I see that the proposed pay-hike for MPs has been shelved for the moment due to the economic turn-down making this move ‘inappropriate’ at this time. I mostly agree with this decision, and quite frankly I think Government would have faced a huge storm of protest if they had gone ahead with it, as was indicated by some comments from the general public and labour union representatives.
However, within the existing Westminster parliamentary system (I would be much more in favour of a bottom-up grassroots democracy based on neighbourhood delegates to Parish councils, and similarly to a national council, in tandem with workers councils), I actually do agree with some pay increases for the MPs. I would support the pay increases for the back-benchers completely, with their pay increasing from $50K a year to $65k. I think that that salary, essentially that of a skilled worker (I can’t find my BPSU and BIU payscales at the moment, sorry), is a justified salary for sitting as an elected Member of Parliament. I am also in complete agreement about the increases for the Senator’s wages, from the current $27k to $40k. I think those are appropriate wages for those positions, although I am still in favour of having an elected Senate.
As for the increases to Ministers, full-time or part-time, at most I could accept a cost-of-living increase. And I do think all Ministers should be full-time, I see part-time Ministers as having potential conflicts of interest and not being able to devote the amount of time and energy that running our country should involve. True, this makes their position more ‘precarious’ than present, but ultimately I think thats a good incentive for them to do a good job.
I still believe that we need to pass a living minimum wage law (I believe it has been mooted before several times but never enacted). And I would be in complete support of the highest paid government position being no more than five times the size of this living minimum wage. One might even suggest putting a cap on all salaries, with taxes being imposed on those that exceed such a level.
Anyway, just musings before I go off and cook some lunch.
If anyone is interested in reading the actual proposal of the pay-hike it has been posted over on the recently reactivated Progressive Minds site here.