Tuesday, 21 March 2017
I, and also on behalf of Senator Leyonhjelm, move:
That, given the Commonwealth's debt and Australia's budget deficit, the Senate is of the view that all senators receive an appropriate remuneration package and, therefore, the Remuneration Tribunal should not consider increasing the remuneration paid to senators until the Government has delivered a budget surplus.
While the Greens are sympathetic with the intent of this motion—and it is true that all senators receive an appropriate remuneration package; in fact, we would say 'generous' and not 'appropriate'—we are concerned that, when Senator Bernardi talks about waiting until a budget surplus is delivered, what he is really talking about is waiting until we see cuts to health, education and the social safety net. That is what Senator Bernardi's definition of a budget surplus entails, so we cannot support this motion as it stands; however, we would be happy to amend the motion to say that, until the government is prepared to address the growing inequality in Australia, the growing gap between the super-rich and everybody else, the Greens would be very supportive of not increasing the remuneration paid to MPs.