7 January 2018

Have your say on what our pollies should be paid

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
ACT Legislative Assembly

Photo: File photo.

Do you think our politicians and public service chiefs are fat cats and we’re not getting value for money?

Or do you think they deserve more than what they are currently being paid, considering the responsibility, working hours and roles?

Then have your say on what you think their pay, entitlements and allowances should be.

The ACT Remuneration Tribunal wants to know your views as it reviews the following key public roles:

  • Members of the Legislative Assembly;
  • Head of Service, Directors-General and Executives of the ACT Public Service;
  • Full-time Holders of Public Office;
  • Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.
Submissions should consider the actual work of the role or entity and its impact on the ACT Community and its scope of work, the extent of its advisory or decision-making powers and, where known, its budget.

People are encouraged to look at what members would be responsible for and what work they would do, including examples of this role or a similar role in other jurisdictions or industries.

Submissions should also include a recommended remuneration for the role and any comparative data or examples that support your recommendation.

Anyone can make a submission, including those directly affected by the outcome.

Last year the ACT’s politicians pocketed a pay rise worth at least $3,100 a year after a decision by the Remuneration Tribunal that MLA’s base salaries should be increased by two per cent, taking the base to $160,373 per year.

On top of that, ministers, major party leaders, committee chairs and presiding officers received additional payment for their duties, calculated as a percentage of the base rate.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr received an additional loading of 110 per cent of his base salary, taking his total pay to $336,783 per year.

Deputy Opposition Leader Nicole Lawder received on top of the base salary increase, a rise in the loading for her position from 15 per cent to 20 per cent, a boost of $11,636.

Tribunal chair Anne Cahill Lambert told the ABC at the time that the increase, which also applied to public service executives and judges, was overdue.

“We did a big review in 2014 and at that time we had decided to give them a significant pay rise … unfortunately, the state of the economy meant that we couldn’t continue that,” she said.

“So part of that 2 per cent for the politicians is in fact related to the review of 2014 when we abolished significant allowances.”

Ms Lambert said it was necessary to use salaries to attract talent to the ACT’s leadership positions.

“Our politicians are the second lowest paid in Australia, so I don’t think we’re being over exuberant here or overly generous,” she said.

“We want to be able to continue to attract and retain good politicians, good public servants, good judges, all those sorts of people — and you have to pay for that.”

Submissions are due by noon, 12 February and can be made via the online form, in writing via email to remtrib@act.gov.au or post to The Chair, ACT Remuneration Tribunal, PO Box 964, Civic Square ACT 2608.

Submissions will be published on the Remuneration Tribunal website. Submissions can remain confidential.

The Tribunal’s determinations are expected in March/April.

Will you be making a submission? Let us know by commenting below.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

It’s easy to say that Canberra’s MLA’s are overpaid compared to their skillset or visibility in their work, but the answer is not to cut the pay. The Assembly makes laws that regulate how the rest of us live our lives, so it’s important that the remuneration is sufficient to attract high calibre candidates. What we as a community need to do is ensure that we elect candidates who are capable of doing the job well, and don’t just blindly vote on party lines. If the major parties don’t put up candidates who would make good MLA’s, its incumbent upon the public to elect capable independents instead. Some of the non-major party candidates putting themselves forward in 2016 would have made good MLA’s, but none of them came close to being elected.

I could be persuaded that MPs’ pay should be either more or less than it is now. Any discussion on their pay, though, needs to make a distinction between the parliamentary work they do and the party political work they do – that is, getting themselves and their mates elected. We should pay them for the former and not the latter. Note that in parliamentary work I include the work they do for those in their electorates. there’s a word for it but I can’t think of what it is.

They do less work than a counter clerk at a government shopfront, so maybe $50k for a typical MLA. Given the typical MLA has a cabinet position, maybe $45k for a backbencher.

Politicians should be paid on a performance basis. In my book, that’s a few dollars less than a dole recipient

Note: what follows is a general comment on MP pay at the federal level, but may apply at state/territory level also.

I believe that our current lot are proof that we do not pay our MPs enough…they are a bunch of twits who couldn’t make it in their comparable private sector industry (with the exception of MT…Still can’t fathom what his motivation is) – so they went into politics instead. They are a prime example of “pay peanuts, get monkeys”. If you want to attract real leaders and visionaries then the government needs to compete against the private sector to entice these types of people to enter Parliament.

Failing that, you make it a completely unpaid role and see what kinds of people you attract – perhaps we’d see more altruism and kindness among the ranks.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.