If you’re a would-be assassin, a John Wilkes Booth in the making, and the only thing that had stayed your hand was the fear of the financial future of the partner of our Prime Minister then this is the news story for you. Of course, if you don’t fit this description this isn’t for you and is definitely not a news story.
The Australian‘s Gemma Jones published an article this morning covering Tim Mathieson’s death dowry were Prime Minister Gillard to die first. You may well be thinking that there isn’t much of a story here, particularly as this payment applies to “any MP elected before 2004 who meets minimum service requirements” but that isn’t the case because don’t you know that the Prime Minister is capable of dying. It’s happened before. Some of our finest Prime Ministers have died so it could happen to Gillard too.
As the article details:
Widowed spouses and partners are entitled to just over 83 per cent of the tax-payer funded defined benefit retirement pensions afforded to MPs… The Prime Minister’s pension has been estimated at $177,000 a year.
This leaves Mathieson with a pension of approximately $150,000 a year. Beautiful. Now all he has to do is kick back and wait for the love of his life to die so he can live that sweet cashed up lonely life that we all dream about.
Let’s put aside for a moment that this pension would be considered $100,000 below struggling in Western Sydney. The Australian has uncovered a rort. Will the Prime Minister publicly announce that she is not planning to live an exceedingly short life so that we regular Joe Fatpacks have to reach into our back pocket and pay for her grieving spouse?
Of course she won’t. She’ll probably point to the fact that due to office costs and other pensions former Prime Ministers cost exceeding amounts of money and that an untimely death would be the smart fiscal decision.
The transparent glee evident in the writing of this article is indicative of thirty drafts passed back and forth between writer and editor in which hypothetical situations depicting the way Gillard might (and SHOULD) die were slowly edited away.
You can almost hear Paul Kelly say “You’re on the right track, Jones. We just need you to remove the four page description of a bear attack in Kirribilli House.”
Jones goes on to specify that even weird unmarried relationships between losers count as relationships:
Since Ms Gillard and Mr Mathieson’s relationship began while she was an MP, he would be entitled to a reversionary benefit if he lived longer than the PM.
Partners are recognised if they are “legally married, de facto spouses or a partner of a person with a relationship as a couple.”
Which leads me to the question I was politely screaming throughout this entire article: what is your fucking point? Why are you writing this, Gemma Jones?
This isn’t a piece on MPs pensions. It’s specific for a reason – because it will make people irate. All over this fine nation people are choking down their cereal, staring at their partner andthinking about, were their partner to die, how their lives would only get shitty and depressing.
Are we to assume that Tim Mathieson thought Amour was a film about a business opportunity?
Is it in the Australian public’s interest to know the sweet daiquiri-filled life that awaits Tim Mathieson as soon as he can arrange the death of his life-partner?
Or is it possible that The Australian published a shitty thing to get people from both side of politics irate because it’s really fucking hard to come up with news sometime?
Only time will tell. Fortunately, time is on Mr. Mathieson’s cashed-up side.