It’s meant to be the toughest job in the country, being Prime Minister.
The criticism, the scrutiny, the wellbeing of 23 million people resting on your shoulders — you couldn’t pay me enough to do it.
That’s not to say it’s not a lucrative. The current salary for a sitting Prime Minister is $517,504, and the money keeps rolling in long after they wave goodbye to Capital Hill.
Of course, plenty make decent coin via speaking gigs and consultancy jobs, but generally it’s up to us – the taxpayers – to fund their lives after The Lodge.
Listen: Mia Freedman interviews Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Post continues after audio.
Here’s what we’re paying for:
A six-figure pension for life.
Wouldn’t it be nice to keep getting paid for a job long after you chuck it in or get fired? Such is one of the many perks afforded to a former Prime Minister.
The annual pension paid to former PMs is determined by several factors, including the length of their service and the positions they held over that time. But let’s just say, none are exactly slumming it.
Julia Gillard, for example, reportedly receives around $200,000 a year, while Tony Abbott takes home $307,542.
And that doesn’t include…
Entitlements. Which are also for life.
The Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Act of 2002 allows former prime ministers who have left parliament to be provided with “a number of facilities at the discretion of the prime minister of the day”.
This generally means they can claim for domestic travel (as long as it’s a regular scheduled service), car costs, office facilities, office admin, telecommunications, plus family travel. And that lasts until they die.
The latest report available, which covers 1 January - 30 June 2016, revealed the biggest spender to be John Howard. He racked up a bill of $152,970.46 in six months, including $112,434.42 for his Sydney office.
The cheapest of the bunch? Julia Gillard. She claimed $69,451.34.
Perks for their partners.
The spouses or de facto partners of former PMs are also eligible to claim a number of entitlements once their loved one dies.
The last report, for example, shows that Tamie Fraser claimed $2899.83 for domestic travel and telecommunication in the first half of last year, while Nancy Gorton billed us for $414.92.
(Psst. John Gorton was our 19th Prime Minister; the one who took over when Harold Holt disappeared. But you knew that.)