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Daring and Discretion: Paying Australian Legislators

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Members of Australia's Commonwealth parliament have been paid since its creation in 1901. The 'parliamentary allowance' had been discussed during the protracted discussions leading to Federation and was established by the Constitution, but the administrative and legislative mechanisms that governed it were left to later generations of politicians to determine. As a result, successive Australian governments and parliaments have sought a way to remove parliamentarians' salaries from public scrutiny and thus deflect criticism. By 2005, they seemed to have succeeded by first moving responsibility to an independent tribunal and then by creating a statutory link between MPs' and senior public servants' pay. This success was, however, only partial as it relied on public criticism being deflected from the salary itself to other entitlements. Even the partial success is now threatened by major changes to Australia's industrial relations system.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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