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Calm urged on pollie pay issue

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TASMANIANS should have a good look at the issues before deciding if they think politicians earn too much, according to the head of the tribunal looking into their pay packets.

The public is being asked to consider the workload of politicians before making a decision. And to also consider whether modern-day parliamentarians have an added workload because of new issues such as social media.

The Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Tribunal has released an issues paper to help people make an educated decision on how politicians should be paid and their level of entitlements.

Tribunal chair Tim Abey said there was a feeling in the community politicians were paid too much.

“It is a commonly held view,” Mr Abey said yesterday. “That is a sentiment expressed by some people but not the majority of the community.”

He said the public was concerned when politicians were setting their own wages.

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“It is a huge concern [for the public], with some justification,” Mr Abey said.

“Particularly when you look at the past pay freezes and then 40 per cent pay rises that we have seen in the past.”

He urged people to take a good look at the issues paper before forming opinions and presenting a submission.

“The paper provides a historical perspective together with comparisons with salaries applicable to members of the Commonwealth and interstate parliaments, and to senior administrators in the state service,” Mr Abey said.

As of July 1, the base salary for a Tasmanian politician is $118,466. Politicians also receive a range of additional entitlements depending on their electorate and their responsibilities.

Mr Abey said the paper identified issues he expected to come into consideration.

These issues include the level of comparability between state, federal and interstate MPs in terms of work value, if there was a case for a “catch up” for local MPs, what impact has social media had on the work of an MP and to what extent should Tasmanian Government wages policy be taken into account.

“During November the tribunal intends to conduct hearings around the state in order that we may hear first-hand the views of the public on this often controversial subject,” Mr Abey said.

Greens leader Nick McKim said yesterday his party would look at the paper and make a submission, but at this stage it supported a pay freeze.

Premier Lara Giddings said “our submission to the Industrial Commission will be to formally tie pay rates for politicians to the public service”.

Opposition deputy leader Jeremy Rockliff said “we supported the referral to the independent tribunal and we will await their recommendation”.

Details on how to lodge submissions and the issues paper are available at www.tic.tas.gov.au

Sourced from The Mercury

I’m totally gob smacked that this is even being discussed, as it was only a few years ago that politicians claimed that there was no funds to be used for this and opted to cap their pay. Now there’s a debate on weather or not the lower house should be returned to 35 seat capacity. In my opinion if politicians want a pay rise, then they can’t have the lower house restored. After all where’s the money going to come from? Oh that’s right, the TAX payer!

At this stage I’m sure that every Tasmanian is considering a career change to “Politician” so that they can afford to live in this state! 😐

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By Scott Evans

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