Two kinds of pay stories were out today. One about politicians. The other AFL players. Guess which one got the most coverage?
From next year, federal MPs will receive pay rises of at least $44,000 a year, taking backbenchers’ salaries to $185,000.
The Prime Minister will get $481,000.
In return, they’ll need to give up their controversial gold pass which offered 25 free return trips to retired MPs.
Now this may seem like a lot of money, and constituents have the right to have their say about how the money is being spent, given it’s their taxes which are funding MP salaries.
But let’s put things in perspective.
Today, the AFL and its Players’ Association agreed on pay conditions for the next five years. Without getting into too much detail, the average AFL player will receive a salary of $300,000 from 2016. That’s about 40 per cent more than an MP.
Politicians are meant to represent and serve the people, making decisions that impact society. They’re often on duty 24/7 thanks to the evolution of the internet, email and social media. They’re often scapegoats for decisions that go wrong, but that’s factored into their pay, just like any other figurehead who gets a premium for their role.
AFL players play sport. They train hard and are also in the limelight and are handsomely rewarded. They add a sense of regional pride. They’re also part of a greater business, that of the AFL, which in turn, makes a lot of money, from broadcasting rights.
Who deserves to get paid more?