Parliamentary remuneration and entitlements: 2016 update

9 June 2016

PDF version [390KB]

Cathy Madden, Deirdre McKeown
Politics and Public Administration Section

Contents

Introduction

Executive responsibility
Parliamentary departments
Department of Finance

Parliamentary base salary

Constitutional basis for payment
Legislation and reports
Governor-General
Remuneration Tribunal
Recent reviews
Australian National Audit Office
Committee for the review of parliamentary entitlements
Remuneration Tribunal

Remuneration

Base salary
Additional salary
Ministers of State
Table 1: Selected Ministers of State percentage rates of base salary
Parliamentary office holders

Electorate allowance

Table 3: Electorate allowance from 1 May 2009
Additional electorate allowance of $19,500 per annum in lieu of private-plated vehicle

Other Entitlements

Travel entitlement changes
Reporting of entitlements
Entitlements available to former parliamentarians
Life Gold Pass
Resettlement allowance
Parliamentary superannuation
Former prime ministers

Appendix 1: Base salary, electorate allowance and additional salaries since 2011

Appendix 2: Salaries of state and territory parliamentarians and salary of office of premiers and chief ministers

 

Introduction

The issue of parliamentary salaries, allowances and entitlements continues to generate interest and comment. This research paper sets out major changes to the parliamentary remuneration and entitlements regime, including the authority and governing legislation and explains how different aspects of parliamentary remuneration and entitlements are regulated.

Executive responsibility

The responsible Ministers, with selected administered legislation, are:[1]

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, MP
Governor-General Act 1974, Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973, Remuneration and Allowances Act 1990

The Minister for Finance, Senator Mathias Cormann, Parliamentary Allowances Act 1952, Parliamentary Superannuation Act 2004, Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948, Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990, Ministers of State Act 1952, Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Act 2002, Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984.

The Special Minister of State, the Senator Mathias Cormann, has specific responsibility for administering some allowances and benefits under this legislation.

Parliamentary departments

The Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives pay the base salary and electorate allowance to parliamentarians and additional salary to ministers and parliamentary secretaries and Parliamentary office holders. The Parliamentary Departments also pay some other benefits such as postage.

Department of Finance

Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (M&PS) in the Department of Finance (Finance) provides advice on entitlements to the responsible Minister and to senators, members, office holders and their respective staff. M&PS also oversees the provision of a number of senators’ and members’ entitlements and administers the accountability mechanisms.[2]

Parliamentary base salary[3]

The base salary for parliamentarians is $199,040 per annum from 1 January 2016.

Constitutional basis for payment

Section 48 of the Constitution provides for the payment of members of parliament:

48. Until the Parliament otherwise provides, each senator and each member of the House of Representatives shall receive an allowance of four hundred pounds a year, to be reckoned from the day on which he takes his seat. [4]

Legislation and reports

Commonwealth legislation allows for payment of the annual allowance as described in the Constitution.

The Remuneration and Allowances Act 1990 as consolidated, sets out the annual allowance (base salary) payable to senators and members of the House of Representatives for the purposes of Section 48 of the Constitution.[5]

Governor-General

Section 8A of the Remuneration and Allowances Act allows the Governor-General to make regulations necessary to allow the Act to be carried out.[6]

The regulations currently in force are Remuneration and Allowances Regulations 2005[7]

Remuneration Tribunal

The Remuneration Tribunal is the independent statutory body which determines the base salary for senators and members.[8] The Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 establishes the Remuneration Tribunal and defines its powers and functions. Subsection 7(1) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act says that:

The Tribunal shall, from time to time as provided by this Part, inquire into, and determine, the allowances (including allowances in accordance with section 48 of the Constitution) to be paid out of the public moneys of the Commonwealth to members of the Parliament...[9]

In 2012 the role of the Tribunal in setting parliamentary remuneration changed from an advisory role to one of determining the base salary. For more details see the section below on the Review of Parliamentary Entitlements.[10]

Recent reviews

A number of reports in recent years have described the complexity and lack of transparency in the rules governing parliamentarians’ remuneration and entitlements.

Australian National Audit Office (2009)

A report by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), Administration of parliamentarians’ entitlements by the Department of Finance and Deregulation, highlighted shortcomings in the management of MPs’ entitlements.[11] The 2009 audit, which was a follow-up to an earlier audit[12], found that there had been no fundamental changes to the framework since the 2001 audit, with the result being an ‘entitlements framework that is difficult to understand and manage for both the Parliamentarians and Finance’. The audit supported a comprehensive review of the entitlements framework and greater transparency in the system.[13] Parliamentary entitlements had not been comprehensively reviewed since 1971. This 2009 report was pivotal in leading to reform of MPs’ entitlements.

