Thursday 5th August, 2010
Robert O’Brien, Independent candidate for Wannon, has today pledged to ensure that if elected, a large portion of his parliamentarian salary would be returned directly to the electorate to charities and other worthwhile causes.
“I will give a minimum of $800 per week to various worthwhile causes with a priority to those in this electorate. At present, I am earning the slightly above the minimum wage. Earning a minimum of $2500 a week as a representative of the people is excessive, and because I believe that politicians salaries should be tied to the average wage, I will practice what I preach. I am not in this for the money,” said Mr O’Brien.
“What those causes will be, I am not sure yet. Maybe I can rent a house to be used as a homeless or other type of refuge. Maybe I will be able to help individual families in need of urgent financial assistance when help from other sources is not available. I would also like to be able to provide clean water for some communities in developing countries if I can,” explained Mr O’Brien
Clarifying the amount, Mr O’Brien said the $800 would be taken from his after tax salary, but would increase if it could be done before tax. This would be over $40,000 a year. Parliamentarians currently earn $2520 per week before tax, which is approximately $1780 after tax. The average wage is $1242 per week before tax ($973 after tax) according to the ABS.
He also asked for up to one months grace as he would have to pay bond and rent up front for accommodation in Canberra.
Mr O’Brien would also create work for one person in the area, employing someone to keep his garden in order.
“I take care of my fathers four acre native garden. I am going to need to get someone to look after it for me while I am away. They will need to do a few hours a week to keep it in order, and that will come from my portion of the salary,” he stated.
In the 1998 Federal election, Mr O’Brien pledged part of his salary to the development of a youth centre in Warrnambool to be used as a café, gallery exhibition space, live entertainment venue and drop in centre.
Mr O’Brien said the details of where the money went each week would be posted on a website to ensure people can see he is honouring his pledge.