Carlo's Corner: Sacking workers is a hard job and Newman deserves a break

'Oh come on! We work hard!'

All this outcry over Queensland Premier Campbell Newman's plan to award state politicians a 42% pay rise is a bit rough.

The rises would result in MPs getting an extra $57,000 a year, ministers an extra $90,000, and Newman's pay would rise by $117,000 to $398,000 a year.

It is easy to criticise, but they work extremely hard. After all, 14,000 public servants don't just sack themselves. And closing down or undermining crucial health and other public services is a big job.

These people have really put in the long hours to gut Queensland's public sector and destroy thousands of lives, so is it really surprising they felt perhaps they deserved a little reward? And it just so happens there is quite a lot of extra cash floating around, now that it is no longer inefficiently providing livelihoods for public-sector workers or being wasted on extravagant luxuries like breast cancer screening programs.

Plus, you want the most competent people running your state — the very best at their job. You have to remember, you are competing with the corporate sector. If we don't pay politicians enough to sack workers, then some corporation will snap them up and pay them more to sack their workers. Probably ANZ.

And anyway, Newman apologised. Not for the pay rise, but for the way it was “handled”. I am not sure how you could better handle announcing a huge pay rise after sacking thousands of workers, but presumably Newman thinks the first error was not changing the law to keep it secret.

But the premier listened to public concerns and as a result announced an “independent renumeration tribunal” to determine politicians' salaries. He then proceeded to announce who he was appointing to the independent tribunal — a tribunal so independent it's appointed by the man whose salary it is meant to be independently assessing.

If only we could do that — tell our boss that, from now on, our pay will be determined by an independent renumeration commission headed by Dave, our next-door neighbour and tennis partner. “Oh, it looks like Dave thinks I deserve a 42% pay rise! Well, you can't argue with the umpire’s decision. Also, he says I am now on paid leave til Christmas.”