Green to get gold for office
Shane Rattenbury. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Balance-of-power Greens politician Shane Rattenbury has been given more money to run his Assembly office than the Deputy Chief Minister and the Opposition Leader.
And the crossbench minister was even urged by Labor to consider running two offices in the Legislative Assembly when the ALP and Greens were cutting their minority government deal.
Mr Rattenbury's overall staff allowance will be about $790,000 a year, after his ministerial allowance has been topped up by a $219,000 crossbench amount, but the sole remaining Greens MLA says his unusual role in the Assembly justifies the expense.
Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr receives an annual $736,000 while ministers Joy Burch and Simon Corbell get $572,000 to run their offices.
Canberra Liberals leader Zed Seselja is getting $483,000 to run his office, which he tops up with contributions from the allowances of each of his MLAs.
Only the Chief Minister will be granted more money for her staff than Mr Rattenbury - Katy Gallagher's annual allowance is $1.2 million.
Mr Rattenbury, whose allowance is based on his $572,000 allocation as a minister and the $219,000 granted to a crossbencher, said on Monday that the comparison to other ministers and MLAs was irrelevant.
''I don't know how it compares to [others], that's not the basis of the decision,'' he said.
''What I discussed with the Chief Minister and what we agreed was that I would get the standard allocation of a minister for a set of staff to [do] that job.
''I put the view that it would be valuable to have a crossbench allocation because the way the Assembly has worked out, I have to vote on every single matter that comes before it. I can't walk out of the Assembly for a single vote and that vote has to be informed.
''I have my duties that I have to perform as a minister and I have my duties that I have to perform on the crossbench.
''It comes down to a governance issue; for better or for worse, this is how the election has turned out and I now have a set of responsibilities that are quite important to the governance of the territory.''
Mr Rattenbury is expected to finalise his staff of eight in the next day and said on Monday that he had rejected the idea of having separate offices for his ministerial and crossbench work.
''There won't be individual people who would be crossbench staffers or individual staffers - people will have ministerial tasks and some other tasks,'' he said.
''There was some suggestion that I should put people in a separate office but I just don't think that's practicable - it's a poor management technique apart from anything else.
''So it's for me to have the correct protocols in place around information security, for example … Just like people in other ministers' offices do ministerial duties and carry out other duties for their member, I will be in exactly the same place.''