Committee for the review of parliamentary entitlements (2010)

In September 2009, in response to the ANAO report, the Government set up a committee to review parliamentary entitlements, chaired by former senior public servant, Barbara Belcher. The terms of reference for the review included:

  • developing a single principles-based legislative basis
  • improving transparency
  • enabling accountability processes to be mandated, and
  • recommending possible improvements to the protocol for handling allegations of misuse of entitlements.[14]

The report was handed to the Special Minister of State on the 9 April 2010 and released on 24 March 2011.[15] The Belcher Review drew a distinction between remuneration (salary) and ‘tools of trade’ (entitlements such as office facilities and transport) and recommended that each be dealt with separately. The former will be determined by the Remuneration Tribunal while the latter will be covered by a single piece of legislation to be administered by the Special Minister of State. Other key recommendations include that the Government:

  • ask the Remuneration Tribunal to conduct a work value assessment of parliamentary remuneration and incorporate the electorate allowance and overseas study with the base salary
  • abolish the Gold Pass and severance travel schemes for those entering parliament at or after the next election, and
  • remove the use of the printing and communications allowance when an election is announced.

The Government accepted all of the recommendations and the Minister identified reforms recommended by the Belcher review which had already been implemented by the Government.[16] These include opposition staffing, amendments to the printing and communications entitlements and expanded reporting of MPs’ expenditure on entitlements.

On 24 March 2011 the Minister introduced the Remuneration and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 to amend the Remuneration Tribunal Act. This legislation acted on the key recommendation of the Belcher Review by restoring the power of the Remuneration Tribunal to determine parliamentary base salary and requiring the Tribunal to publish reasons for its decisions on parliamentary remuneration. The legislation also removed the power of the Parliament to disallow parliamentary remuneration determinations made by the Tribunal. The Bill passed both Houses on 23 June 2011 and received assent on 25 July 2011, commencing on 8 August 2011.

Remuneration Tribunal (2011)

On 15 December 2011 the Remuneration Tribunal issued its initial report on the work value assessment of parliamentary remuneration.[17] The Tribunal also issued a Statement outlining its recommendations and next steps.[18] The main recommendations included:

  • on the basis of a work assessment of parliamentarians, that parliamentary base salary should be set at $185,000
  • the introduction of additional salaries for Shadow Ministers
  • the prospective closure of the Life Gold Pass (LGP) scheme
  • termination of the present Overseas Study Travel entitlement
  • greatly limited severance travel entitlement
  • severance of the link between pensions under the 1948 superannuation scheme and current parliamentarians’ salaries, and
  • the introduction of workers’ compensation arrangements for parliamentarians.

The Tribunal recommended that the base salary of MPs be increased from $141,910 to $185,000, but did not accept the Belcher Review recommendation to incorporate the electorate allowance into parliamentary base salary. The Tribunal raised concerns about the flow-on impacts for former members who receive a pension under the 1948 Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme (PCSS). The Tribunal indicated that it could not make determinations in regard to base salary and other entitlements until the Government took legislative action to change the LGP scheme and the superannuation arrangements under the 1948 PCSS Act.

The Government accepted all of the recommendations and indicated it would introduce the necessary legislation.[19] On the 9 February 2012 the Minister introduced the Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012.[20] The Bill passed Parliament and commenced on 6 March 2012. On the 13 March 2012 the Remuneration Tribunal released three determinations with reasons, including the increase to base salary, additional salary for shadow ministers and a new principal determination covering entitlements, incorporating changes to the LGP, severance travel and overseas study travel.

An independent parliamentary entitlements system (2015)

On 2 August 2015 the Government established a Review Committee to examine an independent parliamentary entitlements system. The review sought submissions and the Committee reported on 23 March 2016.[21]The Committee made 36 recommendations. Key recommendations included:

  • establishing a ‘principles-based system’ in which parliamentarians would consider whether their work expenditure represents an efficient, effective and ethical use of public resources
  • changing the terminology from entitlements and benefits to ‘work expenses’ and create a single framework for parliamentarians’ work expenses
  • adopting an inclusive definition of parliamentary business, and
  • clarifying and strengthening the division of responsibilities between the Remuneration Tribunal, the Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990 and the Special Minister of State.

Sixteen of the recommendations relate to aspects of parliamentarians’ travel. Another key theme of the findings was increasing transparency through more detailed and more frequent reporting.[22] The Government accepted all the recommendations in principle.[23]

Remuneration

Base salary

The passage of the Remuneration and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2011 means that the Tribunal now has the power to determine base salary for members of parliament. On 13 March 2012 the Tribunal issued the first Determination setting the base salary of $185,000 for members of parliament to take effect from 15 March 2012.[24]

On 19 June 2012 the Tribunal determined that MPs’ base salary be increased by 3 per cent to $190, 550 from 1 July 2012.[25] The Tribunal noted in the accompanying Reasons for Determination that:

The Tribunal has decided that the base pay of parliamentarians should be increased by the same percentage (i.e. 3%) as the Tribunal has determined for public offices in general as part of the 2012 annual remuneration adjustment.

