Letter submitted to the NewsMail on 15 December, 2014.
It is absolutely fair and reasonable for the community to expect transparency and value for money in relation to parliamentarians’ remuneration and other entitlements. We are, after all, employed by Australian taxpayers!
Unfortunately, substantial misinformation is circulated from time to time. Federal politicians’ salaries are not determined by the Australian Parliament. They are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal, which is an independent statutory authority.
As part of the May Budget, the Abbott Government wrote to the Remuneration Tribunal requesting a 12-month freeze on the salaries of federal parliamentarians. The Tribunal agreed. This means that in the 2014-15 financial year, federal parliamentarians will not receive a pay rise.
Contrary to what many in the community believe, most MPs – including myself – are not entitled to a pension.
The defined benefit parliamentary pension scheme closed 10 years ago. In fact, any Member or Senator elected since 9 October 2004 is unable to access it.
The Coalition Government is also taking steps to close access to travel entitlements for former and retiring parliamentarians, including the Life Gold Pass scheme.
I trust this information will be of value to your readers.
Keith Pitt MP
Federal Member for Hinkler