Politicians Get Hefty Pay Rises … While Workers Lose Their Penalty Rates

Saturday 1st July, 2017

The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has joined the chorus of criticism over the hefty pay increases being handed out to federal politicians - on the same weekend that thousands of workers across three different sectors will have their all-important Sunday penalty rates cut.

From today, MPs and Senators will pocket an extra 2% in their pay packets, as well as securing cuts to marginal tax rates, which have been lowered to 47%. This means the Prime Minister will receive an extra $10,000 – his pay rising from $517,504 to $527,852. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will pocket $416,191. The median salary in Australia now stands at around $80,000.

The ANMF’s Acting Federal Secretary Annie Butler said it was unconscionable that our politicians were being handed pay rises and tax cuts at a time when ordinary Australian workers were struggling with ever-increasing living costs, especially those workers on the minimum wage who, by comparison, have received an increase of just $22.20 a week.

“It’s certainly a great start to the new financial year for politicians, heading off on their winter parliamentary break with an average of an extra $4,000 in their pockets,” Ms Butler said.

“But not so for ordinary Australian workers. It’s simply not fair that politicians are being rewarded with pay rises and tax cuts while workers in retail, hospitality and fast-food sectors will have their Sunday penalty rates cut. And it’s just cruel to have politicians’ pay rises and workers’ pay cuts start on the same weekend.

“Our members, particularly those working in the lowly-paid aged care sector, find this pretty hard to stomach. And we’re sure most workers would feel the same.

“What’s evident is that the Turnbull Government certainly looks after themselves and the big end of town, delivering $50 billion in corporate tax cuts in the Budget, whilst at the same time, hurting hard-working Australians, including our members.

“As a result of HECS fees rising, nursing students will pay thousands more for their university degrees; aged care nurses still work with no mandated staffing ratios; and AINs are overworked and underpaid, thanks to the Government’s failure to restore any of the $1.2 billion in Budget cuts.

“The ANMF will continue to fight hard to ensure that these devastating cuts to penalty rates aren’t extended into health and aged care – many nurses, midwives and AINs rely on penalty rates for 20% of their income.”


The ANMF, with over 259,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia. 

ANMF media inquiries: 0411 254 390.