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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Means-test the politicians' entitlements!

 

There's a lot of talk about the savings measures contained in the next federal budget. None of those measures, all-embracing as they are, touches politicians' and ex-politicians' entitlements. As Professor Julius Sumner Miller would have asked, "Why Is It So?"

A study in 2010 by the Daily Telegraph revealed that Mr Rudd, at 52, a young ex-prime minister, will receive well in excess of $20 million worth of allowances if he lives to 85. This is despite the fact he had served just 2-1/2 years as Prime Minister. This of course has altered even more dramatically with his additional and equally short-lived tenure as Foreign Minister.

Then there are a host of other benefits - the airline gold pass, which entitles ex-PMs up to 40 business class flights a year. That's almost one a week! If Mr Rudd takes 30 flights annually, it will cost the taxpayer more than $60,000 a year. And trust me, nobody loves flying more than Kevin Rudd! Not even bloody sea gulls!

Once retired, he is entitled to his own office in Brisbane, worth about $120,000 a year for the rest of his life and four staff, which political insiders say will cost $240,000 a year. What? The Rudd's new multi-million home doesn't have room for a home office?

Mr Rudd would also be entitled to the lease of a car worth up to $55,000 for the rest of his life. Leasing experts say this would be worth $1000 to 1500 a month.

Add to this Gillard. I notice this former communist who has now embraced the capitalist ideal with both arms and not a whimper of complaint. She has already ditched the brick veneer in Altona for a swanky pool-side ponderosa in leafy Adelaide, no doubt made possible by her $500,000 salary and ongoing perks.

Why is it then that we continue to provide multiple millions to give these buggers swanky offices to run their now quite irrelevant lives from? I mean what has Hawke's or Keating's offices churned out in the past few years that justifies these silly extravagances? Books about them? Utterances from them? Both could be made from their kitchen tables! Does an Ex-PM really need an office that costs up to $14,000 a month?

Each former PM is entitled to at least two staff, including a senior private secretary, and the annual wages bill of each is nearly $300,000. Mr Keating saves about $70,000 a year by using staff as he needs them instead of full time appointees.

In the seven months after leaving office, Mr Howard spent $109,892 on limousine services, evenly split between the government Comcar service and private hire cars. Mr Howard's office rental was the highest at $13,853 a month, closely followed by former PM Malcolm Fraser, whose 101 Collins St office in Melbourne costs taxpayers $12,122 a month.

Former Labor PMs Whitlam and Hawke have offices on adjacent floors in Sydney's Potts Point at 100 William St. The monthly cost for each is $7464 and $7898 respectively. Mr Keating's office is also in Potts Point, in Manning St, and costs slightly less at $7434 a month.

The former PMs also have their home and mobile phone bills paid by taxpayers, as well as unlimited allowances for publications, a private self-drive car, and air fares for them and their spouse.

These are in addition to their pensions under the generous former Parliamentary superannuation scheme, which gives them a pension INDEXED TO CURRENT MPs’' SALARIES!

SALARIES FOR LIFE! The payout they receive depends on their length of service in Parliament, which is accelerated in the case of prime ministers and their final salary.

Each PM can usually expect to receive about 70 per cent of the incumbent's salary, unless they chose to take a lump sum on retirement. (I thank the Daily Telegraph for doing the hard yards here with the figures and info.)

MILLION DOLLAR PMs

KEVIN RUDD $200,000 pension plus estimated $300,000-a-year office and travel costs

JULIA GILLARD $200,000 pension plus estimated $300,000-a-year office and travel costs

JOHN HOWARD $250,000 pension plus $300,000 a year in office and travel costs.

PAUL KEATING $140,000-a-year office, travel, phone costs + pension

BOB HAWKE $130,000-a-year in office, travel, phone costs + pension

MALCOLM FRASER $220,000-a-year office, travel, phone + pension

GOUGH WHITLAM $125,000-a-year office, travel, phone + pension*

Source: Department of Finance

I've heard it said that we must offer attractive salaries and benefits to attract the brightest and the best. Well, we are paying very attractive salaries and benefits and yet we do not attract the brightest and the best. To the contrary, many of those who now sit in Parliament would have great problems holding down a proper job, so why do we continue with this charade?

Let's put a rocket under that self-serving bunch of people and cut this enormous largesse and see who turns up for work! Those who still do would truly serve the Nation rather than just themselves! The rest we can do without!