While the majority of Australia’s pensioners struggle to make ends meet, a small group of retired politicians are heading to the hight court to try to squeeze even more money out of taxpayers for their own benefit.
Four former federal MPs – Labor’s Barry Cunningham, Tony Lamb and Barry Cohen, and Liberal John Moore – are arguing that they deserve more than the $80,000 to $118,000 a year they already receive as part of their pension entitlements.
The federal government is working to have the case thrown out, but it looks like the four pollies could win the case and add millions of dollars to the $40 million pension bill taxpayers already fork out for every year.
Mr Cunningham, Mr Lamb, Mr Cohen and Mr Moore already receive up to $118,000 a year, plus 10 free business-class return flights and a bevy of other benefits.
However, they say their allowance should be based on the current salary of backbench MPs, which is around $199,000 a year.
As it stands, their allowances are based on the old salary of $154,000 a year.
If they win their case, 350 former politicians and 100 spouses could jump on board the verdict and claim the same amount for themselves.
After the July 2 election, there will be another 20 politicians benefiting from the scheme, including Bronwyn Bishop who is expected to receive a whopping $255,000 every year for the rest of her life.
The topic of politicians’ entitlements and the pension scheme has been in the spotlight recently with people calling for many of the benefits to be scrapped.
It was revealed earlier this year that a number of pollies had been using their travel allowance to pay off their mortgages on their houses in Canberra – which they are legally allowed to do under the scheme – while most Australians are struggling to even get into the housing market.
More than 177,000 Australians have signed an online petition calling for the pension plan and benefits to be scrapped altogether, with many people furious that Mr Cunningham, Mr Lamb, Mr Cohen and Mr Moore are trying to get even more money into their pockets.