More pressing issues than $50k pay rise on MPs' minds

IPSWICH MPs have not batted an eyelid over a potential $50,000 pay rise coming their way.

According to state legislation, Queensland MPs' salaries must be only $500 less than their federal political counterparts.

Since former Labor Premier Anna Bligh introduced a pay freeze during the global financial crisis, federal MPs salaries increased to $190,550.

Queensland MPs' salaries rose to $137,149 in 2011, well short of the legislated difference.

A spokesman for Treasurer Tim Nicholls said a decision on the pay issue would not be made during Budget considerations.

"The Government is aware of the issue and will consider ways to address the problem such as removing the link between federal and state MPs' pay.

"However, the matter is not a priority at this time."

The prospect of earning an extra $50,000 barely raised a reaction from any of the three local MPs.

Ipswich West MP Sean Choat said dealing with the day-to-day issues of his constituents was more important.

"I haven't really been following the story as I saw it as speculative and to be honest, I have more pressing issues here in the electorate," he said.

"I'm not so concerned with the pay rise and the possible legislative breach.

"It's not a priority for the Government and no one has even raised it with me as yet, so I'm not even sure it's up for discussion."

Ipswich MP Ian Berry said politicians' pay was not something that was a priority for the Government.

"The Budget will be handed down this week and I'm focused on getting on with the job of continuing to deliver for the people of Ipswich," he said.

"I stood for parliament because the Ipswich community needed a strong representative and people weren't getting that from Labor who have taken Ipswich for granted for far too long," Mr Berry said.

Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller said the former government linked MPs to public sector pay rises.

"Any change to that system is a matter for the current Government to determine," she said.

 

NO EASY RIDE: LNP Member for Ipswich West Sean Choat.
NO EASY RIDE: LNP Member for Ipswich West Sean Choat. Claudia Baxter

Sean Choat: Early starts, long days

ON an average day I'm up at 5.30am doing some chores and helping get the kids ready then a bit of work before I drop my daughter to school, then at the office by 8.15am.

The average day is spent working on matters with people either in the office or out on site.

Most days I get home by about 5.30pm if I can to spend some time with the family and then off to a community event or meeting.

I usually average about two nights a week when I am home with the family for the evening.

Most weekends are taken up with events and a bit of work, but I make sure I allocate some time with the kids.

It can be hectic, but I knew what I was getting myself into.

My wife Nicky and I tried to average it out in the early days and it's about 70 hours a week on average.

When Parliament is sitting, I'm usually there by 1pm on Monday for meetings and then I'm in Brisbane until Thursday night depending on how late it goes, during those weeks I'm usually up at 5am and rarely in bed by midnight. Parliament sits from 9.30am in the morning till an average of about 10pm with Wednesday incorporating committee duties from 8.30am.

The days are long, but I do get to attend to electorate business on my laptop in the chamber or from my office down there.

 

LONG DAYS: Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller.
LONG DAYS: Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller. Rob Williams

Jo-Ann Miller: In reality, it's a 24/7 job

I HAVE done this job for 13 years and enjoy every minute of it despite the demands and the long days.

You can go for breakfast meeting, to site visits, to school visits, back to the office to meet with constituents, attend briefings from departments, community groups or a local business, to a night time meeting of a community group or public consultation session.

The reality is it's 24/7, I often get pulled up to answer a question filling up at the petrol station, or dropping into Redbank Plaza to grab the bread and milk on the way home.

Often when Parliament sits its long days that can run until 3am.

I also participate as a member on various committees including the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (deputy chairperson) that takes considerable time in meeting but also preparing for meetings with lots of reading to ensure you are across the information discussed.

I am also the Opposition Whip and work with the Government Whip to ensure the smooth running of Parliament, plus I have the honour of being the Shadow Minister for Health, Housing, Natural Resources and Mines meaning I need to be across the issues in these portfolios and help people across the state who have issues with government in these areas.

 

BUSY: Ipswich MP Ian Berry.
BUSY: Ipswich MP Ian Berry. David Nielsen

Ian Berry: Ipswich is first priority

EVENTS at Parliament can begin before 7am and often run past midnight.

I regularly meet with LNP government minister's to secure key investments for Ipswich, such as the $128 million 84-bed Ipswich Hospital expansion and many more.

In the Ipswich electorate each day is different but it isn't uncommon to be attending community events before 7am right through to beyond 10pm.

The hours may be long, but it is a job that I enjoy, because every day I get to help people, and make our community that little bit better. No matter what or how many things happen each day my goal remains the same: to meet with and talk to as many people as possible about the LNP government's positive plan of investing in Ipswich and getting our region back on track.