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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Shameless!

 

What do Barry Cunningham, Tony Lamb, Barry Cohen and John Moore have in common? All four are former lower house MPs - never heard of them; have you? - who have launched a shameless bid in the High Court.

Despite having left Parliament half a lifetime ago and now well into their 70s (Cohen is already 80), they want their allowances indexed to the salaries of current MPs (about $195,000), rather than at pre-2011 levels (about $154,000). They also demand in their writ of summons that unlimited domestic flights be reinstated in their retirement packages.

The challenge is to changes made by the then Gillard Government in 2011, which they claim have substantially reduced their allowances. The four former MPs currently receive between $81,000 and $115,000 per year, plus bonus allowances that depend on the roles they held in Parliament.

As reported by Fairfax media, which has seen the court documents, the former MPs are pursuing the same argument as that used by the Kerrigan family in the movie, The Castle. Section 51 allows the Commonwealth to acquire property on “just terms”, with the four claiming that the move represents an unlawful acquisition of their ‘property’ by the Commonwealth. Tell them they're dreaming? Tell them to f*** off!

The Castle - "on just terms"

Changes to the Life Gold Pass are also under fire from the four men. Prior to changes in 2002, retired MPs could take unlimited domestic flights at the taxpayers’ expense. The changes in 2002 limited flights to 25 per year and further changes in 2012 imposed a limit of 10 per year. MPs who retired after 2012 receive no flight allowance.

To top it all, Fairfax also reports that the men sought financial assistance from the Commonwealth to help progress their claim, but this was disallowed.

Read the article in THE AGE.