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Labor seeks to raise incoming governor general’s salary by more than $214,000 | Australian politics

PoliticsLabor seeks to raise incoming governor general’s salary by more than $214,000 | Australian politics

The Albanese government is seeking to raise the pay for the incoming governor general, Sam Mostyn, by more than $214,000, saying the change is appropriate because she is not receiving the same sort of additional pensions that previous officeholders have enjoyed.

Mostyn will be sworn into her new office on 1 July. Patrick Gorman, the assistant minister to the prime minister, introduced a bill into federal parliament on Monday morning which would raise the salary for the governor general from $495,000 to $709,017.

The governor general’s salary cannot be changed during their time in office, so the update must be approved by parliament before next week, and will set Mostyn’s remuneration for her whole period in office – usually a five-year appointment.

Sam Mostyn announced by Anthony Albanese as Australia’s next governor general – video

“In line with past practice, the proposed salary is calculated by reference to the estimated average salary of the chief justice of the high court of Australia over the notional five-year term of the appointment of the governor general,” Gorman said in the chamber.

The same text is contained in the explanatory memorandum of the bill that was introduced.

“Where, in the past, a governor general has been the recipient of other commonwealth entitlements – such as a military pension – the annual salary has been adjusted accordingly. Ms Mostyn is not a recipient of any such entitlements,” Gorman continued.

Hurley, the former chief of the defence force, received a military pension on top of his salary as governor general. Other past governors general have also received military or judicial pensions.

No other politicians beside Gorman spoke on the bill, which will return to parliament later this week to be further debated.

The change represents a 43% pay rise in the legislated salary of the governor general. Gorman said the change was to ensure the salary remained “appropriate for the duration of this term”.

“The figure was calculated to moderately exceed the expected average salary of the chief justice of the High Court over the notional five-year term of the governor general,” said the bill’s explanatory memorandum.

“The chief justice’s current salary, as determined by the Remuneration Tribunal is $649,880 per year. In five years, the Chief Justice’s salary is expected to be in the order of $769,989, based on projected wages growth, with an average over the period of $708,017.”

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Members of Australia’s federal parliament and other public officeholders will also pocket thousands more each year from July after the independent remuneration tribunal announced a 3.5% wage rise last week.

Mostyn’s salary will be higher than that of the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, whose pay rose to about $607,471 a year, and opposition leader Peter Dutton’s $432,239.

Mostyn, the business leader and gender equality advocate, was announced as Albanese’s pick for governor general in April. Hurley’s term as governor general will finish on 1 July.

Hurley’s official portrait, to be displayed in Parliament House’s Historic Memorials Collection, was unveiled in Canberra on Monday.

In the portrait, painted by artist Jude Rae, Hurley stands in a forest clearing, surrounded by blackened trees sprouting green shoots.

In his speech at the official ceremony, Hurley advised viewers to pay close attention to the background, and what it represented. As the Queen’s representative, Hurley has regularly toured bushfire and disaster zones nationwide.

“The background is actually far more important in this portrait, because it’s about us as a country. When you see it, it’s about us as a people, representing some of the difficulties we have experienced in the nation over the last five years,” Hurley said.

“It tells us not only the journey we went through, but how strong we are.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Albanese praised Hurley as leading “a remarkable life of public service.”

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