I get a lot of stuff in the email, and this example arrived, for the second time, the other day. I provide it in full, without the photo of Parliament House in Canberra. My interpolations are in square brackets, and I’ve shortened the text a little, too.
The politicians themselves, in Canberra, brought it up, that the Age of Entitlements is over: [So] The author is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.
At least 20 if you can. In three days, most people in Australia will have this message. This is one idea that really should be passed around because the rot has to stop somewhere.
[The following are] Proposals to make politicians shoulder their share of the weight now that the Age of Entitlement is over.
1. Scrap political pensions. Politicians can purchase their own retirement plan, just as most other working Australians are expected to do.
2. Retired politicians (past, present & future) participate in Centrelink. A politician collects a substantial salary while in office but should receive no salary when … out of office. Terminated politicians under 70 can go get a job, or apply for Centrelink unemployment benefits like ordinary Australians.
3. Funds already allocated to the Politicians’ retirement fund be returned immediately to Consolidated Revenue.
This money is to be used to pay down debt they created which they expect us and our grandchildren to repay for them.
4. Politicians will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Politicians pay will rise by the lower of, either the CPI or 3 per cent [per annum].
5. Politicians lose their privileged health care system and participate in the same health care system as ordinary Australian people. Politicians either pay for private cover from their own funds or accept ordinary Medicare.
6. Politicians must equally abide by all laws they impose on the Australian people.
7. All contracts with past and present Politicians men/women are void effective 31/12/14.
The Australian people did not agree to provide perks to politicians, that burden was thrust upon them.
Politicians devised all these contracts to benefit themselves. Serving in Parliament is an honour not a career. The Founding Fathers envisaged citizen legislators, so our politicians should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three or so days for most Australians to receive the message. Don’t you think it’s time?
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX Parliament and help bring fairness back into this country! If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.
This is angry stuff, and perhaps there are many who agree. My problem is that much of it is simply wrong, and really misguided. My comments on the text follow, using the numbers above.
1. You can read about parliamentary pensions at
The essence is that anyone elected from 2004 onwards nominates a super scheme, into which both the MP/Senator and the Government contribute, the latter as a quasi employer. Prior to 2004, MPs and Senators received as pension if their service terminated after three terms (effectively nine years for an MP or 18 for a Senator). That pension recognised the problems of a gap in one’s earlier career of nine years, let alone of 18.
2. This is an extension of the first point. MPs or Senators who were elected ten years ago, and are not returned, have to find employment like everybody else.
3. There is no such ‘Retirement Fund’, since both the old and the new parliamentary superannuation schemes are ‘unfunded’ — that is, their costs are covered by annual appropriation.
4. You can read about parliamentary salaries at:
Since 2011, parliamentary salaries have been set by the Remuneration Tribunal, a regulatory body which determines salaries for a wide range of office-holders. Parliament cannot alter the Tribunal’s determinations.
5. I am unaware of any special health benefit system for MPs and Senators. In this respect, as far as I know, they have the same status as the rest of us. I can’t find any reference to such a benefit in the obvious places, such as the Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990, which set outs the entitlements.
6. Other than ‘parliamentary privilege’ (freedom from actions arising from anything said in the chamber of Parliament) politicians have no special dispensation from Australian laws of any kind. Ask Mr Slipper.
7. The proposed change requires retrospective legislation, which I would oppose at once. Retrospective criminal laws are illegal in Australia (we are party to human rights conventions which rule them out), and the High Court has recently quashed a Commonwealth law about benefits that sought to go back to 2000 from 2011, though the reasoning here did not touch on retrospectivity. In any case, introducing a law that makes something illegal that was not wrong or illegal when the act was done, is in my view very bad in principle, however much you might like to see it happen to a particular person.
I’ve spent some time on this matter because our first duty, surely, when we feel that something is wrong, is to make sure that we really understand the matter. The person who sent out this email did not do so, because so much of it simply isn’t the case, and it doesn’t take long to find out the truth.
As for stopping the rot, surely the rot starts with us. If we think that our politicians are crooks, or feather-bedders, we should support a man or woman whom we think well of, and would not act in this way. If that’s too hard — because for us it is party first —then we need to do some work inside the party.
This kind of missive seems like a real cop-out to me, and so much of what passes for discussion and debate in Australa has elements like it.