The Australian reports this morning that a number of federal MPs and senators who lost their seats at the last election were eligible to claim a total of $1.3 million in “resettlement allowances” under a little-known remuneration deal for departing parliamentarians. Because of the complicated nature of the calculations, it's (almost as though by design) difficult to come to an exact figure of how much each MP actually pockets after they leave parliament. Here we do our best to unpick it all.

Resettlement allowances

The resettlement allowance was set up in 2006 to provide “re-skilling and re-employment assistance”. Senators who sit in parliament for more than three years and MPs who serve more than one full term are eligible to receive the equivalent of six months’ salary, around $103,000. Below that, MPs and senators who lost their seats at the election were ­entitled to three months’ pay, more than $51,000. Essentially, this means a guy called Duncan Spender arrived in parliament with barely a vote cast in his name, spent four days at work, and on top of his salary, could pocket more than 50 grand of public money.