Source: The Mercury, Saturday, 17 June, 1995, pp.1-2



New pay rises
for our pollies

By MICHAEL LESTER

TASMANIAN MPs will
get a pay rise of at least
$1300 next month -
despite Premier Ray
Groom rejecting recom-
mendations for an even
bigger rise.

Mr Groom announced yes-
terday he would freeze MPs'
salaries at 88.9 per cent of
the basic federal salary.

That is more than 6 per
cent less than the earlier
decision that led to the now-
notorious 40 per cent rises.

But, because of increases
in federal pay, even the 88.9
per cent rate will bring new
rises in Tasmania.

Mr Groom's decision fol-
lowed the release of a report
from the $50,000 two-month
Collier investigation into
MPs' salaries.

The three-man panel
headed by West Australian
Salaries Tribunal chairman
Bruce Collier, concluded
that a fair rate for
Tasmanian MPs was 97 per
cent of their federal counter-
parts base salary.

That is 2 per cent MORE
than the original figure that
sent shockwaves through
the community.

The Collier Report recom-
mended that the new higher
figure be phased in over
three years.

But Mr Groom, who has
faced widespread criticism
since the 40 per cent pay
rise came into effect-and

Continued Page 2

More pay for state MPs

FROM PAGE 1

who faces an election next year
- said it would be inappropri-
ate to increase politicians' pay
in line with the Collier Report.

Mr Groom said he would
introduce legislation to freeze
the state-federal link at
88.9 per cent and expected the
move to be supported by all
Tasmanian MPs.

He said the matter was now
resolved for all time and the
Government would not enter-
tain any further changes to the
salary structure.

The decision to freeze the
link to 88.9 per cent will
nevertheless mean a 1.98 per
cent increase in MPs' salaries
from July 1 which translates
into a $1311 increase in the
base pay.

The increase also applies to
electoral and other allowances
which will result in a $3300
pay increase for Mr Groom and
a $2600 pay rise for Labor
Leader Michael Field and other
Government ministers.

Had Mr Groom not rejected
the Collier recommendations
his salary would have bal-
looned from a total of $166,843
a year to $201,017 by July 1,
1997.

The Collier Report said Tas-
manian MPs had exercised
more wage restraint than their
counterparts in other states
and the Commonwealth during
the 1980s. Had they continued
with the system in place in
1981 would now have a base
salary of $74,841.

"We are quite satisfied that
until the passage of the Novem-
ber 1993 legislation increasing
the salaries of Members to
95 per cent of the federal rate
Members of Parliament in Tas-
mania were very seriously
underpaid," the Collier Report
found.

It said the salaries of all
other MPs in Australia with
the exception of Western Aus-
tralia were based on the federal
salary and the same should
occur in Tasmania.

"However, the difference
should be slightly greater
because of the state of the
economy in comparison with
other states," the report said.

The panel also rejected the
argument that Tasmanian MPs
should be treated in the same
way as nurses, police, teachers
and other public sector
employees whose claims for
national parity had been
opposed by the State Govern-
ment.

The report said that MPs
worked long hours, often suf-
fered a financial loss in becom-
ing a member and accepted the
argument that they suffered
social dislocation, associated
stress and absences from home.

The Collier Report found
there was "no valid reason"
why Tasmanian MPs should
not get a flow-on of the special
social dislocation allowance
paid to Federal MPs since
December.

Mr Groom said he accepted
the pay issue could have been
handled better.


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