The West

A pay freeze for Federal politicians is a stunt say seniors, who face increased healthcare costs and pension changes in the Federal Budget.

Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday confirmed the Government would seek to freeze the salaries of Federal MPs and senior public servants for a year in the Budget.

The measure could cost the Prime Minister, who earns an annual salary of $500,000, an estimated $10,000, while the average backbencher would miss out on an estimated $3900.

"We've got to send a very clear message to the electorate that whatever we are asking the electorate to contribute to the Budget repair task, we are going to contribute ourselves as well," Mr Hockey told the Nine Network.

But the measure was rejected as a stunt by National Seniors Australia, who said it showed politicians were increasingly out of touch with those struggling on a fixed income.

Seniors face the introduction of a GP co-payment and higher costs for subsidised medicines in the Budget, as well as possible changes to pensions indexation.

"They'll (seniors) be quite cynical about it - I think they can see through stunts of this kind," National Seniors chief Michael O'Neill said. "I don't think this measure will increase in any way politicians' awareness of the struggles people face."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he was "up for a politicians' pay freeze".

But shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said the move would not appease voter anger over what is shaping as a tough Budget.

"If he thinks that freezing his salary is going to make Australians feel better about pension cuts, tax rises and other changes, I think he's kidding himself," he told ABC TV.


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