Australia's politicians are about to receive a nice two percent pay rise from this Saturday, but a small handful of those politicians are pushing back against the extra compensation, with Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie calling for the money to be donated to charity.
As HuffPost Australia reported last week, the Remuneration Tribunal "decided to increase remuneration by two per cent for public offices in its jurisdiction", which includes politicians and public servants. This comes into effect on July 1 -- the same day penalty rates are cut for thousands of Australians in the retail, hospitality and fast food sectors. It must be noted that this is the first pay rise for our federal politicians in a while; the last bump in pay was in January 2016, another two percent, and the July 1 pay rise is only the third since July 2013.
The changes will see Malcolm Turnbull's pay packet rise to $527,000 a year, and he's also getting a tax cut of nearly $7000 thanks to the removal of the deficit levy. Opposition leader Bill Shorten is in line to get $375,000 after the pay rise of $7300, and will also enjoy a tax cut of nearly $4000. The base pay for an MP or senator, currently $199,000, will rise to $203,000.
The day before the pay rise came into effect, Lambie posted a public call for MPs and senators to donate their extra compensation to charity.
"It's unbelievable that politicians would be getting a pay rise on a Saturday and giving the rest of the country a penalty rate cut this Sunday. Politicians don't choose our own salaries, and I can't choose to reject this pay rise," she said.
"All I can do is choose what to do with it. And I choose to donate my pay raise and my tax cut back into the community."
Lambie said that she had donated $5000 -- "all of my pay rise, and a little bit more" -- to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She said there are people "who need this money more than we do".
"The challenge is out there, to every other federal politician that has just got a pay rise, and that's all of you, it's time for you to act sincere and show some sincerity to your community. Match me dollar for dollar," she said.
"Pay it forward, donate your raise."
One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has also been critical of the pay rise, saying he wanted to "opt out" of it.
It is a bad look to receive a pay rise while 🇦🇺 were experiencing financial stress, such as high electricity priceshttps://t.co/ABAVyDzXfU— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) June 23, 2017
I have asked Parliamentary Services to look for a way to add an opt-out clause.— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) June 23, 2017
Senator Roberts said he has asked the Department of Parliamentary Services if it is possible for him to opt out of the pay rise.
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