Federal MPs and senior public servants will cop a pay freeze for a year, a move the Abbott government says will prove everyone is doing their bit to help the budget.
The Labor opposition has no qualms supporting the government’s proposal, but says it won’t make everyday Australians feel any better.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has confirmed Prime Minister Tony Abbott had written to the Independent Remuneration Tribunal to freeze the salaries of federal politicians and senior public servants for a year in the budget.
“We’ve got to send a very clear message to the electorate that whatever we are asking the electorate to contribute to the budget repair task, we are going to contribute ourselves as well,” Mr Hockey said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he was “up for a politicians’ pay freeze”, but had reservations about other measures expected in Tuesday’s budget.
“But I tell you one thing Labor won’t be supporting. We see no point in a petrol tax, a GP tax, a hospital tax,” he told reporters.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Mr Abbott’s pay freeze would not appease voter anger.
“If he thinks that freezing his salary is going to make Australians feel better about pension cuts, tax rises and other changes, I think he’s kidding himself,” he told the ABC.
Liberal frontbencher Scott Morrison said the move would have the support of Mr Abbott’s coalition colleagues.
It could cost the prime minister, who earns an annual salary of $500,000, an estimated $10,000 while the average backbencher would miss out on an estimated $3900, based on having to forego a 2.4 per cent pay increase, according to reports.