October 12, 2017

Opposition supports wage restraint for MPs

While the Liberal Opposition supports wage restraint for Members of Parliament, the Salaries and Allowances Budget Repair and Remediation Bill 2017 introduced into Parliament today has some concerning elements.

Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the Opposition would always have concerns about legislation that sought to remove powers from an independent statutory body such as the SAT.

“The experience of the former government is that the SAT is a co-operative body that reflects the wages policy of the Government of the day,” Dr Nahan said.

“At all times during the eight years of the Liberal Government, the SAT gave full consideration to the wages policy of the Government when making its determinations.”

Dr Nahan said removing the wage setting mechanism from the SAT was a dangerous path for the Government to take.

“As a mature democracy this parliament long ago realised that there needed to be an independent body to determine the wages of those in Government and those in the judiciary,” he said.

“It is not just a tradition but a basic tenant on which our democracy is built that Governments respect the independence of the judiciary.

“Currently this is safeguarded by legislation that ensures Governments of the day do not determine the wages and conditions of judges and magistrates.”

Dr Nahan said the Government’s claim that the legislation was urgent was little more than a stunt.

“There is no urgency on this, SAT has already frozen the wages of all people covered by this Bill until next year,” he said.

“This is the Government’s legislation and it had the numbers to carry it today in the Legislative Assembly.

“However, the Legislative Council will act as the house of review it is supposed to be may further interrogate the Bill before voting on it.”

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