No longer the perk of yesteryear
Sydney Morning Herald
Monday March 28, 2011
DEPARTING MPs pocketing outsized pensions may dominate the headlines but, because of rule changes, the pension benefits for many of them are not much different to ordinary wage earners and will not be accessible until they turn 55.As many as 43 MPs are leaving Parliament, 31 per cent of the total. They have either not stood for re-election or lost their seats; the fate of another six MPs is yet to be decided. As a result, millions of dollars in pension benefits are likely to become payable.Of the MPs who departed at the weekend, David Campbell, Joe Tripodi, John Aquilina and Grant McBride are due to receive the most generous payouts, reflecting their long terms as MPs, with their pensions boosted by their high salaries as former ministers.After 30 years in Parliament Mr Aquilina is estimated to be entitled to an annual pension of $130,000, well ahead of the likely $110,000 for Mr McBride and about $100,000 for Mr Tripodi.Others, such as Ninos Khoshaba and Lylea McMahon who served for a single term, end up with no pension entitlement beyond their own contribution, plus accrued interest.As well, MPs now have to wait until they are 55 before they can receive their pension as a result of changes made in 1999. This also affects big pension recipients who quit during the last term, such as Michael Costa, John Della Bosca and Reba Meagher.And further changes introduced in 2007 reduce the worth of the pension received to that of most wage earners with scheme contributions totalling 12 per cent of annual salary.