The increase will help to ensure that parliamentary pay does not lag behind in comparison to other public sector incomes.[26]

In June 2013 the Tribunal announced that public office holders within its jurisdiction would receive a 2.4% pay increase.[27] Subsequently the Tribunal issued Determination 2013/15 Members of Parliament—base salary, additional salary for parliamentary office holders and related matters which increased parliamentarians’ base salary to $195,130.[28]

In its 2014 Annual review of Remuneration for Holders of Public Office, the Remuneration Tribunal determined that there would be no annual adjustment to remuneration for offices in its jurisdiction from 1 July 2014 for one year. This included parliamentarians and office holders as well as other principal executive offices.[29] Determination 2014/10 Members of Parliament–base salary, additional salary for parliamentary office holders, and related matters gave effect to this decision.[30]

On 31 March 2015 the Tribunal decided to defer consideration of remuneration increases for offices in its jurisdiction until the second half of the 2015 calendar year.[31]A determination was issued in May 2015 to that effect.

In December 2015 the Tribunal issued the Annual review of remuneration for holders of office: second statement which provided for an increase in remuneration of 2 per cent for public offices in its jurisdiction effective from 1 January 2016.[32]

Additional salary

Section 66 of the Constitution provides the basis for the payment of salaries of ministers of state.

Section 7 of the Remuneration and Allowances Act 1990 provides that ministers of state and parliamentary office holders are to receive a salary in addition to their base salary. This is sometimes described as an ‘additional salary.’

Ministers of State

The Remuneration Tribunal is empowered, by subsection 6(1) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act, to report on salary for ministers of state. However ministerial salary is ultimately a matter for executive government: while the Remuneration Tribunal reports on ministerial salary, Cabinet can vary ministerial salary if it so wishes.

Ministerial salary is expressed as a percentage of the base salary. The Tribunal’s Report Number 1 of 2014 Report on Ministers of State - Salaries Additional to the Basic Parliamentary Salary confirms the percentage rates that currently apply.[33] On 7 August 2014 the Tribunal issued a Statement stating that it would recommend no increase in ministerial salaries consistent with the decision not to increase base salary for senators and members. This remained unchanged in 2015.[34]

Table 1: Selected Ministers of State percentage rates of base salary

Ministers of State

Percentage of base salary

Prime Minister

160.0%

Deputy Prime Minister

105.0% 

Treasurer

87.5% 

Leader of the Government in the Senate

87.5% 

Leader of the House

75.0% 

Other Minister in Cabinet who is also Manager of Government Business in the Senate

75.0% 

Other Ministers in Cabinet

72.5% 

Other Minister who is also Manager of Government Business in the Senate

67.5% 

Other Ministers

57.5% 

Parliamentary Secretary who is also Manager of Government Business in the Senate

35.0% 

Parliamentary Secretaries

25.0% 

When acting Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister is paid the same rate of salary per annum payable to the Prime Minister.

The Ministers of State Act 1952 sets the maximum number of ministers and appropriates monies for payment of ministerial salaries. This Act was amended in 2000 to include parliamentary secretaries.[35]

Parliamentary office holders

Subsection 7(1) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act allows the Tribunal to determine a salary for parliamentary office holders. This subsection prevails, to the extent of any inconsistency, over Schedule 4 of the Remuneration and Allowances Act, ministers and office holders of the Parliament.

Determination 2013/13 brought together the determination of base salary and additional salary for parliamentary office holders in the one instrument for the first time.[36] Parliamentary office holders, like ministers of state, receive a salary that is also expressed as a percentage of the base salary. Determination 2012/03 brought into effect the paying of an additional salary to shadow ministers, commencing 15 March 2012.[37]

Current salary rates are set out in Determination 2015/22: Members of Parliament–Base Salary, Additional Salary for Parliamentary Office Holders.[38]

Table 2: Selected parliamentary office holders salary percentages—effective 1 January 2016

Parliamentary office holder

Percentage of base salary

Leader of the Opposition

85.0%

President of the Senate

75.0%

Speaker of the House of Representatives

75.0%

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

57.5%

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

57.5%

Leader of a recognised party of more than 10 members of parliament, other than a party whose Leader is the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition

45.0%

Shadow Minister

25.0%

The remaining offices and percentages can be found in Schedule A, Table 1 of Determination 2015/22 (the additional salary is to be rounded up to the nearest ten dollars).

Electorate allowance

An electorate allowance is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal by virtue of subsection 7(1) and subsection 7(4) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 and Clause 2 of Schedule 3 of the Remuneration and Allowances Act 1990. It is ‘an expense of office allowance payable to Senators and Members to reimburse them for costs necessarily incurred in providing services to their constituents’.[39] The electorate allowance is treated as taxable income but is not regarded as salary for the purposes of the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948.

Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04 Members of Parliament—Entitlements gives the annual rates.[40]

Table 3: Electorate allowance from 1 May 2009

Chamber

State or Territory/Electorate

Amount effective on and from 1 May 2009

Senators

All States and Territories

$32,000

Members

Electorate of less than 2,000 sq km

$32,000

Members

Electorates of 2,000 to 4,999 sq km

$38,000

Members

Electorates of 5,000 sq km or more

$46,000

 

Additional electorate allowance of $19,500 per annum in lieu of private-plated vehicle

Part 5 Determination 2012/04 entitles parliamentarians to a private-plated vehicle to be used for parliamentary, electorate or official business.

From 20 March 2006, senators and members who choose not to be provided with a vehicle ‘will be entitled to an additional $19,500 per annum of electorate allowance in lieu of the private plated vehicle to meet the costs of transport within and for the service of the electorate’.[41]

When calculating the total remuneration of an individual member, note that the rate of electorate allowance will vary depending upon the size of a particular member’s electorate and whether the senator or member has elected to take a private-plated vehicle.

Other Entitlements

The Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990 entitles members of parliament to benefits listed in Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Act.[42] Schedule 1 of the Act allows certain travel and accommodation to be reimbursed if it is related to ‘parliamentary or electorate business.’ The Schedule outlines stationery, office accommodation, and domestic and overseas travel entitlements.

The Act also allows benefits in the Schedule to be ‘varied or omitted’ by determination of the Remuneration Tribunal or by regulations pursuant to the Act. Where the regulations and determinations are inconsistent, the regulations prevail and the determination is void to the extent of the inconsistency.[43]

Section 7 of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 states that the Tribunal shall ‘inquire into, and determine’ benefits paid to MPs, office holders and ministers.

The principal determinations governing entitlements are:

  • Determination 2012/04 Members of Parliament–Entitlements[44] (includes electorate allowance, various travel entitlements and office facilities), and
  • Determination 2015/12 Members of Parliament–Travelling Allowance[45]

Travel entitlement changes

The Parliamentary Entitlements Act includes the entitlement to domestic and overseas travel for members of parliament, parliamentary office holders and members of the executive. Overseas travel covers delegation, representational, study and official business travel. Please note that there have been changes to study and official business travel.

The Remuneration Tribunal has determined that there will be no further accrual of the study travel entitlement. Part 10 of Determination 2012/04 outlines transitional arrangements for any senator or member who had accrued an entitlement to overseas study travel prior to 15 March 2012. These senators and members will retain access to this entitlement which can be rolled over from the 43rd Parliament to the 44th Parliament, but not to a later parliament.

From 1 July 2012, an amendment to Schedule 1 of the Parliamentary Entitlements Act has established a new pooled entitlement for overseas travel on official business by the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives and other opposition members at the discretion of the Leader of the Opposition.[46] This replaces the previous entitlement that provided a lower, fixed amount, for the cost of fares for travel by the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition only. The Regulation has also created a new entitlement for overseas travel on official business by the leader of a minority party and other members of the minority party at the discretion of the leader. These amendments reflect the Remuneration Tribunal’s 2011 report on the Review of the remuneration of members of parliament which recommended that ‘the overseas travel provisions for the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Leaders of minority parties be enhanced’.[47]

Since January 2014 MPs have been required to make a declaration when submitting a travel claim. The new declaration reads:

I declare that this travel was undertaken in my capacity as an elected representative and I acknowledge that a financial loading will be applied if subsequent adjustment to this travel claim is required.

In addition parliamentarians who are required to make an adjustment to any claims made after 1 January 2014 will be required to pay a loading of 25 per cent in addition to the full amount of the adjustment. This will not apply where the adjustment is the result of an error made by the Department of Finance.[48]

The Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, currently before the Parliament, will strengthen the compliance provisions for claims for travel expenses.[49]

As noted above, the remuneration and entitlements regime has been subject to a number of changes and the Government accepted the Belcher review recommendation that MPs’ entitlements or ‘tools of trade’ be covered by a single piece of legislation. In February 2012, Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, stated:

The Government is ... currently undertaking a full-scale review of the Parliamentary Entitlements Act and associated regulations, with the aim of simplifying them and making them easier for politicians and administrators to understand and comply with, with a firm legislative base for the accountability and transparency mechanisms.[50]

Similarly, the Review of an Independent Parliamentary Entitlements System has recommended numerous changes to travel benefits (Recommendations 8 to 23), and has recommended a single legislative authority to cover ‘work expenses’ (Recommendation 6).[51]

