Parliamentary remuneration

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Parliamentary remuneration

Posted 20/08/2012 by Deirdre McKeown

Recent legislative changes have given the Remuneration Tribunal the power to determine MPs’ base salary and removed the Parliament’s power to disallow these determinations. Further information on parliamentary salaries and entitlements is available in the Parliamentary Library publications, The basic salary of senators and members Parliamentary remuneration and entitlements and Superannuation benefits for senators and members elected before 2004.

In December 2011 the Remuneration Tribunal issued its initial report on the work value assessment of parliamentary remuneration and a statement outlining its recommendations and next steps. One of the main recommendations was that parliamentary base salary should be set at $185000.

The Tribunal’s first Determination setting the base salary for members of parliament at $185000, took effect from 15 March 2012.

In June 2012 the Tribunal issued a Determination which increased MPs’ base salary by 3 per cent to $190550 from 1 July 2012. The Tribunal stated that the ‘increase will help to ensure that parliamentary pay does not lag behind in comparison to other public sector incomes’.

The base salary of members of parliament is now 2.8 times the average annual wage and is at its highest level in 37 years.

The following table and graph show the parliamentary base salary compared with average wages from 1968 – 2012.

Base salary
Male total average wages
Annual average percentage change
Current real prices 
Real prices (2012 dollars) 
Current real prices
Real prices (2012 dollars)
1968 to 2012
1970 to 1980
1980 to 1990
1990 to 2000
2000 to 2010
2011 to 2012

The parliamentary base salary compared with average wages from 1968 – 2012

by Deirdre McKeown and Guy Woods.

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