Ex-Speaker defends politicians’ 2.58% pay increase
IF you've got a problem with Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher's pay increase, feel free to stand at the next election, a political expert says.
MPs will receive a pay rise in April, a topic that always stirs up controversy, former Queensland parliamentary Speaker John Mickel says.
But if you're concerned that Mr Butcher, who receives $148,848 annually, will receive a salary of $152,688, Mr Mickel says feel free to stand at the next election.
"There is nothing to stop you standing," he said.
"The general public will say one thing, but when it comes to committing, very few want to stand."
State MPs are paid a base salary of $148,848. Ministers, shadow ministers or a speaker get extra allowances.
The Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal has approved a 2.58% increase to MPs' salaries from April 6, taking the base salary to $152,688 each year.
While the region's MPs might be sitting on the big bucks, Mr Mickel, a former Labor MP, said most people forgot that with the pay came fewer entitlements than workers in the public sector.
"No matter when an increase comes along ... there is always an outcry from the tabloids and it feeds into the pub talk," he said.
"But how many people at the election stand so they can get this great pay increase? The answer is very few.
"Because if you compare it with the public service, not one politician gets long service leave, annual leave or annual leave loading, stress leave and sick leave and the flexible working day that the public
Mr Butcher said he didn't take on his new job for the money - it was all about making Gladstone a better place for people to live in.
"I took a cut in pay to take up this job and I believe for what members do the pay is what it is," he said.
He said he was well aware of the seven-day-a-week nature of an MP's position, and he accepted that task because he wanted to see Gladstone get a fair share.
"We're going to be on our toes the whole time, especially in a government in a hung parliament."
Following through on her election promise, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has written to the tribunal to officially request any increase be no more than the percentage increase public service employees get later this year.
Along with the base salary increase, Ms Palaszczuk also will receive a 2.58% increase on top of her Premier's allowance, taking her overall income to $388,942 a year.
Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg is paid the same as ministers and will get an increase in pay to $313,906.
In response to Labor's intention to align pay increases with public servants' rises, Mr Springborg said it was a populist move in the short term that would prove to be problematic.
He said certain public servant employees had received increases of up to 8-10% per year in the past.
"Image how popular that would be if we linked ourselves to public servants," he said.
Parliamentary committee members and committee chairpersons also receive bonus salaries on top of the base pay, but these positions will not be allocated until Parliament returns later this month.