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Finance Minister Mathias Cormann insists federal MPs won’t be getting a pay cut despite coronavirus

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has insisted Australia’s 227 federal MPs won’t be taking a pay cut as millions of Australians lost their jobs.

Members of Parliament already receive a base salary of $211,250, before travel and electorate entitlements are factored in.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is paid $549,250 while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg gets $396,094 to deal with coronavirus – the worst health and economic crisis to hit the world in 100 years.

 

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann (pictured with wife Hayley) has insisted Australia’s 227 federal MPs won’t be taking a pay cut as millions of Australians lose their jobs. Members of Parliament already receive a base salary of $211,250, before travel and electorate entitlements are factored in. He is paid $396,094 a year

Private sector workers across Australia are being stood down as pubs, clubs, dine-in restaurants, gyms and cinemas are closed down in a bid to tackle the spread of COVID-19. 

Others who have kept their jobs are being asked to take a pay cut as economists worry about unemployment surging to levels unheard of in Australia since the 1930s Great Depression.

Despite that Senator Cormann, who earns $396,094 a year as a Liberal cabinet minister and Leader of the Government in the Senate, insisted federal MPs would not be asked to accept a wage reduction.

‘Right now politicians are probably working harder than they ever have,’ he told ABC Radio today.

‘This is the most intense period in my working life that I am going through, and I think it’s the same for most if not all of my colleagues.’

Senator Cormann has asked the Remuneration Tribunal, which sets the salaries of MPs and judges, to instead freeze the salaries of federal politicians. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) is paid $549,250 while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (right) gets $396,094 dealing with coronavirus - the worst health and economic crisis to hit the world in 100 years

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) is paid $549,250 while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (right) gets $396,094 dealing with coronavirus – the worst health and economic crisis to hit the world in 100 years

In March 2019, the 49-year-old Belgian-born cabinet minister suggested sluggish wages growth was a good thing, even though Australian pay levels had been subdued for more than five years.

What politicians are paid

Prime Minister Scott Morrison gets $549,250

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is on $433,063

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is paid $396,094

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who is also Leader of the Government in the Senate, gets $396,094

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is on $390,813

Backbenchers earn $211,250

‘The whole point – it is important to ensure that wages can adjust in the context of economic conditions – is to avoid massive spikes in unemployment, which are incredibly disruptive,’ Senator Cormann told Sky News.

‘This is a deliberate feature of our economic architecture.’

In his first term as Finance Minister in 2014, Senator Cormann was filmed smoking a cigar with the then embattled treasurer Joe Hockey as former prime minister Tony Abbott’s government delivered an unpopular budget. 

The federal parliament met on Wednesday to pass the $130billion JobKeeper program to provide $1,500 fortnightly wage subsidy payments to six million Australians workers. 

Private sector workers across Australia (Melbourne Centrelink queue pictured) are being stood down as pubs, clubs, dine-in restaurants, gyms and cinemas are closed down in a bid to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Others who have kept their jobs are being asked to take a pay cut as economists worry about unemployment surging to levels unheard of in Australia since the 1930s Great Depression

Private sector workers across Australia (Melbourne Centrelink queue pictured) are being stood down as pubs, clubs, dine-in restaurants, gyms and cinemas are closed down in a bid to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Others who have kept their jobs are being asked to take a pay cut as economists worry about unemployment surging to levels unheard of in Australia since the 1930s Great Depression

Despite that Senator Cormann, who earns $396,094 a year as a Liberal cabinet minister and Leader of the Government in the Senate, insisted federal MPs would not be asked to accept a wage reduction. The Finance Minister is pictured with his wife Hayley

Despite that Senator Cormann, who earns $396,094 a year as a Liberal cabinet minister and Leader of the Government in the Senate, insisted federal MPs would not be asked to accept a wage reduction. The Finance Minister is pictured with his wife Hayley

Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson feared one million workers lost their jobs in late March as a result of the coronavirus shutdowns.

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,010

New South Wales: 2,734

Victoria: 1,212

Queensland: 943

Western Australia: 481

South Australia: 415

Australian Capital Territory: 99

Tasmania: 98

Northern Territory: 28

TOTAL CASES:  6,010

RECOVERED: 2,597 

DEAD: 50

Without the government’s third stimulus package, he feared unemployment would more than double from 5.1 per cent in February to 12 per cent in March, which would be the highest jobless level since the Great Depression.

Westpac, Australia’s second biggest bank, is now expecting unemployment to peak at nine per cent as coronavirus caused Australia to sink into recesssion for the first time since 1991.

Its chief economist Bill Evans was forecasting a 17 per cent jobless rate before the JobKeeper package was unveiled. 

Australia’s jobless rate hit 11.2 per cent in December 1992, even though the recession had technically ended 18 months earlier.

Unemployment remained in the double digits until early 1994. 

It didn’t fall below six per cent until August 2003 – almost 14 years after first climbing above that level. 

In his first term as Finance Minister in 2014, Senator Cormann was filmed smoking a cigar with the then embattled treasurer Joe Hockey as Tony Abbott's government delivered an unpopular budget

In his first term as Finance Minister in 2014, Senator Cormann was filmed smoking a cigar with the then embattled treasurer Joe Hockey as Tony Abbott’s government delivered an unpopular budget

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