Question Time at the Queensland Parliament with members observing social distancing restrictions. (AAP Image/Josh Woning)
Question Time at the Queensland Parliament with members observing social distancing restrictions. (AAP Image/Josh Woning)

MPs gifted $30k fund to raise profiles for election

QUEENSLAND MPs have scored a $30,000 fighting fund to raise their profiles ahead of the election after underspending their electorate allowances because of COVID-19.

Politicians of all persuasions will be allowed to keep 40 per cent of their unspent allowance, rather than the normal 10 per cent following a decision by the Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal.

In a determination tabled in parliament, the tribunal said the restrictions associated with COVID-19 were limiting members' ability to hold functions and other activities that were usually funded by the Electorate and Communication Allowance.

"In recognition of these limitations, the Clerk has suggested Members be allowed to retain a higher proportion of their total ECA for the 2019-2020 financial year that is unexpended at 30 June 2020, for carry-over and use prior to the 2020 State Election," it said.

The allowance covers office expenses and pays for events and other services for the electorate or their constituents.

 

 

It can also pay for letter box drops or other publications in which the MP advises voters of important information.

It must not be used for electioneering and campaigning purposes, but it does enable MPs to increase their public profiles.

Members will have between July 1 and the October 31 election to spend the surplus money.

Question Time at the Queensland Parliament with members observing social distancing restrictions. (AAP Image/Josh Woning)
Question Time at the Queensland Parliament with members observing social distancing restrictions. (AAP Image/Josh Woning)

MPs get different allowance amounts depending on a classification system that recognises the costs associated with larger electorates.

The yearly amount ranges from $69,600 to $76,400, meaning MPs are usually allowed to carry over around $7000 of their unspent amount.

This year, they will be allowed to carry over up between $27,840 and $30,560.

Queenslanders are set to go to the polls on October 31 to elect a government for a four-year, set term.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath is considering whether to hold a full-postal ballot in light of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

Originally published as MPs gifted $30k fund to raise profiles for election