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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 31 October 2015
NEWS 6 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 31 OCTOBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Xenophon’s appeal to end vicious cycle of double-dipping for politicians Urges Hockey to set the example As Joe Hockey is expected to be appointed Australia's ambassador to Washington DC, independent Senator Nick Xenophon has said that he should not claim the parliamentary pension in addition to his salary. "I just want to help Joe Hock- ey fulfil his dream of ending the age of entitlement by Joe Hockey setting an example for the rest of us," he said on Sunday. Xenophon's comment refers to a speech the former treasurer gave in London in 2012 calling for a smaller welfare state. Following his official resignation from parliament last week, Hockey is on track to land a key government post in Washington, reportedly earning a salary of $360,000 per year. As it stands today, under the guidelines established in 2010, he could simultaneously access up to 50 per cent of his parliamentary superannuation, a move that would translate to an additional $90,000 a year. Xenophon urged Hockey to reject the generous top-up to his income if he takes on the ambassador's role, and warned that in case double-dipping occurred he would call for an overhaul of the current legislation in the Senate. "I will be putting up legislation in the Senate that will say if an ex-politician who's getting a parliamentary pension is offered a diplomatic post, then they can't get any of that pension during that time of the diplomatic post," he told reporters in Adelaide. "This looks a lot like a double-dip by ex-politicians. It is beyond community standards. It is not reasonable," he added. Earlier this year, as treasurer in the Abbott government, Hockey said that legally accessing both employer and government-paid parental leave schemes was "basically fraud", although amid the backlash that followed he denied making the statement. An avid supporter of reducing government allowances, Hockey also reiterated in his farewell parliament speech the need to end the "age of entitlement". This is not the first time Senator Xenophon has publicly brought up the issue of unfair political entitlements. Former SA premier Mike Rann, who was receiving both a parliamentary pension and a salary while serving as a high commissioner in Britain in 2014, had his earnings reduced after Xenophon pushed the federal government to take action. Senator Xenophon told reporters on Sunday he is planning to pay for his travel expenses for his imminent trip to the US to look at the automotive industry. "I can do things on the cheap ... I know all the Greyhound bus schedules," he said. PM warns against NXT Malcolm Turnbull reveals unease at Xenophon’s new party Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has warned voters against voting for independent Senator Nick Xenophon's Nick Xenophon Team (NXT), claiming party members would "not be Nick". The centrist party was formed in 2013 and is looking to make inroads into federal politics. "I like Nick. I've known him for a long time and we have a lot of interests in common," Mr Turnbull told ABC radio in Adelaide. "But Nick will be running Xenophon Team candidates. They are not robots or clones of him. "Whether they in practice work as a team with him remains to be seen." Mr Turnbull referred to Xenophon's ill-fated pairing with fellow South Australian inde- pendent Ann Bressington in 2006 to make his point. "Nick's track record to date is that when he last ran with a running mate, he and she split up." In August Xenophon stated his intention to have 11 lower house seat candidates in the next federal election. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has spoken out about NXT. PHOTO: AAP IMAGE/MICK TSIKAS. South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday. PHOTO: AAP/MICK TSIKAS. Eight-year high for social cohesion in Australia The Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, welcomed the latest Scanlon-Monash Index of Social Cohesion released today, that has confirmed social cohesion in Australia is at an eightyear high. The Scanlon-Monash Index of Social Cohesion (SMI) has been mapping social cohesion since 2007. “This is a good result in difficult times and I am pleased that Australia remains a stable and cohesive society,” said Senator FierravantiWells. She added it was encouraging that the 2015 report shows Australians continue to overwhelmingly support a multicultural Australia. "The SMI found there is strong support for our cultural diversity, with more respondents than ever (86 per cent) agreeing that 'multiculturalism has been good for Australia'. "Multiculturalism is the Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells glue that holds us together and makes us the envy of the world. "With 45 per cent of us either born overseas or with at least one parent who was, we are one of the most culturally diverse, yet socially cohe- sive nations on earth," Senator Fierravanti-Wells said. The Mapping Social Cohesion report includes views on the extent to which Australians and immigrants should change their behaviour.
24 October 2015
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