The Australian Prime Minister has rejected calls for politicians to take a pay cut because parliament has been cancelled.
Scott Morrison decided to call off the first two weeks of parliament sitting in August, meaning MPs and Senators won’t have to be back in Canberra until August 24.
The decision caused a bit of an uproar, with some critics saying politicians should still have to conduct regular parliamentary sitting days, albeit just over online conference calling.
One South Australian Senator even suggested politicians should have $1,000 deducted from their pay for every day they don’t sit.
Rex Patrick released a statement, saying: “Parliamentary sitting days should be rescheduled, not cancelled. If we’re not sitting, we can’t carrying out critical Government oversight activities or deal with legislation. Dock MPs’ and Senators’ $1000 for every sitting day that is cancelled!”
While there have been plenty of outcries from people for politicians to resume their regular duties over Zoom or Teams, it seems like Scott Morrison will be sticking with his plan.
He’s also not even remotely considering taking a pay cut.
The Prime Minister told 2GB Radio: “If [Rex isn’t] working while the parliament’s not sitting that’s a matter for him. I can tell you my government members are working as hard outside of the parliament and I can certainly assure you that I am.
“I think that sort of stuff is just political clickbait. It doesn’t help anybody, it doesn’t get us anywhere.”
The Prime Minister has faced several calls during his term to reduce his pay but each time he has rejected it, saying he and other politicians are working harder than people probably know.
Scott Morrison made the decision to cancel those two weeks of parliament based on the health advice from the acting Chief Medical Officer.
Paul Kelly said that there was a significant health risk for politicians and their staffers all flying into the one place and hanging around one another every day.
He said: “There is a large number of people from all over Australia converging in one place for an intense period and then going back to their normal places. That would be deemed a mass gathering and we would feel that there is a high risk.”