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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3246

Mr HOWARD —My question is addressed to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. Is the recent increase of 5.5 per cent in New South Wales parliamentary salaries a breach of the prices and incomes accord? If not, why not?

Mr WILLIS —The increase of 5 1/2 per cent paid to New South Wales members of parliament was a decision of the Remuneration Tribunal for New South Wales parliamentarians as accepted by the New South Wales Government. The basis of the 5 1/2 per cent, as I understand it, was 4.3 per cent for the national wage increase, and also New South Wales public servants recently received, as part of an anomalies conference procedure, an increase of 4 per cent which was the delayed part of the community catch-up from last year. There have been a number of-

Opposition members interjecting-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I invite the Minister to wait until the House comes to order, and then he may answer the question.

Mr WILLIS —A number of cases have already been processed through the anomalies conference.

Mr Tuckey —Neville has to get his pension entitlements as high as possible.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for O'Connor defies the Chair. I warn him to cease interjecting.

Mr WILLIS —A number of cases have been processed through the anomalies conferences at a Federal level, resulting in increases in a number of cases, mostly in the order of community catch-up. That was the basis of the pay increase of 4 per cent for New South Wales public servants; that is, catch-up for the community round of increases which occurred in 1982. The decision of the Remuneration Tribunal was that New South Wales MPs were entitled to that 4 per cent as well as the national wage increase. In all the circumstances the Tribunal felt that it was unwise to give that amount and that it should break the nexus which had been traditionally established between New South Wales MPs and the New South Wales Public Service and give parliamentarians only an additional 1.2 per cent. In regard to all of that, at the Federal level it was not the Government's view that we should receive an increase which had, in fact, been given to Federal public servants who received the full community flow-on for 1982. Federal MPs have not received that increase. We could have, if we had used that argument, argued for an additional 7 per cent. The Government's view was that that should not apply and that we should have accepted the 4.3 per cent . I would have preferred that the New South Wales Government made the same decision.