Federal Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt has not backed down on his call for politicians to get a pay rise, a move he argues would improve representation in parliament.
As a cabinet minister Mr Wyatt earns more than $420,000 per year, about double the $211,250 base rate for Federal politicians.
When approached this week by The Australian, a spokesperson for Mr Wyatt backed comments he made in 2018 where he said politicians were not paid enough.
His stance was slammed on Twitter as “tone deaf”, with Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus saying Mr Wyatt was “at the bottom” of the list of people deserving a pay bump.
In his interview with Good Weekend four years ago Mr Wyatt said he was on a “comfortable” salary, but added politicians’ wages paled in comparison to other sectors.
“You want people who are going to go in and look after the interests of all Australians,” he said.
“I earned more as a public servant than as a backbencher.
“I look at the corporate sector and can’t see how you justify salaries of $18m.”
A spokesperson on Thursday told the Australian Mr Wyatt believed it was important to attract a diverse range of people to reflect the nation’s population.
“His comments were in relation to the decision he took to enter parliament and the fact he earned more as a public servant than as a backbencher,” the spokesperson said.
before running for the WA seat of Hasluck Mr Wyatt served as WA’s Aboriginal heath director.
The average household income for Indigenous Australians Mr Wyatt represents through his portfolio was about $550 a week in 2018-19, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Mr Wyatt’s salary sees him earning more than $7000 per week.