Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Desley Boyle's State MP $1.1m golden handshake

You don't have to love your job, even if you do it grudgingly
  • Gavin King | Wednesday, August 10, 2011 | The Cairns Post

RETIRING MP Desley Boyle can choose between a  $1.1 million golden handshake or an annual pension of more than $100,000 for life when she bows out of her 13-year career at the next state election.

Ms Boyle is one of the last crop of MPs to receive such benefits, calculated using an old formula in place before the MP pension scheme was dramatically cut in late 2004.

Even the date of her move to the backbench earlier this year was the result of exceptional timing. Ms Boyle was elevated to Cabinet on February 12, 2004, so waiting until February 17 this year to step down added an extra 12 months of a minister’s salary (about $216,000) to her payout.

Within three months of her retirement, Ms Boyle can either get the immediate lump sum of about $1.1 million, or otherwise take the pension of about $110,000.

The basic pension for a single person is $670.90 a fortnight, or $17,443.40 annually.

If a group of Bligh Government MPs elected in 2004 are voted out at the next election, they will only be entitled to substantial retirement benefits if polling day is scheduled after February 7 next year.

The "Class of 2004", those MPs voted in at the 2004 election, must reach eight years service before being entitled to the $110,00 per year.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser, Cook MP Jason O’Brien and colleagues Craig Wallace, Simon Finn and Paul Hoolihan are among the ALP MPs entitled to a pension if voted out in a post-February election.

Ms Boyle said scrapping the old pension scheme was a significant disincentive for people considering a career in politics.

"I’ve given no thought to what I might do in retirement or how much I may be entitled to as I’m flat out with so many other things, including reviewing legislation and emerging issues such as myrtle rust" Ms Boyle said.

"Together with other factors, there are a lot of people who are refusing to put their hand up for politics because they are not entitled to much of anything after they exit politics, and we all know politics can spoil your career."

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