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‘Forget it!’: Neil Mitchell calls on state MPs to forgo ‘dodgy’ pay rise during COVID-19 crisis

As many Victorians are being laid off from work, Victorian politicians are set to receive a 4.8 per cent taxpayer-funded pay rise on July 1.

Premier Daniel Andrews has ordered all state Labor MPs to donate the pay rise to charitable causes related to COVID-19.

The government has also called on other parties to do the same, as backbenchers prepare to receive a 3.5 per cent pay boost.

But 3AW’s Neil Mitchell says it’s not good enough.

“None of the politicians are being upfront on this one because it affects their hip pocket,” the 3AW Mornings host said.

“Just freeze it! Stop it for six months. You’re on the gravy train anyway!

“Instead the government has come up with this complex idea where you get paid the money but you donate it to charities. I’m told some backbenchers in government have now been told ‘oh it’s not that bad. You make the donation and you get 40 per cent back on your tax anyway!’

“Forget it! It’s time for a simple powerful gesture to the people!

“Both sides have got to step up here!”

Justice Party MP Stuart Grimley said he’d be more than happy to forgo the pay rise, but he thinks it’s “highly unlikely” it will be postponed.

“I’d certainly put my hand up and be happy to freeze it,” he said.

“We shouldn’t be accepting it.”

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President of the Legislative Council, Shaun Leane, called in to respond to Neil’s scathing review of parliamentary conduct.

He said the pay rise has already been approved, but the Parliament is aware of the economic pain Victorians are suffering, and they’re doing something about it.

“The tribunal has already made a decision to award that pay rise.

“The tribunal, in the next five years, might decide that MPs shouldn’t get a pay rise.

“I think, going forward, we’re going to have to change the way we operate, even after the virus hopefully goes away. I just think we might have to look at how we do things in a more frugal way.”

Mr Leane said money intended for events which have been cancelled has been redirected to initiatives to provide for vulnerable Victorians in this difficult time. Already, some money has been redirected to preparing 600 meals a day in the Parliament kitchen for homeless and vulnerable Melburnians.

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