Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 1 May 1991 Mr Manzie interjecting. Mr EDE: I would have thought that you might be in a minority of 1 on that side of the House. It has been put to me that we should find a relativity with a public service level, be it El, E3 or whatever. For a time, it looked as if, with regard to the federal salaries, a nexus along those lines was developing. A very good argument against it was put to me by somebody I respected who said that, 1f the salaries of politicians were aligned with those of the government's most senior public servants, the potential for them to get into bed together and decide that they will look after each other is quite enormous. Another suggestion was put to me today, which was that it should be calculated as a multiple of the salary of the lowest paid member of the public service. In that case, if politicians wanted to increase their own salaries, the salaries of the entire public service would increase. Of course, the flow-on effects of that throughout the public and private sectors would be such that I doubt whether any salary increases would be initiated by politicians. Whether that would help with comparative wage justice is also a difficult question. Initially, we supported the idea of politicians' salaries being determined by the Renumeration Tribunal of the Northern Territory on the basis that that would move the matter out of the public domain, and there would be an umpire who would be able to make the necessary decisions. Very obviously, that system broke down very quickly when the report before this one came down and we moved that the proposed new salaries not be accepted. That followed from a precedent set when a salary increase was recommended during the time when Mr Tuxworth was the Chief Minister. He proposed an increase which not only members of the opposition but government members also found bizarre. Some members realised that it was bizarre earlier than others. Certainly, the idea of the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory being paid more than the Prime Minister of Australia struck a chord right around the country and was instrumental in bringing us all into considerable di srepute. It is a fact that, every time salary increases are discussed, people still assume that we are paid at that level or above. On the last occasion, we rejected the decision of the first umpire, the Remuneration Tribunal, and asked that it be put to a second umpire. We put our case - myself on behalf of the opposition and the member for Nightcliff, on behalf of the government. By that stage, we were proposing an 85% nexus with the federal politicians, and government members were proposing a nexus drawn at $3000 below the federal politicians. That move was motivated by this everlasting desire to try to find somebody independent of ourselves who would make that determination. We decided that the federal pollies could bear the brunt and we would simply tag along behind. The decision of the Industrial Relations Commissioner was that the CLP application would prevail. I was very surprised when I saw 1t. I thought that the 85% had far more going for it in terms of justice and that it maintained a relativity whereas $3000 is eroded over a period of time. Yesterday, a further report came down from the original umpire in which he placed that on the record. It would be quite easy for members of the opposition to score a good few short-term brownie points by saying that we will reject this again. I do not know what we would seek to do then - whether we would look for a third, 881

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