||Issue No. 323||08 September 2006|
Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
Unions: Industrial Wasteland
International: Two Bob's Worth
Economics: National Interest
Environment: The Real Dinosaur
History: Only In Spain?
Review: Clerk Off
Catch a Tube
On Tuesday the Prime Minister announced base pay rates for politicians would jump by a massive 7.1%, with his own salary increasing by $20,000 to $309,270.
Base salaries for politicians will rise by $7,800 to $118,950, more than double the yearly income of an average Australian worker, currently $54,236.
The pay hike is a 'no-strings-attached' increase - not subject to trade-offs such as longer working hours or productivity increases - in contrast to cost of wage rises for most workers.
Opposition leader Kim Beazley, who stands to trouser an extra $18,000, has indicated that the ALP will support the Government's decision.
The hand-outs continued two days later with Howard raising new MP's super to 15.4 per cent, reversing his 2004 decision to cut employer contributions to 9% when challenged by then Labor leader Latham.
There's a golden handshake to match the bigger nest egg with all MPs elected after 2001 due to receive a redundancy payment of $29,750 if they incur the wrath of voters and lose office.
Howard trotted out the 'pay peanuts, get monkeys' theory, claiming that failing to offer attractive pay and conditions would "further reduce the quality of the gene pool."
Unnamed senior Government figures muttered that if pay and super did not increase, politicians would be vulnerable to corruption.
Beazley again fell in with the PM, telling the media with an apparently straight face that the increase in super to 15.4% was "in line with community standards."
The gravy train rolled on with increases to MP travel allowances. Senior ministers will pocket an extra $78 for overnight travel and the Prime Minister will now have $505 a night to play with when he's on the road.
But wait, there's more. This week the Senate passed controversial legislation increasing annual printing allowances for MPs to $125,000.
With unspent allowance able to be rolled over to the next year, sitting MPs potentially have over $200,000 of taxpayers funds to spend on advertising during the election year. All coming soon to a mailbox near you.
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