Posted: 12 October, 2016
The High Court Denies Politicians' Bid For Even Bigger Pensions
A bid by four retired federal politicians for even bigger retirement pensions and more free travel has been denied.
The High Court denied an application from former Labor MPs Barry Cunningham, Tony Lamb and Barry Cohen and former Liberal MP John Moore for an increase to the taxpayer funded entitlements they already receive.
The former MPs were fighting against recent changes in the law that slowed the growth of their retirement allowances, and used section 51 of the constitution to argue their case that the changes were an unlawful acquisition of their property by the Commonwealth. This was the same argument used by the Kerrigan family in The Castle when airport developers attempted to acquire their home.
The majority of MPs who entered Parliament before 2004 receive large pensions under a defined benefits scheme. They receive around $120,000 a year, even if they did not contribute much to their fund. Those that occupy senior positions receive even more.
The four former MPs reportedly collect between $80,000 and $120,000 each year, but they believed that this should be recalculated based on the full salary of current backbench MPs.
They also wanted the Life Gold Pass to be re-established, which would entitle them to take an unlimited number of domestic flights. A 2012 change limited this to only 10 return flights each year.
The High Court dismissed the case, with Mr Lamb singled out for only contributing $35,297 to his super account during his nine years in Parliament.
Politicians elected after 2004 are not entitled to this pension scheme.