Xenophons appeal to end vicious cycle of doubledipping for politicians

first_imgAs Joe Hockey is expected to be appointed Australia’s ambassador to Washington DC, independent Senator Nick Xenophon has said that he should not claim the parliamentary pension in addition to his salary. “I just want to help Joe Hockey fulfil his dream of ending the age of entitlement by Joe Hockey setting an example for the rest of us,” he said on Sunday. Xenophon’s comment refers to a speech the former treasurer gave in London in 2012 calling for a smaller welfare state. Following his official resignation from parliament last week, Hockey is on track to land a key government post in Washington, reportedly earning a salary of $360,000 per year. As it stands today, under the guidelines established in 2010, he could simultaneously access up to 50 per cent of his parliamentary superannuation, a move that would translate to an additional $90,000 a year. Xenophon urged Hockey to reject the generous top-up to his income if he takes on the ambassador’s role, and warned that in case double-dipping occurred he would call for an overhaul of the current legislation in the Senate. “I will be putting up legislation in the Senate that will say if an ex-politician who’s getting a parliamentary pension is offered a diplomatic post, then they can’t get any of that pension during that time of the diplomatic post,” he told reporters in Adelaide. “This looks a lot like a double-dip by ex-politicians. It is beyond community standards. It is not reasonable,” he added. Earlier this year, as treasurer in the Abbott government, Hockey said that legally accessing both employer and government-paid parental leave schemes was “basically fraud”, although amid the backlash that followed he denied making the statement. An avid supporter of reducing government allowances, Hockey also reiterated in his farewell parliament speech the need to end the “age of entitlement”. This is not the first time Senator Xenophon has publicly brought up the issue of unfair political entitlements. Former SA premier Mike Rann, who was receiving both a parliamentary pension and a salary while serving as a high commissioner in Britain in 2014, had his earnings reduced after Xenophon pushed the federal government to take action. Senator Xenophon told reporters on Sunday he is planning to pay for his travel expenses for his imminent trip to the US to look at the automotive industry. “I can do things on the cheap … I know all the Greyhound bus schedules,” he said. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more