October 12, 2017

Opposition calls on Premier to practise what he preaches

Opposition leader Mike Nahan has called on Premier Mark McGowan to lead by example and make sure his total pay is fixed for the next four years, consistent with legislation he has introduced in Parliament for all other Members of Parliament and senior public servants.

“Under the Government’s legislation, the total pay of Members of Parliament and senior bureaucrats will be frozen. Under that same legislation, the Premier’s total pay will continue to increase because the Premier is on the old superannuation scheme,” Dr Nahan said.

“He needs to show leadership, practise what he preaches and transfer to the superannuation scheme of his colleagues, so that he also shares the burden of alleged budget repair and has his total pay frozen.

“Mr McGowan is a legacy member of an old parliamentary pension scheme that affords him benefits the average West Australian would find eye-watering,” Dr Nahan said.

“The hypocrisy of the Premier is breathtaking when he stands in Parliament and before the media and tells pensioners struggling to pay their electricity bills that they need to share the burden of budget repair.

“Mr McGowan has sought to retrospectively change the terms and conditions of senior public servants; he should be prepared to apply the same standards to his own remuneration.”

Unlike MPs elected since 2001, the Premier is a member of the now obsolete Parliamentary Pension Scheme which would see him receive either a multi-million dollar payout or an indexed annual pension in excess of $200,000 if he resigned today.

Shadow Treasurer Dean Nalder said the Premier also does not need to wait, like most people, until he is 65 to receive the generous endowments of the Parliamentary Pension Scheme.

“The Premier could resign tomorrow and receive these benefits,” Mr Nalder said.

“The State Government would also still have to pay this money to Mr McGowan even if he walked into a $1 million a year job in private enterprise.”

When the new superannuation scheme was introduced in 2000, Members elected at the 1996 election had the choice to switch to the new superannuation scheme, which matches the superannuation benefits of most other Australians.

“Mr McGowan was a member of the Parliament that made the new scheme compulsory for the colleagues sitting around him in Parliament, but he did not make the choice to switch to it himself,” Mr Nalder said.

“The many millions the State Government must now pay Mr McGowan have been accrued while most of his colleagues and average West Australians were on much less generous schemes. Now he’s asking Western Australian public servants, households and even his colleagues to tighten their belts, while his personal benefits accumulate.

“Then Premier Alan Carpenter, who was also elected in 1996, switched to the new scheme.”

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