Reporting of entitlements

From the July to December 2009 reporting period, the Department of Finance reports on parliamentarians’ entitlements have been available online.[52] The following reports are tabled biannually and are available on the Department of Finance website:[53]

  • Parliamentarians’ Expenditure on Entitlements paid by the Department of Finance
  • Former Parliamentarians’ Expenditure on Entitlements paid by the Department of Finance
  • Parliamentarians’ Overseas Study Travel Reports

Expenditure on the following entitlements for senators, members and certain former parliamentarians are now included in the reports:

  • office administrative costs, including:
    • office consumables and services
    • printing and communications
    • publications
  • office facilities costs
  • travel allowances and travel expenses for both domestic and overseas travel, including family travel costs (previously available), and
  • overseas study travel reports from senators and members (previously available)

An annual report covering ministerial and parliamentary staffing, employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984, was introduced in December 2008.[54]

Entitlements available to former parliamentarians

Parliamentary superannuation, retirement travel and a resettlement allowance are the entitlements available to former parliamentarians. Retirement travel consists of the Life Gold Pass and Severance Travel.

Life Gold Pass

The Life Gold Pass benefit is outlined in the provisions of the Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Act 2002.[55] The Life Gold Pass entitles eligible former parliamentarians to travel within Australia for ‘non-commercial’ purposes at government expense. Section 4A of the Act closes the Life Gold Pass scheme prospectively to new members of parliament.

The qualifying periods for eligibility for the Life Gold Pass are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.[56]

Post retirement (formerly called Severance) travel is available for those parliamentarians ineligible for the Life Gold Pass. It allows parliamentarians who do not qualify for a Life Gold Pass to travel domestically at government expense for a limited time. Severance travel, for ‘non-commercial’ purposes only, provides for five return trips for the first six months years from the member’s retirement from Parliament.[57]

A former senator or member who retired from the Parliament on or before 15 March 2012 continues to be entitled to travel in accordance with clauses 8.1 to 8.5 of Determination 2006/18.[58]

The Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, currently before the Parliament, will reduce the entitlement to Life Gold Pass extensively for eligible senators and members.[59] For a fuller description refer to Research paper, Retirement travel.

Resettlement allowance 

The resettlement allowance is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal in Determination 2012/04 Clauses 9.6 – 9.8.[60]

Eligible Senators and Members are those:

(a) first elected before 9 October 2004 and whose retiring allowance under the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948 is subject to deferral under the Act when he or she ceases to be a member of the Parliament,

(b) first elected on or after 9 October 2004, who declare in writing to the Clerk of the relevant House of Parliament the intention to seek employment after leaving Parliament, and

(c) who have retired involuntarily through:

(i) electing not to stand for re-election following loss of party endorsement, for reasons other than misconduct

(ii) defeat at an election (including defeat at an election where he or she has campaigned to be elected to represent a different electoral division or to the other House of Parliament).

The resettlement allowance payable to eligible former parliamentarians is equal to three months of the basic salary on the date Parliament is prorogued before the election.

If a senator or member qualifies for a resettlement allowance he or she will be paid an Additional Allowance of a further three months of the base parliamentary salary if he or she is:

(a) a senator who has served more than three full years in the Parliament, or

(b) a senator for a territory or a member who has served more than one full term in the Parliament.

Parliamentary superannuation

Senators and members elected at the general election held 9 October 2004 and at subsequent elections are eligible for benefits under the Parliamentary Superannuation Act 2004.[61]

Parliamentarians who served prior to the 2004 general election are, and will remain, eligible for entitlements under the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948 (the principal Act).[62] This Act established the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Trust and the Parliamentary Superannuation Contributory Scheme (the Scheme). Finance administers the Scheme under the direction of the Trust. A history of the principal Act can be read in The Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Act 1948: Debates, Committee Reports, Remuneration Tribunal Reviews and a Chronology of Legislative Amendments.

The Parliamentary Superannuation Handbook, published by Finance, outlines the Scheme’s operation.[63]

For further discussion of the schemes refer to a companion Research paper, 2014 Superannuation benefits for senators and members elected before 2004.

Former prime ministers

In addition to the benefits afforded under parliamentary superannuation acts, Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 and the Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Act 2002 former prime ministers who have left parliament have been provided with ‘a number of facilities at the discretion of the prime minister of the day’. These entitlements have included car costs and office entitlements such as office establishment and lease costs, fixtures, telecommunications, office stationery and publications. The 2010 Belcher review noted that:

While each former prime minister’s entitlements are individually determined by the incoming prime minister, they have come to be largely uniform in nature. The Prime Minister can also determine ad hoc benefits on a case-by-case basis.[64]

In its December 2011 report the Remuneration Tribunal stated that:

... the Tribunal is of the view that a case can be made for providing availability to travel to former Prime Ministers (including, as it were, future former Prime Ministers) who have served a reasonable term – probably one year – in office. Such travel would not necessarily be provided under the rubric of an LGP. The travel could be included as an entitlement for former Prime Ministers under special provisions for former holders of that office. The Tribunal will provide further comment on this proposal when it completes its consideration of CROPE’s [Belcher Review] Recommendation 35, which recommends a legislated head of authority for providing benefits to former Prime Ministers.[65]  

Appendix 1: Base salary, electorate allowance and additional salaries since 2011

See Appendix 1 for a spreadsheet of base salary, additional salary and electorate allowance calculated for each office.

