Senate debates

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2009/11

Motion for Disallowance

10:00 am

Photo of Bob BrownBob Brown (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Firstly, if the Remuneration Tribunal has reason for altering parliamentarians’ or public servants’ entitlements then that information should be made available with the determination when it is requested in the Senate chamber. I made a request for that determination and I got it, but I had to write to the president, Mr John Conde AO, to get that information, which was made available to me last night. I hope that in future the Remuneration Tribunal will furnish information to parliamentarians when it makes determinations. We should not have to seek it out, the way the minister says.

Secondly, over the last 12 months, the inflation rate was 1.5 per cent while this is a seven per cent lift in the travel allowance. We ought to be keeping this in proportion. You cannot escape the surmise, at least, that, with the Prime Minister having frozen increases in parliamentary salaries last year and with way-above-inflation increases in the electorate allowance and now in the travel allowance, there is an adjustment here to make up for that freezing. That may not be so, but it is a matter that ought to be debated. I think that, as parliamentarians, we are vulnerable to the sort of speculation that we do not like but that we see in the press and in the public arena if we do not have due reasoning up front. As far as I am concerned, the reasoning from the Remuneration Tribunal is way short of sufficient.

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