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Premier's Hypocrisy on Wage Increase

24 May 2016

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

[10.12 a.m.]

Given that you believe that members of parliament deserve up to a 2.4 per cent pay increase, do you agree it is reasonable for the state's 15 000 public sector workers to also expect a pay rise?  Do you agree that, having sacked 1 200 government employees after unsuccessfully trying to freeze their wages and bringing on the MPs' pay rise legislation and then frantically back-pedalling on the umpire's decision, you have created the circumstances where a pay claim on behalf of public sector workers was inevitable?  Do you agree this pay claim is justified and a legitimate ask given the work public sector workers do in our community every day?  Will you commit to good faith negotiations with the CPSU in their claim launched today?

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question and note we have had three questions today, two of them on politicians' pay.  It demonstrates the priorities of members opposite.  Once again they want to debate how much we get paid.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  Members will cease their interjections.

Mr HODGMAN - The irony of this question is that it comes from the so-called leader of a so-called party that wants to accept the 10.5 per cent pay rise.  They are the ones who want us to accept the 10.5 per cent.  They say to the Tasmanian people, 'Trust us; we will donate it to some reputable cause', but were not even able to identify which causes they would donate to.  I think Tasmanians can see through that.  The member for Denison asks the question, when we proposed an independent mechanism.  The Leader of the Opposition even said in the debate that he thought it was a pretty reasonable proposition, but to take the 10.5 per cent increase exposes you.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I am sick of these constant interjections.  There has been a lengthy debate on this topic already.  It is not a time for debate.  Whether members like what the Premier is saying or not they have asked a question and they have opened up this issue.  The Premier will be given an opportunity to answer the question.

Mr HODGMAN - It is a little galling for the Leader of the so-called Tasmanian -

Opposition members interjecting.

Mr HODGMAN - What was that intelligent contribution to the debate from the Leader of the Opposition?  He is strongly supporting his Greens coalition colleagues.  They are the ones wanting to accept 10.5 per cent.  They are the con artists in this debate because they want to take the 10.5 per cent and spend it as they see fit.  That is not something we believe should happen.

Ms O'Connor - Madam Speaker, standing order 181, the Premier's words -

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I remind members if they wish to make a point of order they need to call a point of order before commencing to talk, otherwise I will not give them the call.  On a point of order, the member for Denison.

Ms O'CONNOR - Under standing order 181 the Premier's language is dishonest, offensive and unbecoming and I ask him to answer the question.

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order and you know that.  The member will resume her seat.  It is an absolute shemozzle in here this morning.  If anyone is watching, it is embarrassing.  The Premier will resume.

Mr HODGMAN - I would not seek to offend the member but it is an offensive proposition that they would accept 10.5 per cent and then ask the Tasmanian people to trust them in how they spend it.  We believe the Wage Price Index -

Ms O'Connor interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I warn the member for Denison, Ms O'Connor, for constant interjections.

Mr HODGMAN - is an appropriate mechanism.  It has gained some support from the Leader of Opposition in debate -

Ms Woodruff interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - I warn the member for Franklin, Ms Woodruff, for constant interjections.

Mr HODGMAN - but it is our stated position, notwithstanding that negotiations and discussions with all Tasmanian state servants would continue under our government, as it has in the past.

Mr Green - But it has to be 2 per cent.

Mr HODGMAN - Yes, it is a wages policy we adopted from you.  The only thing we have learned today - the latest unfunded thought bubble from the Opposition - is they are proposing a higher wages policy for our state service.  In this budget week I call on the Leader of the Opposition or the shadow minister for finance to tell Tasmanians what that number is.  What is the Opposition's wage policy?  If it is not 2 per cent, which you are criticising us for, what is it?  I will ask the Tasmanian public and I will give the Opposition a bit of hand here with costing and funding these things.  You can expect that even a 1 per cent pay increase over the current 2 per cent wages policy would cost the state budget around $100 million more for employees.  We will wait with interest to see what the Opposition has to say about state wages policy and how much it will cost.