Appendix 2: Salaries of state and territory parliamentarians and salary of office of premiers and chief ministers

The Remuneration Tribunal recommended that ‘any existing linkages between the remuneration of state and territory parliamentarians and assembly members and the base salary of federal parliamentarians be severed on the basis that it cannot be justified without a state or territory based work-value assessment similar to that conducted for federal parliamentarians’.[66] South Australia has enacted legislation to maintain the link with the basic salary of federal members of parliament. All other states and territories determine their own parliamentary remuneration.

Note: 2015–16 salaries are advisory, please contact each jurisdiction to confirm.

Jurisdiction

Legislation/ linkage

Current basic salary

Salary of office
premier/chief minister

Total salary of premier or chief minister

Australian Capital Territory

Determined by the ACT Remuneration Tribunal. See  Determination 7 of 2015 and Remuneration Tribunal Act 1995 (ACT)

Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly Determination 1 of 2016
The Remuneration Tribunal released its Final report on the review of entitlements for members of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly in April 2014.

$136,758
From 25 September 2015

 

$142,228
From 1 July 2016

$150,434
110% of basic salary. Determined by ACT Remuneration Tribunal in Determination 7 of 2015

$156,451
From 1 July 2016

$287,192

$298,679
From 1 July 2016

New South Wales

Parliamentary Remuneration Act 1989 (NSW) establishes the Parliamentary Remuneration Tribunal. The Tribunal determines salaries up to the amount prescribed in the government’s wages policy. The Parliamentary, Local Council and Public Sector Executives Remuneration Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (NSW) breaks the nexus with the basic salary of federal MPs and ensures that NSW members’ salary is aligned with public sector wages. The most recent Determination is  2015 Annual Report and Determination, 28 August 2015.

$153,280
From 1 July 2015

$145,616
95% of basic salary
Schedule 1 of the Parliamentary Remuneration Act 1989

$298,896

Northern Territory

The basic salary of Assembly members is tied to the annual rate of increase in the salary of NT Public Service (NTPS) employees.
S3 Assembly Members and Statutory Officers (Remuneration and Other Entitlements) Act (NT) describes the linkage and establishes the NT Remuneration Tribunal
See also Guide to Members’ Entitlements.
Report on salaries and other entitlements of Assembly members and Determination No. 1 of 2015 on salaries and other entitlements of Assembly members.

$153,312
From 1 January 2016

$153,312
From 1 January 2016

100% of basic salary

Determined by the NT Remuneration Tribunal, Determination No. 1 of 2015

$306,624

Queensland

In July 2013 the Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal was established under the Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal Act 2013 (QIRT Act).
As a result of amendments made to the QIRT Act in 2015, the Tribunal has new procedures for determining members’ salaries. The Act specifies that the Tribunal must deliver a Determination on members’ salaries within 90 days of a decision on certain core public service salaries (s31A). Any decision to increase members’ salaries is capped to the increase in salary awarded to the relevant public service employees. Determination 10/2016 was issued on 12 January 2016.

$151,425

From 1 September 2015

$234,296
Additional salary determined by the Tribunal see Determination 10/2016  See also Members’ Remuneration Handbook

$385,721

South Australia

Parliamentary Remuneration Act 1990 (SA) describes the linkage with federal base salary and establishes the SA Remuneration Tribunal which determines on entitlements.
Parliamentary Remuneration (Basic Salary) Amendment Act 2012 (SA) states that from 1 July 2012 SA basic salary will be $42,000 less than federal base salary. The SA RT in its 2015 Determination provided additional increases to base salary as compensation for the abolition of certain allowances including travel and committee service. The $30,294 common allowance was set by  Determination of the Remuneration Tribunal Common Allowance for Members of the Parliament of  South Australia

$157,040

From 1 January 2016

$157,040
100% of basic salary
Schedule of the Parliamentary Remuneration Act 1990 (SA)

$314,040

Tasmania

The Parliamentary Salaries, Superannuation and Allowances Act 2012 (Tas.) (the Act) repeals and replaces the 1973 Act. It breaks the nexus with the basic salary of federal MPs. The Act provides for the establishment of a tribunal to prepare a report “determining the basic salary and other matters”. The Parliamentary and Salaries Tribunal tabled a report in June 2014which was not implemented. An amendment to the Act in 2015 provided a 2% rise in base salary and that a Full Bench of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission (the Commission) must from then on periodically inquire into, report on and make determinations about the salaries and allowances to which MPs are entitled. The Commission released its report in February 2016 recommending that basic salary increase to $133,560 from 1 July 2016. On 7 April the Government moved a motion to disallow the increase and link MP’s pay to the Wage Price Index. On 25 May 2016 the Legislative Council voted against the disallowance motion resulting in the pay increase. The Government and Opposition say they will refuse the increase and the Greens say they will give the increase to charitable organisations.

