Retirement is just super for departing MPs’ wallets Alexandra Smith STATE POLITICS January 8, 2011
PETER DEBNAM has sat quietly on the opposition benches since 2008 – so quietly that barely a peep has been heard from the former opposition leader since he quit the frontbench in protest over electricity privatisation. The Vaucluse MP, who will leave Parliament at the March 26 election with an annual pension of at least $100,000, has just five speeches recorded in Hansard past year, one of which was his farewell speech on December 3. On the opposite side of the chamber, the former assistant planning minister Diane Beamer has also been quietly preparing for her retirement from politics. Hansard has just six mentions of Ms Beamer last year. Ms Beamer, who has been a temporary speaker since 2007 and has served on a range of committees since she was elected to Parliament in 1995, will retire with an annual superannuation payment of at least $110,000. Hansard records MPs’ questions without notice, tabling of reports, urgent motions and debates as well as procedural statements such as messages from the Governor. Retiring MPs will leave Parliament with pensions ranging from a one-off payment of less than $35,000 to annual taxpayer-funded salaries of more than $150,000 for the longest-serving MP, John Aquilina. Mr Aquilina was first elected to parliament more than 29 years ago. Now leader of the house, he is one MP not going quietly, with 110 speeches this year. Last week the Parramatta MP, Tanya Gadiel, became the 19th Labor MP to bow out of politics. Ms Gadiel will not start receiving her pension of at least $70,000 until she is 55. She is now 38. MPs elected before 2007, who have served a minimum of seven years, are entitled to a pension of 48.8 per cent of their base parliamentary salary of $130,540. The pension rises 0.2 per cent for every month served beyond their seven years to a maximum 80 per cent of their salary. Their pensions do not kick in until they are 55, while MPs elected after 2007 are on a standard superannuation scheme similar to that of public servants. The only member to quit after one term is the high-profile Blue Mountains MP Phil Koperberg, who will leave with a one-off payment of about $34,000 because of the changes to the super scheme.