In a little-known benefit of the job, MPs who were kicked out of their seat may be eligible for a $100,000 silver lining… at the taxpayer’s expense.
Taxpayers are willing to shell out more than $2 million in golden salutes to the parliamentarians and senators who were unceremoniously abandoned by voters in the May 21 election.
The parliamentarians are eligible for a little-known benefit of office: a resettlement allowance that will see taxpayers pay more than $100,000 to help each congressman or senator.
Severance pay, capped at six months’ pay, is available to any MP who loses shortlist for election or any incumbent MP who loses their seat.
As long as they have served one term in office, it is available and designed to pay their bills and allow them to find employment after losing their $200,000-a-year jobs on election night.
At least 20 federal politicians are entitled to the farewell benefit, which in many cases is all MPs will get because anyone who came to Parliament after 2004 is no longer eligible for the annuity plan once offered to MPs. retiring parliamentarians.
Eligible MPs include Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who previously earned $400,000 a year as treasurer before being unceremoniously fired Saturday by Kooyong voters.
However, it is unclear whether former Labor Senator Kristina Keneally is eligible because she needed to resign from the Senate to contest Fowler’s electorate.
Other MPs eligible for the $100,000 payment include Terri Butler, MP for Queensland, who shocked Labor supporters by losing her Brisbane-based constituency after a strong campaign by the Greens.
Queensland Senator Amanda Stoker and the ACT’s Zed Seselja, who also appears to be on the verge of losing his seat, could claim the money.
In WA, former ministers Ben Morton and Ken Wyatt will be eligible for the payout as they reflect on the election disaster.
The resettlement allowance was introduced in 2006 and applies to parliamentarians and senators who lost their seats in an election or did not win the pre-selection.
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison is not eligible for the $100,000 payment because he has indicated he will remain in Parliament – for now.
But Morrison previously backed the 2019 resettlement allowances as fair and in line with severance pay offered in the private sector.
“These are arrangements that were put in place some time ago and I am sure that when someone leaves a job that they have not chosen, there are arrangements for people to do that,” he said.
“If you were fired, fired today by your news organization, then I’m sure there would be a contractual agreement for you to have some support when you leave that job not by your own hand.
“All I am saying is that these arrangements exist in the public and private sectors and do not discriminate whether you are a politician or a journalist.”
To be eligible for the scheme, senators must show that they have been in Parliament for three years.
For MPs, they must serve more than one full term to receive the equivalent of six months’ base salary, worth more than $103,000.
Other congressmen and senators who lost their seats in the election but did not qualify based on length of service are entitled to three months of pay, valued at more than $51,000.
Seats changing hands
New south Wales
1. Kooyong – Josh Frydenberg (LIB) to Monique Ryan (IND)
2. Higgins-Katie Allen (LIB)
3. Hunter – Kristina Keneally (ALP)
4. Hughes-Craig Kelly (UAP)
5. Gilmore – Fiona Phillips (ALP) trails Andrew Constance (LIB)
6. Reid-Fiona Martin (LIB)
7. Robertson-Lucy Wicks (LIB)
8. Wentworth-Dave Sharma (LIB)
9. Mackellar-Jason Falinski (LIB)
10. North Sydney – Trent Zimmerman (LIB)
11. Chisholm-Gladys Liu (LIB)
12. Goldstein-Tim Wilson (LIB)
13. Hasluck-Ken Wyatt (LIB)
14. Tangney-Ben Morton (LIB)
15. Griffith-Terri Butler (ALP)
16. Ryan-Julian Simmonds (LIB)
17. Senator Amanda Stoker (LIB)
18. Senator Zed Seselja (LIB) – at risk of losing seat
19. Senator Rex Patrick (IND)
20. Andrew Lambie, MP for Queensland
Originally published as Taxpayers to pay $2 million resettlement allowance for MPs who lost in federal election