$120,835
From 1 July 2015

 

$133,560 from 1 July 2016

$138,960
115% of basic salary
Schedule 4 Part 3 of the
Parliamentary Salaries, Superannuation and Allowances Act 2012 (Tas)

$259,785

Victoria

Premier’s press release, 2 May 2012, announced the end of the link between state and federal MPs’ pay. The Parliamentary and Public Administration Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (Vic), received assent 18 June 2013. From 1 July 2015 salary will be adjusted by the relevant index published by the ABS on Victorian adult average weekly ordinary time earnings.

$145,277
From 1 July 2015

$145,277
100% of basic salary
Part 1 of the Parliamentary Salaries and Superannuation Act 1968 (Vic)

$290,554

Western Australia

As determined by WA Salaries and Allowances Tribunal and published in the government gazette.
Determination of the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal for the Remuneration of Members of Parliament April 2016 (WA) sets outs salaries, allowances and entitlements.

$156,536
From 15 April 2016

$199,145
From 15 April 2016

$355,681

 



[1].         See Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Administrative Arrangements Order, 30 September 2015, accessed 18 March 2016.

[2].         Department of Finance, Ministerial and Parliamentary Services, accessed 18 March 2016.

[3].         For further information on the history of MPs’ base salary see C Madden and D McKeown, The base salary of senators and members: 2016 update, Research paper series 2015–16, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, June 2016.

[4].         The choice of phrase to describe the allowance payable under Section 48 of the Constitution is a difficult one. ‘Basic salary’ is commonly used in an informal sense and serves to distinguish it from salaries paid to ministers and office-holders. Parliamentary base salary is used by the Remuneration Tribunal and the authors have chosen to use this phrase.

[5].         Remuneration and Allowances Act 1990, Schedule 3, accessed 18 March 2016.

[6].         Ibid., Section 8A.

[7].         Remuneration and Allowances Regulations 2005, accessed 18 March 2016.

[8].         Remuneration Tribunal, website, accessed 18 March 2016.

[9].         Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973, accessed 18 March 2016.

[10].      See also Remuneration Tribunal website, Determinations, accessed 18 March 2016. Note that all Remuneration Tribunal determinations—as legislative instruments—must be registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

[11].      Australian National Audit Office, Administration of parliamentarians’ entitlements by the Department of Finance and Deregulation,  ANAO, 2009, accessed 18 March 2016.

[12].      Australian National Audit Office, Parliamentarians’ Entitlements 1999–2000, Audit report no. 5 2001–02, Canberra, 7 August 2001, accessed 18 March 2016.

[13].      ANAO, 2009, op. cit., pp. 14–15.

[14].      Committee for Review of Parliamentary Entitlements, Terms of Reference, Department of Finance website, accessed 18 March 2016.

[15].      Committee for the Review of Parliamentary Entitlements, Report, April 2010, Department of Finance website, accessed 18 March 2016.

[16].      Hon G Gray (Special Minister of State), Boost to transparency and integrity for Parliamentary entitlements, media release, 24 March 2011, accessed 18 March 2016.

[17].      Remuneration Tribunal, Review of the Remuneration of Members of Parliament: Initial report, 15 December 2011, accessed 18 March 2016.

[18].      Remuneration Tribunal, Reports, Members of Parliament, Secretaries of Departments, Specified Statutory Offices, Statement, accessed 18 March 2016.

[19].      Hon G Gray (Special Minister of State), Government to reform MPs’ entitlements, media release, 15 December 2011, accessed 12 April 2016.

[20].      Hon G Gray (Special Minister of State), Government acts on the Remuneration Tribunal decisions, media release, 9 February 2012, accessed 12 April 2016.

[21].      Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), Review Committee–An independent parliamentary entitlements system, PM&C website, accessed 26 February 2016.

[22].      Review Committee, An independent parliamentary entitlements system, Report, 22 February 2016, pp. 4–16, accessed 8 April 2016.

[23].      Senator the Hon M Cormann (Minister for Finance), An independent parliamentary entitlements system, media release, 23 March 2016, accessed 8 April 2016.

[24].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2012/02: Members of Parliament—Base salary and related matters, 12 March 2012, accessed 12 April 2016.

