Costo calls for ‘immediate’ pay cuts for politicians
WHITSUNDAY MP Jason Costigan has called for state politicians to take a pay cut in response to coronavirus, citing his own wage reduction last year as an example for others to follow.
But Mr Costigan's pay cut in February last year was not a voluntary move, as it came after he was expelled from the LNP and lost his position on a parliamentary committee.
In a media release yesterday, Mr Costigan said he had taken a $24,000 per annum pay cut in February last year and called for his colleagues to "do the same" and forgo their extra remuneration for parliamentary committee work.
However, the Whitsunday Times understands Mr Costigan's $24,000 pay cut came after he lost his seat on the LNP backbench and his position on the parliament's Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment Committee in the wake of allegations made against him.
The woman has since withdrawn her complaint.
Mr Costigan said the circumstances around his pay cut were "beyond his control" and "a separate issue" to his call for other politicians to forgo the extra remuneration, which comes from committee work.
He said the impacts of COVID-19 were being felt in all households and also called on higher-level MPs, such as the Premier and the Opposition Leader, to take a 25 per cent pay cut effective immediately.
Mr Costigan said he would not take a further cut to his wage but called for his colleagues to come back to the parliamentary base salary, which he now received given he no longer did committee work.
"Since February last year, I have provided more value for the taxpayer than ever before, so it's only fair and reasonable that my colleagues who sit on the backbench, whether they're in government, the opposition or on the crossbench, do the same, as COVID-19 hits home, impacting people from all walks of life," he said.
"MPs can still do their parliamentary committee work - it's just that they should do the right thing now and give up their pay for it."
A spokesman for the Liberal National Party said politicians' pay was regulated and took into consideration the current climate.
"Politicians' pay is determined by the independent remuneration tribunal that takes into (account) the prevailing economic conditions," he said.
Mr Costigan said he had to make an adjustment and now was the time for politicians to "take a look in the mirror" and consider his proposal before state parliament resumed on May 19 after a four-week recess.
"Everyone knows that COVID-19 has caused widespread job losses and for the vast majority of people, a significantly reduced income. Therefore, it's only fair that MPs across the board, state and federal for that matter, put their hands up and do something constructive, in keeping with community expectations," he said.
"The public is hurting and we should hurt with them. I realise everyone in parliament has commitments, no different to any other workplace but we must act as a group to show we're in touch with the people.
"If it was good enough for myself to take a pay cut last year, then it's good enough for everyone else to now fall into line."