It’s time to think about paying our Senators. We cannot continue to cater to the howls of protest from members of the public who resent and begrudge the expenditure of every dollar spent on our legislature. If you followed those protests to their logical conclusion, MPs would be paid minimum wage.
In the same way that it is time to expand and update the seat of Parliament, it is time to consider whether we might not be able to get a better range of representation and more attention to the job if we decided to pay people to serve as Senators. And are we content to have our Upper House include political appointees as a reward for good and faithful service to the good old party?
Let me be the first to say that this is certainly not true for the majority of our Senators over the years, but we have seen those unhappy appointments where the appointees spent the term making little, if any contribution, to legislative development and national discourse. This is the Upper House of Parliament, a critical review chamber for Bills which are to be passed into law. There is no room for bench warmers. We will watch this new crop closely, but in the meantime, let us start the discussion!