Australia's politicians are about to get a 2% pay rise — and they can thank these 3 corporate high-flyers on the Remuneration Tribunal

(Photo by Liam Kidston/News Corp Australia via Getty Images)
  • Australia’s Remuneration Tribunal has announced it will set its 2019 general pay increase at 2%, with a start date of 1 July 2019. It will apply to federal Members of Parliament as well as judges and other holders of “key Commonwealth office”.
  • Backbench MPs and senators will see their salaries increase from $207,000 this year to $211,000 next year, according to the ABC. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s pay will reportedly increase by $11,000 to more than $549,000.
  • The tribunal is made up of business leaders John Conde, Ewen Crouch and Heather Zampatti. They are each serving five-year terms appointed by the Governor-General.

Australia’s federal politicians have only been back at work a few short weeks since the election but they’re already being rewarded.

The Remuneration Tribunal has announced a 2% “general increase” for Commonwealth office-holders including federal MPs and senators off the back of its annual review of entitlements.

The tribunal — which was established by the Whitlam government in 1973 — said it examined a number of economic factors in making its decision, including wage reviews of the Fair Work Commission and the government’s own budget outlook.

“The tribunal’s primary focus is to provide competitive and equitable remuneration that is appropriate to the responsibilities and experience required of the roles, and that is sufficient to attract and retain people of calibre,” it reiterated in its decision.

Those “people of calibre” sitting on the parliamentary backbenches will now have their pay increased from $207,000 this year to $211,000 next year, according to the ABC. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s pay will increase by $11,000 to more than $549,000, while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will now be on $433,000 and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will earn $390,000, the ABC analysis suggests.

A Remuneration Tribunal spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider Australia that while the tribunal consults with a number of public sector committees and office-holders, that the ultimate review and decision around politician pay rests with the three tribunal members appointed by the Governor-General.

Here’s what you need to know about them.

John Conde, president, Remuneration Tribunal

John Conde has sat on the Remuneration Tribunal since 1998 and was re-appointed to a five-year term as president in June 2018. Not shy to wade into thorny corners of the democratic process, he also serves as a ex officio member of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority.

In addition to his government roles, Conde is a prominent figure in the big business world, currently serving as chairman of Cooper Energy, deputy chairman of Whitehaven Coal and a director of property fund manager Dexus. He was formerly chairman of Ausgrid and a director of mining giant BHP Billiton.

He also has a string of charity and not-for-profit causes he gives his time to, including as chairman of the McGrath Foundation and a former chairman of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 05: Lucy Turnbull, Glenn McGrath, Madison McGrath, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, chairman of the McGrath Foundation, John Conde and Sara Leonardi pose during a McGrath Foundation lunch as part of Jane McGrath Day on day three of the Third Test match between Australia and Pakistan at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 5, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Heather Zampatti, member, Remuneration Tribunal

Heather Zampatti was appointed to her first five-year stint on the tribunal in March 2017. She is also chair of Lotterywest, the authority that runs lotteries in Western Australia and a former chair of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation in Perth.

Prior to being a corporate and charity sector high-flyer, Zampatti was a career stockbroker and investment adviser including as head of wealth management at brokerage Bell Potter. She is a former member of the Chief Executive Women and the Financial Sector Advisory Council organisations.

Ewen Crouch, member, Remuneration Tribunal

Ewen Crouch is in his fourth year of his five-year term on the Remuneration Tribunal. A lawyer by background, he sat on the board of blue chip firm Allens for more than a decade and served as its chairman of partners.

As well as sitting on the tribunal, he is a non-executive director of both Westpac and BlueScope Steel. He was named chairman of Corporate Travel Management after its chair Tony Bellas stepped down in March 2019.

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