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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1175


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (13:57): I have three series of amendments that I intend on moving. As I said, the first one is related to the removal of all retrospective elements in the Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill 2017. If that does not succeed, I then intend to move a series of amendments to include former prime ministers in the abolition, if the parliament believes that retrospectivity is not an issue. The third series of amendments I will be moving, if those first two sets of amendments are not adopted by the chamber, will be to reduce benefits to former prime ministers commensurate with their service.

Can I say to all of those who spoke in the debate after me that they were all talking about what politicians now receive and they do not understand that the salary they receive today is as a result of a decision made by the parliament a few years ago to take away the Life Gold Pass and to take away a few other different entitlements but to compensate existing members of parliament with an increased salary. So you are all getting around $200,000 a year and you are getting that because these other emoluments, if I can call them that, that were previously available were taken away. But, see, the people you are taking these benefits from retrospectively did not get the increase from—forgive me if I do not get this right—around $110,000 up to $200,000. They did not get that. That is why I am so strong on this, not for me but for former members of parliament who did the hard yards at a lower rate of pay because they had these other entitlements. You were compensated when they were taken out. You were compensated, but they were not. And none of the speakers have acknowledged that.

Senator McKim: You have to get out more!

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Sure, you speak from your ivory tower now. You do not understand former politicians, who had a much lower salary than you have.

Progress reported.