Senate debates

Thursday, 16 February 2017


Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill 2017; In Committee

6:45 pm

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Australian Conservatives) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move:

(1) Schedule 1, item 8, page 6 (after line 23), after the definition of Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement, insert:

Prime Minister: see section 4AB.

(2) Schedule 1, item 9, page 7 (after line 5), after section 4AA, insert:

4AB Prime Ministers

For the purposes of this Act, a member is only taken to be the Prime Minister if the member has been the Prime Minister for a period of at least 4 consecutive years.

I mentioned this in my second reading speech: the High Court case that was taken on behalf of former parliamentarians in the respect of the gold card also included a grasp for additional funds for their defined benefit scheme pensions when they retired at an early age. They wanted to avail themselves of more money. The High Court ruled that this was not a property right. I think it is only reasonable that those who retire from this place who are eligible for a defined benefit pension scheme are not able to access it until they reach the preservation age, like every other Australian, of 60 years of age. This will prevent circumstances where we have seen leaders of political parties in this place retire at the ripe old age of 38, or thereabouts, and they are still living on the taxpayers' purse.

This brings into alignment the things that many of us who are not on the defined benefits scheme get criticised for: that we have fat juicy pensions and lifetime pensions as soon as we leave here. The fact is that we do not, but some do. This will bring it into line so that they cannot access it until they are 60. It will also be a big saving to the budget. I am sure the minister is not going to tell me exactly how much that is, but nonetheless I have moved the amendment standing in my name.


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