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Female Labor MPs suffer worst gender pay gap in Parliament

Dylan Caporn
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Female Labor MPs on average earned 6.3 per cent less than males — $286,000 compared to male MP’s $305,000. 
Female Labor MPs on average earned 6.3 per cent less than males — $286,000 compared to male MP’s $305,000.  Credit: The Nightly

Female federal Labor MPs suffer the worst gender pay gap in the Federal Parliament, new analysis for The Nightly has shown, with a more than 6 per cent gap from their male colleagues.

The gap compares to a negative gender pay gap for the Coalition, with the Liberals and Nationals’ women earning more than their male counterparts.

Female Labor MPs on average earned 6.3 per cent less than males — $286,000 compared to male MP’s $305,000.

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The Coalition’s female MPs earn on average $261,000, 2.5 per cent higher than male salaries of $254,000.

Amongst all politicians, Parliament House had a 1.34 per cent gap on average, with female MPs earning $4000 less than males.

Using data from the Remuneration Tribunal, The Nightly calculated the salaries of all elected members and then the average of all MPs, and among their political party.

Further analysis found that if the position of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, or Treasurer were to be held by a female, Labor’s pay gap would almost halve.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s take-home salary of almost $587,000 and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles’ salary of $462,000 both weigh on Labor’s wage gap.

Of the four highest-paid positions in government, just one is held by a woman, Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

In her capacity as the Government’s Senate leader, she is paid the same as Treasurer Jim Chalmers — more than $423,000.

MPs are paid a base salary of $225,750 a year, however those who take on an additional role — ministers, shadow ministers or committee chairs — are paid an additional officer-holder salary.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong
Foreign Minister Penny Wong is the highest-paid Labor politician. Credit: AAP

That additional salary component is a percentage of the base amount, determined by the independent Remuneration Tribunal.

Shadow women’s minister Sussan Ley said while the figures were encouraging within the Coalition, more needed to be done to grow the number of women in the Liberal Party.

“Whilst I am proud of the gender balance in Coalition leadership positions and on our frontbench, there is much more to do in increasing the number of Liberal women in Parliament and it is important work we are committed to,” she said.

“As I said on the day the gender pay gap data was released, this should prompt reflection across Australian society,” she said.

“That reflection should include the nation’s Parliament, but also the trade union movement where there are significant gaps.

Among the labour movement, the Transport Workers Union (26.1 per cent), the Australian Education Union (21.7 per cent) and the Health Services Union (10.7 per cent) all recorded large gender pay gaps.

Senator Gallagher, who was contacted for comment, used a speech on Thursday ahead of International Women’s Day to mark the Albanese Government as the first federal administration to have a majority of members who are women.

“Now 53 per cent of our caucus are women. But 100 per cent of the caucus support equality for women,” she told the National Press Club.

“Addressing gender inequality is not the work of a single minister or a single government. It is whole of government work over decades.”

“In women’s leadership, we’ve funded support for more women to stand for Parliament, to help dismantle some of those barriers that stop women pursuing a career in politics.”

Senator Gallagher said the release of gender pay gap data last week had shown Australia had a problem with a “persistent” gender pay gap.

However, despite driving calls for transparency, the Government did not mandate the reporting of Parliament’s wage gap as part of its reforms.

“We in the Government believe that shining a light on what’s actually happening in workplaces will put pressure on employers to rethink how they hire, promote and remunerate their staff,” she said on Thursday.

In an Australian first, WGEA last week published pay data from almost 5000 companies with at least 100 employees.

Previously, gender pay gap figures have only been published at an industry sector level, which allowed some companies to hide behind the average of their peers.

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