Liberal MP Earning $200,000 A Year Says She Could Live On $40 A Day

Prove it.

Julia Banks Newstart Youth Allowance

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Liberal backbencher Julia Banks, whose base salary is $199,040, has told the ABC that she could live on $40 a day: and now people are challenging her to do exactly that.

Banks’ declaration comes as debate heats up about whether Newstart and Youth Allowance payments should be raised in Tuesday’s federal budget. One top economist said yesterday that the dole payments were “our standout failure as a nation“.

So can Banks live on $40 a day? The opposition says… nah.

“I’m not sure this Liberal MP understands the 40 bucks a day includes rent, petrol, power, water, rego etc. it’s not 40 bucks left over for brunch and high tea,” Labor MP Brian Mitchell wrote on Twitter.

And Labor leader Bill Shorten piled on.

“I do think that there is a real problem for the government payments to people at the very bottom of our society,” he said when asked whether he could live on $40 a day.

“We’d contemplate reviewing it because we’ve got to be honest, don’t we? Who on earth among the government or anyone in parliament could live on the Newstart Allowance? That’s why we’ve said we want to review it, and we think the government would be very sensible to join us in this approach.”

Some economists, business leaders and politicians are starting to get behind the idea of increasing the dole payments by $50 a week.

The chief executive of the Business Council of Australia told ABC radio this morning that Youth Allowance and Newstart need a bump to help those who are “shockingly disadvantaged”.

“I’ve been talking about this for years — you cannot live on $39 a day,” she said.

I guess there’s only one thing left to do: get Banks to give it a go.

And it’s important to note that as a federal MP she gets a bunch of travel and accommodation perks as well.

Between September and December last year, she charged the taxpayer $3,990 on parliamentary travel, $5,293 of airfares, $1,827 on the private car supplied to her by the government, and $401 on family travel costs.

It would take someone on Youth Allowance a year to get as much money as Banks was given for four months’ of travel.

Good luck to her.