Senators question Hockey’s double income while Labor and Coalition remain silent

By @pathakmishra on
Australia's Treasurer Joe Hockey
Australia's former treasurer Joe Hockey holds a news conference after a meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors during the IMF-World Bank annual meetings in Washington October 10, 2014. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Ex-Members of Parliament and former senators are constantly criticising the dual pension allowance for former treasurer Joe Hockey, while the major political parties have kept their mouth shut on the matter.

Hockey’s name has been suggested as Australia’s next ambassador to the United States. Hence, there is a possibility of the ex-treasurer to earn around $450,000 annually if he received 50 percent share of his parliamentary pension along with his salary as an ambassador, making his yearly income reach an extra $90,000 per year.

Hockey resigned from the parliament last week after the change of Australian leadership from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull affected his treasurer’s post. He was replaced by Scott Morrison. There has been no official announcement yet regarding Hockey’s ambassadorship to the U.S., but his name has significantly been raised.

South Australia’s Independent senator Nick Xenophon said that if Hockey is likely to get an opportunity to earn significant amount from his ambassadorial position, then why should he take the parliamentary pension. He released his statement after NewsCorp reported that Hockey might enjoy dual earning from parliamentary pension as well as ambassador’s salary.

if salary double dipping was unfair for the general public, then how a former parliamentary figure could opt for such dual income sources. In case he reckons that the age of entitlement has no importance anymore, he would be the first to initiate dual income example for the Australians, Xenophon added.

“I think it is unfair that someone can be receiving from the taxpayers a paid parental leave scheme, such as an employee of the government, and then they can go to Centrelink and get another paid parental leave scheme paid for by taxpayers. We think that double dipping is unfair,” the independent senator told the ABC on the occasion of annual federal budget.

When the ABC asked for comments from the Coalition and Labor, the members from both the parties refused to intervene in the matter. “We do not comment on the circumstances of an individual member or senator,” a spokesman for Special State Minister Mal Brough said.

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