Union blasts $57,000 pay rise for Queensland MPs
LEGAL advice given to the Queensland Government allowing members to score a $57,000 pay rise has been deemed a stunt by the Electrical Trades Union.
The ETU said MPs would win a 25% pay rise as "frontline workers" were languishing on an increase of just 1.8%.
ETU state secretary Peter Simpson said there was no reason for the government to step in.
He described the government as acting as a "reverse Robin Hood", by taking from workers while paying more to politicians.
"We call on the government, if they have any shred of decency to change the law and accept the 1.8% pay increase in line with the generous offer they have presented to public service workers," Mr Simpson said.
"Anything less will be viewed as them keeping their snouts in the trough at the expense of frontline workers."
MPs will get a $57,000 pay rise after the State Government found a move to freeze MP wage increases in 2009 was "unlawful".
Under the Queensland Parliament Act, MPs are entitled to receive a base annual salary of $500 less than Commonwealth House of Representative members.
However, former Premier Anna Bligh in 2009 put a freeze on parliamentarian pay increases despite salary levels usually being determined by the independent Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal.
Following media reports, the Queensland Government this year asked Crown Law to look into the move.
Acting Premier Jeff Seeney revealed on Monday the Crown Law advice, which showed Ms Bligh's actions were outside the lawful actions of a Premier and MPs had been underpaid.
As a result, all sitting and former MPs since 2009 are entitled to back pay.
While the scale of the money owing is impossible to be calculated, Mr Seeney estimated it would be in the tens of millions.
From today, Queensland MPs will see their salary increase by $57,000 this financial year to a base salary of about $194,000.
Mr Seeney said electoral allowances had been halved, as had political party funding, to make the pay rises "cost-neutral" to the State Budget.
He said Cabinet decided it was "unacceptable" for taxpayers to fund the pay increase.
He appealed to former MPs not to pursue their back pay entitlement.
"I hope to prevail on the good graces of all MPs," he said.
Mr Seeney said he would name and shame any former MP who pursued the entitlement.
Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said she hoped former Labor MPs did not pursue back pay.
"I would hope they do not because it is not the right thing to do," she said.
"There are families out there hurting, families out there struggling."
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