A Facebook video claims Premier Daniel Andrews gave himself a $50,000 pay rise during the COVID lockdowns in Victoria.
The claim is false. Mr Andrews did receive a pay increase of just under $30,000, but the salaries of all MPs are determined by the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal, not the premier or any other politician.
The video (screenshot here) was a live stream on October 17 by Freedom Party of Victoria leader Morgan Jonas, featuring party candidate Aidan McLindon, who is contesting Mr Andrews’ seat of Mulgrave in the 2022 state election on November 26.
In the video, filmed outside Mr Andrews’ electorate office in suburban Melbourne, Mr McLindon says the premier paid himself more money during the lockdowns.
“Do you know what he did during this 267 days? He actually gave himself a $50,000 pay rise,” he says (video mark 4min 30sec).
Mr McLindon is a former Queensland MP, elected for the Liberal National Party in 2009, before quitting to become an independent in 2010, then joining Katter’s Australian Party in 2011. He lost his seat to the LNP in the 2012 state election.
The number Mr McLindon used is most likely from an ABC report which stated Melbourne would have spent 267 days in lockdown if the sixth lockdown had ended on October 26, 2021. The lockdown ended five days earlier on October 21.
The Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal and a political expert say MPs have no power to influence the tribunal’s determinations on politicians’ pay.
A representative for the tribunal told AAP FactCheck it is “responsible for determining the value of salaries and work-related parliamentary allowances for Members of the Parliament of Victoria (MPs)”, but does not take direction from anyone in its determinations.
“The Tribunal and Tribunal members are not in the performance of their functions and the exercise of their powers when making a determination subject to the direction or control of any person, including any minister,” the representative said in an email.
Peter Ferguson, a political scientist at Deakin University, also told AAP FactCheck it is not possible for Mr Andrews to given himself a pay rise.
“This claim is indeed false, for the simple reason that all MP salaries and other benefits are determined by the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal, which is completely independent of all MPs, including the Premier,” Dr Ferguson said in an email.
“All that MPs – and any other citizen who wishes to – can do is to make public submissions to the Tribunal, which the Tribunal might consider in its deliberations.”
Mr McLindon is also wrong in claiming Mr Andrews received a pay rise of $50,000 from the start of the lockdowns to the end.
This is confirmed in publicly available documents on the tribunal’s website.
From July 1, 2020, Mr Andrews’ pay consisted of the base salary of $182,413 (page 4), an additional Premier salary of $203,542 and an expense allowance of $55,484 (page 11).
This totals $441,439, which is an $18,877 rise from his 2019 salary of $422,562 (page 130).
From July 1, 2021, an extra $11,036 (2.5 per cent) was added to Mr Andrews’ pay. The base salary of $186,973 (page 1), additional Premier salary of $208,631, and Premier expense salary of $56,871 totals $452,475 (page 3).
The total increase from March 2020 (the start of Melbourne’s first lockdown) to October 2021 (the last lockdown) was $29,913.
Prior to the establishment of the tribunal, pay rises for MPs were determined by wage inflation (pages 3-4).
The claim Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews gave himself a $50,000 pay rise during the COVID lockdowns is false.
Mr Andrews’ salary increased by $29,913 and this was determined by the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal. The tribunal and an expert told AAP FactCheck that MPs cannot influence the tribunal’s determinations.
False – The claim is inaccurate.