[25].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2012/15: Members of Parliament—Base salary, entitlements and related matters, 19 June 2012, accessed 12 April 2016.  

[26].      ibid, p. 2.

[27].      Remuneration Tribunal, 2013 Review of Remuneration for Holders of Public Office, Statement, 13 June 2013, accessed 12 April 2016.

[28].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2013/13: Members of Parliament—base salary, additional salary for parliamentary office holders, and related matters, 18 June 2013, accessed 12 April 2016.

[29].      Remuneration Tribunal, 2014 Review of Remuneration for Holders of Public Office, Statement, 12 May 2014, accessed 12 April 2016.

[30].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2014/10, Members of Parliament–base salary, additional salary for parliamentary office holders, and related matters, May 2014, accessed 12 April 2016.

[31].      Remuneration Tribunal, 2015 Review of Remuneration for Holders of Public Office, Statement, 31 March 2015, accessed 26 February 2016.

[32].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2015/22, Members of Parliament–Base salary, additional salary of parliamentary office holders and related matters, 9 December 2015, accessed 26 February 2016.

[33].      Remuneration Tribunal, Report Number 1 of 2014: Report on Ministers of State –Salaries Additional to the Basic Parliamentary Salary, 7 August 2014, accessed 12 April 2016.

[34].      Remuneration Tribunal, Ministers of State Salaries Additional to the Basic Parliamentary Salary, Statement, 7 August 2014; Remuneration Tribunal, Ministers of State Salaries additional to the Basic Parliamentary Salary, Statement, 6 August 2015, accessed 26 February 2016.

[35].      Ministers of State Act 1952, accessed 12 April 2016.

[36].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2013/13, op. cit.

[37].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2012/03: Parliamentary additional salary and related matters, 13 March 2012, accessed 12 April 2016.

[38].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2015/22 Members of Parliament – Base Salary, Additional Salary for Parliamentary Office Holders, and Related Matters, 9 December 2015, accessed 12 April 2016.

[39].      Remuneration Tribunal, Report on senators and members of parliament, ministers and holders of parliamentary office – salaries and allowances for expenses of office – December 1999, Report 1999/01, The Tribunal, 1999, p. 8.

[40].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2012/04: Members of Parliament–Entitlements, 13 March 2012, consolidated to 15 December 2015, accessed 26 February 2016.

[41].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2006/02: Members of Parliament–Entitlements, accessed 11 April 2016.

[42].      Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990, accessed 11 April 2016.

[43].      Section 9, Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990.

[44].      Determination 2012/04, op. cit.

[45].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2015/12: Members of Parliament–Travelling Allowance, 30 August 2015, accessed 12 April 2016. This Determination specifies the amount payable to members of parliament, office-holders and ministers, for accommodation during periods of stay away from a home base that is nominated to the Special Minister of State. The conditions of payment and for what purpose travel at government expense can be used are specified. Current travel allowance rates are listed in Part 2 of the Determination.

[46].      Parliamentary Entitlements Amendment Regulations 2012 (No 1) and Explanatory Statement, accessed 11 April 2016.

[47].      Remuneration Tribunal, Review of the Remuneration of Members of Parliament: Initial report, December 2011, op. cit.

[48].      Senator M Ronaldson, (Special Minister of State), Strengthening the rules governing parliamentarians’ business expenses, media release, 11 April 2016.

[49].      Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, Bill homepage

[50].      G Gray, ‘Petitions: member for Fisher travel expenditure’, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 February 2012, p. 781, accessed 12 April 2016.

[51].      Review Committee, op.cit., pp. 3–4, 6–7, 8–12.

[52].      Department of Finance, Parliamentarians’ Entitlements, accessed 12 April 2016.

[53].      Ibid.

[54].      Department of Finance, Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984, Annual reports, accessed 12 April 2016.

[55].      Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Act 2002, accessed 12 April 2016.

[56].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2012/04: Member of Parliament–Entitlements, Part 8, accessed 12 April 2016.

[57].      Ibid., Part 9.

[58].      Remuneration Tribunal, Determination 2006/18: Members of Parliament–Entitlements, accessed 12 April 2016.

[59].      Bill homepage, op. cit. If the Bill is still on the Notice Paper when a federal election is called then it will lapse.

[60].      Determination 2012/04, Part 9, op. cit.

[61].      Parliamentary Superannuation Act 2004, accessed 12 April 2016.

[62].      Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948, accessed 12 April 2016.

[63].      Department of Finance, Parliamentary Superannuation, accessed 12 April 2016.

[64].      Belcher review, op. cit., p. 95.

[65].      Remuneration Tribunal, Review of the Remuneration of Members of Parliament: Initial report, op. cit., para 8.13, p. 49.

[66].      ibid., para 1.22, p. 3.

 

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