1000:1 Snouts in the Trough

Consumption of Public Resources by the Average Australian Politician vs Cost of Settling a Refugee.

 2011_raiseCommon assumptions played on by politicians and certain aspects of the media (yes I mean you Rupert Murdoch’s News Corpse) are that refugees are an economic burden on society, taking much and giving little, and that they take immigration places away from skilled workers who would make a bigger contribution. While it is true that newly arrived refugees are represented disproportionately in unskilled jobs, and some remain trapped there, many achieve occupational mobility over time and especially across generations.

The costs and contributions of settled refugees are reproduced below and from this it can be seen that the average refugee costs the Australian economy approximately $4,521-90 in social security & Medicare payments.


Social security expenses       $3,162,900

Health expenses                    $1,359,000

This is more than offset by:


Direct tax                               $9,112,000

Indirect tax                            $   636,600

* 2007-8 prices. Source: Access Economics (2008).

In other words, each settled refugee on average contributes a net $5,228-10 in direct payments to the Commonwealth.

Let’s compare this with our ‘average’ Federal politician:

In June 2013, the Remuneration Tribunal increased the base salary of Australian parliamentary Senators and MPs by 2.4% to $195,000. The salary is 2.8 times the average annual Australian wage, but at least it is taxable. The 10-year average pay rise is just under 7% annually. But wait, there’s more. Much more.

To this salary is added stationery, office accommodation, and domestic and overseas travel entitlements, living ‘away from’ home allowances and electoral allowance (of up to $66,000), none of which is taxable. How much does this cost the Australian taxpayer?

The best indication comes from Federal Finance Department. In the six months from July to December 2012 the Liberal member for Paterson spent more than $223,000, including $43,000 on a car allowance. Labor’s member for Page spent a similar overall amount and the Nationals Cowper MP also spent more than $220,000. They are typical.

Thus the average politician costs the Australian economy at least $500,000-00 pa after tax, and I’ve not considered the cost of post-Parliamentary Gold Pass / other travel entitlements, or their overly-generous superannuation scheme.

1000:1 seems overly generous when assessing the net cost of Australia’s politicians in comparison to settled refugees. Putting Parliament on no pay behind razor wire on Manus Island makes economic sense.

Lets load the yellow boats.

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