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Thursday, 29 May 1997
Page: 4003


Senator NEWMAN (Minister for Social Security and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) —The other day Senator Faulkner asked a question about Ms Vardon's salary based on an article in the Canberra Times which I cast some doubt about. I seek leave to have a more detailed response incorporated in Hansard .

Leave granted.

The response read as follows

On 27 May 1997, Senator Faulkner asked a question about Ms Vardon's salary.

I can confirm that the suggested salary paid to Sue Vardon as reported in an article in the Canberra Times of 20 may 1997 written by Mike Taylor was incorrect.

Ms Vardon's salary package is based on that paid to a middle range Secretary of a Department of State, such as that paid to the Secretaries to DSS or DEETYA.

Because Ms Vardon's contract, prior to the statutory arrangements under the Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency Act 1997 coming into force, is as a consultant to the Secretary to DSS, some components of the package paid to Secretaries were cashed out and combined with the base salary to arrive at a single consultancy fee.

The components cashed out and combined with the base salary to form the consultancy fee were:

The equivalent of employer subsidised superannuation

The equivalent of super guarantee levy payments

The equivalent of spouse accompanied domestic travel (at the SES Band 2 level), and

The equivalent of spouse accompanied international travel (calculated as equivalent to 4 times the domestic rate at SES Band 2 level).

In addition to the consultancy fee ($205,000), Ms Vardon is also entitled to a motor vehicle on the same terms and conditions as a Secretary to a Department of State.

Correspondence from the Secretary of DSS explaining the components of the package was sent to the Chair of the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee in early 1997, and Senator Faulkner should have relied on this material which was available to him.