Automatic Pay Rises for State MPs

There was recently a story on Adelaide Now titled “State MPs chasing $40,000 pay rise”. The headline is a little misleading, but clearly did the job in attracting lots of outraged commenters. The gist of it, and the full story below is quite accurate though. The misleading part is “chasing” since the whole point is that they don’t actually have to anything! The pay of SA MPs is indexed to that of federal backbenchers, so there is no need for SA politicians do the ever unpopular “voting themselves a payrise”, they just get it without doing anything. This has been the case for some time, but there’s an extra ingredient now. There’s a plan at the federal level (which is not necessarily certain to be implemented at this stage) to incorporate various allowances directly into the pay for MPs. This means they get a one off, large pay increase, but traded off against the loss of various perks. The problem is that the result for SA would be the big increase but with no corresponding trade off (and none really possible since State MPs don’t have comparable allowances). Now to be fair to the parliament, this has not happened at the federal level, so they may well have decided to do something about this, or they may have kept quiet and taken the pay rise – we don’t know – but I am glad that the local press is onto it. What is disappointing (but not so surprising for the Murdoch press) is that  while they talk about “independents” being against it, and quote Bob Such in particular, they completely fail to acknowledge that Greens MLC Mark Parnell has been trying to do away with the automatic pay rises for years, but his bills have never been supported by the major parties. You can see the bills, and various press on the issue at his website here. The last time it came up, about a year ago, it was reported on the ABC.