Decision made on whether retired politicians will get a bigger slice of the pie 15



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Do you remember the story about those retired Australian politicians claiming they needed more money and free travel? Well the High Court has released its decision on their claim.

Four former MPs — Labor’s Barry Cunningham, Tony Lamb and Barry Cohen, and Liberal John Moore — have had their bid to score even bigger retirement pensions and more free travel from taxpayers dismissed by the High Court.

The men used section 51 of the Australian Constitution, which you might recall was made famous by the Aussie comedy The Castle, to challenge the change to the law that they say slowed the growth of their retirement allowances and restricted the trips they could take on the Life Gold Pass.

If they had been successful it would have resulted in benefit for approximately 350 former MPs, including the recently retired Bronwyn Bishop, and at least 100 spouses.

The High Court’s decision has saved you roughly $40 million in the pension bill.

In handing down its decision the High Court says the changes to the retirement allowance is lawful and “did not constitute an acquisition of property” (as was claimed by the men). It says the entitlements are “inherently liable to variation”.

Of course, politicians still walk away from their time in government on a pretty good wicket. The four men in this case collect somewhere between $80,000 and $120,000 each year as part of their taxpayer-funded pension. It’s worth noting this doesn’t include bonuses, which are said to be ‘generous’, if they had served as a minister or on a parliamentary committee.

By comparison, if you are a single person on the Australian Government’s Age Pension, you’re looking at around $23,000 a year, or roughly $34,500 if you are a couple. You also won’t get travel as part of your pension.

What do you think about the pension former politician’s receive once they leave government? Are you relieved by the High Court’s decision?

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The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Why do these retired politicians deserve a lifetime gold card after they have left Parliament. They are no longer working for Australia so therefore they should pay for their own travel not us! This is beyond greedy, this is daylight robbery of the tax payers and this Country.

  2. Thank goodness. As the PM has said ” pensioners need to live within their means” that mean everyone. These greedy people should have prepared for their retirement the same as everyone else. Let them pay for their own travel or stay at home. They are no longer in office. A

  3. Thank goodness. As the PM has said ” pensioners need to live within their means” that mean everyone. These greedy people should have prepared for their retirement the same as everyone else. Let them pay for their own travel or stay at home. They are no longer in office. A

  4. We need to start clawing this back now and stop them from writing their own ticket… we are the employers and should have the final say…

  5. This only confirms what most of us think, politicians are only interested in feathering their own nests.

  6. My blood boils when i read these things!!!..none of them earn their wages let alone get pensions and free travel..none of them do the job because they want to help their communities, they enter it because of the wages and perks…its just a cushy job….what about other goverment workers who earn and deserve more, like, nurses, teachers, firemen etc, now the desrve golden handshakes like greedy pollies!!! ….thank goodness the court told them where to go!!!!

  7. Totally agree with the court ruling. I am a pensioner and would like to have half the money to retire on that politicians get, wish I could vote myself a raise like they do. They are greedy and a disgrace, do they ever think that a lot of people are worse of then they Are? Of course not they are so self indulgent , they think only about themselves. It’s a pity they don’t have to exist on the pension , then they might have something to complain about.

  8. I think that there should be a single superannuation scheme to which ALL Australians contribute; that is, that there be no superannuation specifically for parliamentarians. I am totally opposed to parliament making any laws that apply only to a select few.. that is clearly discriminatory. Simply put, they and their ’employer, should contribute as for every other Australian, and they wait until they reach retiring age before drawing on their superannuation…. just like the ‘real’ folks (and no free travel at all after leaving parliament)

  9. If i was unskilled person working in a factory and retired after ten years i woul be lucky to have enough money to retire ,yet these unskilled parasites seem to think they are entitled ,i thought the age of entitlements was over and you have make your own way without the government handing you money . The young pele of australia are expected to retire self funded through superannuation .do these parasites have there own super and if so why isnt their government pension means tested.

  10. Ditto to all the above comments. We will lose our part pensions in January which we have worked hard all our lives for. We did not take holidays, did our own painting of our house, repairs where possible, bought second hand cars in order to enjoy our retirement and now they have lowered the bar once again. Shame.

    1 REPLY
    • Hi Rosane, we did exactly the same thing and saved for our retirement and ask nothing of the Government in pensions, we lived within our means and didn’t splurge on expensive holidays and cars and yet they penalise you in every way they can. We should be giving Gold Passes to the people who have served this country all their lives as Nurses and Doctors, not these people who have everything laid on for them and some do it for a few years and then go on to greater paid jobs but still reap the benefits. not on, I would vote for the person who stood up and said NO MORE FRINGE BENEFITS for members of parliament !!!

  11. they should be paid the same pension as our aussie pensioners and pay there own travel and like us aged pensioners you wont be traveling much because you cannot afford to we are all the older aussies out of parliament aussies we should all get the same

  12. When you are working & you feel you deserve pay increases or freebies you go to your employer.I have never been asked has anybody else & if I had the answer would be on your bike

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