Why politician wages still aren’t officially frozen
THE wages of Queensland politicians have not been officially frozen yet after hundreds of thousands of public servants copped a pay rise deferral from July 1.
The Remuneration Tribunal told The Courier-Mail it had 90 days from when the Core Agreement, which largely covers administrative officers, was certified on June 9 to make a decision.
It comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk referred the matter to the Tribunal in April, with the Government repeatedly insisting public servants would have their wages frozen from July 1.
Greens MP Michael Berkman slammed the revelation claiming it took the Government "one day to rush legislation … but we're still waiting to find out whether politicians will take a pay cut too."
"They've already given the pokies industry a tax break and mining companies a royalties freeze - this Government has clearly decided it's ordinary working families who should foot the bill for Queensland's economic recovery, not big corporations or politicians," he said.
"That's where I disagree: I think we should be cutting pollies' wages and taxing big banking and mining corporations, so we can properly fund public services and infrastructure like healthcare, education and housing."
There was significant backlash from unions after Ms Palaszczuk made the shock freeze announcement for public servants on breakfast TV in early April.
She later referred a request to freeze politician wages to the Tribunal.
The Government officially legislated the freeze for public servants last month, effectively making it a deferral which came into effect from July 1.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the tribunal was an independent body and its decisions were made separate from government.
"The Premier wrote to the Tribunal in April seeking a wage freeze for all politicians, without deferral, and that remains the government's position," she said.
"Until the Tribunal makes its decision, the pay rates of politicians remain frozen."
Tribunal Chair Walter Tutt said under the Act, the Tribunal had a clear statutory responsibility to act independently in its review of parliamentary members' remuneration.
"The Tribunal's current review will be undertaken, and a determination made, in accordance with our obligations under the Act," he said.
Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford said, "We would expect the decision should impose the same wage arrangements on the politicians as have been imposed on public sector workers."
Originally published as Why politician wages still aren't officially frozen