Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Every pollie wins a prize

By Scott Prasser - posted Friday, 2 January 2009


It was great to hear Premier Anna Bligh announce that in these hard times, proposed salary increases of Queensland's 89 politicians were being frozen and that the public service was being asked to find “savings”.

Why stop there, Premier? How about slicing Queensland's bloated executive government? Since the 2006 state election, when premier Peter Beattie increased the number of parliamentary secretaries from eight to 11 (combined with 18 Cabinet ministers), Queensland has had 29 members serving in executive government roles.

That means that about one in three - 32 per cent - of our state parliamentarians hold executive government positions.

Advertisement

During the 1960s, the comparable figure was 16 per cent, and it was 20 per cent for most of the 1980s.

Queensland has more politicians as a proportion of its elected representatives serving in executive government than at any time in its history. More than that, Queensland has a greater proportion of its parliamentarians in executive government than any other state or even the Federal Government. Only the Northern Territory has more, and there are special reasons for that.

Comparable figures to Queensland's 32 per cent of parliamentarians in executive government are: Victoria 27 per cent; New South Wales 23.7 per cent; Western Australia 24 percent, South Australia 24.6 per cent; and Tasmania 25 per cent. In Canberra, under the Howard and Rudd governments, the proportion has remained at 18.5 per cent.

Indeed, Queensland with 29 ministers and parliamentary secretaries, has only three fewer members in executive government roles than NSW - a state that has about two million people more than Queensland.

There are several serious implications of this growth in executive government.

It costs the taxpayers more in higher wages. Ministers earn $78,000 more over their base backbench salary. Parliamentary secretaries receive an additional $22,000.

Advertisement

There are also the extra costs for staff, offices and cars.

A larger executive government means fewer backbenchers to scrutinise government, yet with more executive government members there is additional activity to assess.

A larger executive government allows a premier to practise more patronage for party members. In Queensland, almost 50 per cent of the present Government members hold executive positions. Almost everyone in government gets an executive government prize these days.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

First published in The Courier-Mail on December 15, 2008.



Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

7 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Scott Prasser is Professor of Public Policy and was Executive Director of the Public Policy Institute at the Australian Catholic University. Scott has worked previously in senior policy and research roles in federal and state governments and in several universities in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. Recently, Scott co-edited with Associate Professor Nicholas Aroney and J.R. Nethercote the book Restraining Elective Dictatorship: The Upper House Solution? He has just written with Helen Tracey a report entitled Beyond Gonski: Reviewing the Evidence on Quality Schooling.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Scott Prasser

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Scott Prasser
Article Tools
Comment 7 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy