Fat pay rise keeps pollies in pockets of the rich

December 2, 2011

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s imminent $90,000 pay rise is more than twice the estimated median wage of all Australian full-time or part-time employees, aged 15 years or over. More than half of all Australian workers have a yearly pay packet smaller than the PM’s expected pay rise.

The $40,000 pay rise expected for backbenchers will also be more than the total wage of many Australian workers.

Meanwhile, nurses, teachers, Qantas baggage handlers and other workers are battling to win pay rises that keep up with the cost of living.

Gillard’s new pay of $470,000 a year will be more than that of US President Barack Obama ($400,000) and British PM David Cameron ($221,000).

A common excuse for lavish pay rises for politicians is “you get what you pay for”. It is the same excuse corporate CEOs use to justify their stupendous pay.

And the greedy pollies are always quick to point out that their pay lags way behind that of the CEO’s of the biggest 100 Australian companies.

The PM will get about 10 times the median income of all workers while top CEO’s pay packets are, on average, 45 times higher.

But the comparison between CEO pay and politician’s pay makes sense if you look at it from the point of view of the capitalist class, who count on the CEOs and the big party politicians to serve their narrow interests. For them, big politician pay rises are simply about buying loyalty to the corporate rich.

We are told we live in a democracy and that the politicians are our elected representatives. But that’s not true.

The capitalists fund the election campaigns of the major parties, use the mass media they own to “help” us make a choice at the ballot box and then bribe the so-called representatives to serve their interest.

Real democracy is yet to be won in Australia, but Green Left Weekly is one institution strongly committed to that objective. But we’re a people-powered organisation and we need your help to keep going.

If Gillard’s $90,000 pay rise was diverted to the Green Left Fighting Fund it would take us comfortably over our $250,000 target. But that isn’t going to happen is it? So it is up to you, our readers and supporters, to get us there.

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