Politicians get another pay rise
INDEPENDENT MP Rob Oakeshott says linking politicians' pay to performance might have helped avoid last week's asylum seeker policy debacle.
Australia's federal politicians are now receiving almost $50,000 more annually than they were at the beginning of the year after being handed their second pay rise in less than three months.
The Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal's decision to grant politicians a 3% pay rise from July 1 came hot on the heels of the $44,000 salary boost they received in March.
Backbenchers will now enjoy a base annual salary of $190,500 a year - up $5500, or $106, per week.
Mr Oakeshott said people would rightly question the pay rise, which came less than a week after federal politicians failed to break the asylum-seeker policy stalemate.
Despite more than 13 hours of passionate debate, Mr Oakeshott's bill was defeated in the Senate after narrowly passing the lower house.
"If the independent tribunal wants to link pay to performance I would very much be up for that, even though I don't think they will" Mr Oakeshott said.
He said it was the type of "idea that might have changed the outcome last week".
Mr Oakeshott said pointed to the independence of the remuneration tribunal and said he would even accept a pay cut if it was deemed appropriate.
"I have previously said I'd do this job for a can of baked beans if I could feed my family and if was the same rules for everyone," he said.
"It's not the money that motivates me and I suspect it would be the same for most ... in politics."
Mr Oakeshott said he was more concerned about the generous perks available to some former politicians.
He said while many had been removed by the current parliament, there was more fat to trim.
Apart from the asylum seeker policy farce, other factors make the timing of the pay rise problematic, particularly for the government.
It coincides with the implementation of Labor's unpopular carbon price and comes a month after Fair Work
Australia handed the nation's 1.6 million lowest paid workers a pay rise of just 2.9%, or $17.10 per week.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said the timing of the pay rise was "embarrassing", highlighting the carbon tax and asylum seeker issue, and said he would push to have it scrapped.
The pay rise means Prime Minister Julia Gillard's salary rises to $495,430, a rise of more than $14,000.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will get just short of an extra $200 per week for an annual salary of $352,517.
Mr Abbott used the carbon tax to justify his pay jump.
"I never forget that the taxpayers of Australia pay my salary and that's why every day I am working for their benefit," he said.
"Right now, I am working to save them from a carbon tax. That's how I justify my salary, by working for the benefit of the Australian people every day by saving them from this toxic tax; this bad tax based on a lie."
- Backbencher: up $5500 to $190,550.
- Prime Minister Julia Gillard: up $14,430 to $495,430.
- Opposition Leader Tony Abbott: up $10,267 to $352,517.
- Cabinet ministers: up $9573 to $328,698.
- Ministers: up $8741 to $300,116.
- Shadow Ministers: up $6937 to $238,187.
- Speaker Peter Slipper: up $9712 to $333,462.
- Parliamentary secretaries: up $6937 to $238,187.