MPs thought "everyone would forget" about passive pay rise
SUNSHINE Coast MP Peter Wellington says the State Government agreed to massive pay rises for MPs because "they thought they could get away with it".
The Member for Nicklin savaged the LNP yesterday for its handling of the pollies pay affair, accusing the government of being caught red-handed and playing dumb.
The government initially claimed its hands were tied and the pay hike was a result of legislation ushered through by former premier Anna Bligh.
However Mr Wellington accused the government of having had full knowledge of the increases since April last year.
"My view is they thought they could get away with it," he said.
"The same with the mass sackings (in the public service), they thought they could ride it out and hope everyone forgets about it.
"I've no doubt that was their motive and it was intentional.
"This must have been discussed in cabinet meetings. There is no way they weren't aware of the implications."
The government performed a backflip when the full extent of the MPs' pay rise was exposed.
Acting Premier Jeff Seeney said he had "no idea" of the exact details of the pay rises before agreeing to the move and flagged changes when parliament resumes next month.
Mr Wellington confirmed he had received a 41% increase in his fortnightly pay on Tuesday.
However, he had sequestered the extra funds.
He called on the government to use its majority to amend the Parliament of Queensland Act.
He said the extra money would remain in his account until the matter was finalised and should it be decided the money was rightfully his, he would give it to the community.
"I won't say which groups because I'm not about to go grandstanding on the issue,'' Mr Wellington said.
"But I know of some community groups which are worthy of spending the money on.
"It will be interesting what happens in August."
The LNP had initially claimed the increase would be $57,000.
However, the government did not take into account the flow-on to allowances.
As a result Premier Campbell Newman's annual salary jumped to $398,271 - up from $280,648 - while his ministers will take home $315,080, a $93,054 increase.
On top of salaries, each MP also receives an electoral allowance as well as a host of other entitlements.