Calls for public servants to take a pay cut during the economic crisis caused by coronavirus are not helpful, and defended salaries as a small part of federal spending, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
Broadcaster Alan Jones asked Mr Morrison on Friday morning if politicians, the ABC and public servants should be forced to take a pay cut, at the same time as many workers around Australia were facing tough times.
"Look the percentage of total salaries of the budget is actually at the federal government very, very small," Mr Morrison said.
Pay cuts weren't ruled out, but Mr Morrison said it wasn't a priority for the government.
"We'll look at those things if that's necessary. But honestly, it's not something that I'm focused on."
While some businesses were struggling, others like the supermarket giants and major mining companies were going as normal, or even better than normal, Mr Morrison said.
"I don't think it's actually helpful in a crisis to stop having people turning on each other about who's getting what," Mr Morrison told Mr Jones.
Politicians and senior public servants whose salaries are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal have had their pay frozen after a request from the government to the tribunal.
Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman had been calling for all public servants paid more than $100,000 a year to take a pay cut of 10 per cent, believing it was unfair that the public sector was protected from the pain being felt elsewhere in the economy.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Sky News that politicians and senior public servants wouldn't have their pay increased in the current context.
"I have written to the Remuneration Tribunal, urging them to freeze pay rates," he said.
"I am not sure how this sort of suggestion would help in the context of the budget challenge. It is essentially at the margin. I think that MPs and public servants are working very hard right now to work through this period."
Last month Health Minister Greg Hunt wrote a glowing letter to all public servants to thank them for their work.
"Many of you are working around the clock, literally. We could not be more appreciative or thankful," Mr Hunt wrote.
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