MP pay rise after two year freeze

By Angela Dorizas

The Federal Government has accepted a Remuneration Tribunal recommendation for a 3 per cent pay increase for politicians.

The recommendation follows Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s two year freeze on parliamentary salaries.

The 3 per cent increase will provide backbenchers with a base salary of $131,000.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard stressed that the tribunal’s decision comes against the backdrop of a pay freeze last year.

“We made it clear when wages were frozen for politicians last year we believed that was the appropriate course but generally we accept that the system is that the Remuneration Tribunal, which is independent of government, independent of politicians, makes decisions about wage movements for politicians and makes decisions about wage movements for a lot of key office holders across the public service,” she said.

“As this is an increase coming into affect on the 1st of October, that means pay will increase by 2.25 per cent this financial year.

“We know from the most recently published information, indeed the information we put out yesterday, that generally we have seen wage movements of around 3.9 per cent across the economy.”

Earlier this year, the Fair Pay Commission responded to the economic downturn with a freeze on the minimum wage for the first time in almost 30 years.

Greens MPs said they will fight the decision to lift the salary freeze.

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said he will move in the Senate to disallow the proposed pay rise until economic circumstances improve.

“We applaud the Prime Minister’s rejection of an increase last year,” Brown said.

“But after the Fair Pay Commission refused low income earners any increase this July, now is not the time for members of parliament to take more.”

He said if the “battlers are getting nothing then the MPs should get nothing as well”.

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