Premier Campbell Newman has just announced the creation of a remuneration tribunal to determine Queensland politicians pay levels. The announcement comes in the aftermath of the recent 42% pay rise given to state politicians. The recommendations of the tribunal will apply from the 1st July 2013, and will be backdated once the Tribunal presents it’s findings in October. In order to enact the recommendations of the tribunal the Newman government will be presenting legislation to parliament in August designed to break the link between Federal and State politician’s salaries. Newman also confirmed that the new legislation would attempt to make the Tribunal’s recommendations binding.
This link was, according to Newman in the recent announcement, established by the Bligh/Beattie government as a means of indexing state politician salaries to federal salaries. This link, or as Newman is calling it a ‘nexus’, is law and explains the recent 42% pay rise awarded to politicians in Queensland.
Newman is defending acting Premier Jeff Seeney’s approval of the pay rises on the basis that the legislation requires that state politician salaries remain indexed to federal, yet under the Bligh government there have been several federal pay rises that have not resulted in increased state salaries. So it seems that the Bligh government was able to find a way to keep politican’s salaries down since 2009, but Newman’s government has not. Over 4 years, the current pay rise really only represents a roughly 10% annual indexation, not the 42% that is being claimed.
The Bligh pay freeze may have been unlawful, and the Newman government claims advice that this was so forced them to lift the freeze. But in so doing they showed no interest in first looking into improving the existing legislation so as to avoid the 42% increase. Now that there has been public backlash, Newman has decided that there will be investigation into this issue afterall.
Time will tell if the Tribunal recommendations are adhered to, or indeed whether in the final analysis the Tribunal doesn’t recommend that the new salaries, coming on the back of a series of missed pay rises, are appropriate after all.