Now there's even more incentive for election candidates who make it into Parliament – MPs have just been awarded a $7000 pay rise.
The Remuneration Authority, the independent body that sets politicians' pay, has given MPs an across-the-board salary increase of 1.5 per cent and a $5000 payment to compensate for their axed international travel perk.
Backbenchers will now be paid a base salary of $141,800, up from $134,800. The next prime minister's salary will rise from $400,500 to $411,510. The increases are backdated to July 1 this year.
The $7000 rise in backbencher pay would take a fulltime worker on the minimum wage three months to earn.
A 90 per cent international travel subsidy for MPs and their spouses was scrapped in January, after several MPs – including Sir Roger Douglas, Rodney Hide and Chris Carter – were accused of abusing it.
The $5000 payout was to make up for that loss, authority chairman John Errington wrote in a memo accompanying the changes. "If the value of the personal benefit of those entitlements significantly decreases, there should be a compensating adjustment to salaries."
The 1.5 per cent general increase was less than inflation and wage increases across the country. "In recent years, members' remuneration packages have not kept pace with increases in the cost of living, nor with general wage movements."
The authority also bumped up MPs' tax-free allowances, which pay for meals, gifts and other expenses, from $15,300 to $16,100. The changes come just a month after the State Services Commission revealed nearly 1000 public service jobs were slashed in the year to June 30.
HOW THEY'RE PAID
PRIME MINISTER New salary (backdated to July 1): $411,510. Was: $400,500.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER New salary: $291,800. Was: $282,500.
CABINET MINISTER New salary: $257,800. Was: $249,100.
MINISTER OUTSIDE CABINET New salary: $217,200. Was: $209,100.
SPEAKER AND OPPOSITION LEADER New salary: $257,800. Was: $249,100.
BACKBENCHERS New salary: $141,800. Was: $134,800.
- Fairfax Media