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Except that it isn’t.

Nick Xenophon has called the increased allowance a back door pay rise, but he knows very well it is not. That is just popularist grandstanding.

It is an increase of 17% in their electorate allowance. MPs cannot use that money as disposable income. It must be used to meet the cost of providing services in their electorate. A large part of what (good) MPs do is provide an information and advocacy service to people in their area.

17% may sound a lot, but this is the first increase in the allowance since 2000. If it were a pay rise for teachers or dockers, I doubt their unions would consider this an adequate increase over the same period.

“Australians have two choices,” said Coalition spokesman on matters of state, Michael Ronaldson. “MPs either set their own terms and conditions or an independent umpire does. I suspect the community would be very much in favour of the latter.”

It’s just that the timing could have been better.

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