We haven’t even finished the first sitting week of the new Parliament and already we’ve been treated to Tony Abbott bleating about his pay. As you may recall Tony has already complained that losing the election has left him with a pay cut, and this week Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has added insult to injury by suggesting that Parliamentarians go without a pay increase this year.
Those of you who are not Parliamentarians may be unfamiliar with the way politicians’ salaries are determined, so the short version is this, every July the Remuneration Tribunal awards MPs and Senators a pay rise, which is higher than the inflation rate. The members of the Liberal Party then spend the next 12 months arguing why ordinary wage earners are not entitled to cost of living increases in their pay packets, but that’s a side issue. So the pollies have a guaranteed pay rise every year, an unknown concept for many employees, but our new PM has decided to forego this for 2008 as a gesture of restraint.
Tony’s not happy, and he’s saying so, but to be fair their are plenty of people on both sides of the house who are unhappy about the wage freeze. Some Labor MPs are complaining that freezing the PM’s pocket money when his wife is a multimillionaire is hardly a great sacrifice, while an unnamed Liberal MP has said “Keep this up and you’ll fill the Parliament up with millionaires, creeps and drongoes,”.
Yeah, that would be awful…