to over-ride the presumptively ‘evidence-led’ considerations the Remuneration Tribunal undertook as well.

  12. I’m with scaper on this one. I think that Rudd will be perceived as a hypocrite (as Howard was) if he allows this one through while limiting pension increases.

  13. Min, on April 27th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I can’t call it, because, on it’s face, it isn’t Rudd’s decision to (un-)make. So, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays…one supposes that he could introduce or back legislation to ‘re-set’ the ‘independence’ of the RT (keeping in mind that the ‘independence’ of various statutory bodies is also something that the direct beneficiaries of the allowance find politically useful as a distancing ploy.)

  14. Well, it looks like I’m mistaken.


    I see there are soundings from the opposition that they are for it too.

    How ironic that in this day and age that they can reach consensus only on a pay issue.

  15. How ironic that in this day and age that they can reach consensus only on a pay issue.

    Of course…. but only if it means more money for the politicians themselves.

    Rudd needs to kill this or he will lose the media momentum he has built up on the populist stuff he’s been throwing out amongst the more unpopular decisions. A $90/week payrise would literally destroy the image they’ve built up of this government… a day after “Nasty Albo” called Malcolm Turnbull a hypocrite.

    I’m interested to see how this unfolds, and it will determine whether I think the govt is “politically smart & in-touch” or just “politically smart”.


  16. Legion,

    Admittedly I’ve done no reading on this, but surely the Remuneration Tribunal’s role is to make only non-binding recommendations?

  17. Tony, on April 27th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Mmmm…taking a quick squiz at the RT enactment, it appears to take a contingent ‘veto’ format…Part II, Section 7 seems to provide relevantly that…

    7 Inquiries and determinations by Tribunal
    (1) The Tribunal shall, from time to time as provided by this Part, inquire into, and determine, the allowances (including allowances in accordance with section 48 of the Constitution) to be paid out of the public moneys of the Commonwealth to members of the Parliament by reason of their membership of the Parliament or by reason of their holding particular offices, or performing particular
    functions, in, or in relation to, the Parliament or either House of the Parliament…..
    (7) The Minister shall cause a copy of a determination, other than a determination that relates to an ACT office, to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the determination is received by him or her.
    (8) If either House of the Parliament, within 15 sitting days of that House after a copy of a determination has been laid before that House, passes a resolution disapproving of the determination, then:
    (a) if the determination has not come into operation—the
    determination shall not come into operation; or
    (b) if the determination has come into operation—the
    determination shall not have any force or effect in respect of
    a period on or after the day on which the resolution was

    So, you would be correct; and I would be wrong-thinking insofar as I was thinking that the independence was entrenched or that a majority of either House (ie a Rudd Government in the Lower House) couldn’t unmake a Tribunal determination on their own initiative, or would require passage of legislation to unsettle a Tribunal determination when a passing resolution would do that trick; but, and its a very minor but which doesn’t affect the overall picture, a determination appears to have a legal significance beyond that of a recommendation per se, given it has self-executing properties in the absence of such a negativing resolution.

  18. You can always rely on a politican to look after ones self before all else.
    Rudd has double standards if this is in his control.
    Turnbull becomes a bigger tosser if that was possible.

  19. Legion,

    a determination appears to have a legal significance beyond that of a recommendation per se, given it has self-executing properties in the absence of such a negativing resolution

    OK, that clarifies their role. Thanks for doing the legwork – much appreciated.

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