The new Greens MP in Brisbane’s federal seat will quadruple his salary and has only visited Parliament House in Canberra once.
29-year-old Stephen Bates’s life is about to change dramatically, but he must work three shifts at his retail job this week before he can focus on his new parliamentary role.
“I still have to pay my rent,” he laughed.
“It will be a very strange feeling.”
Mr Bates today resigned from his sales job at Chermside and says he is still mastering his win over LNP member Trevor Evans, former head of the National Retail Association.
“It’s still not getting through to me, to be honest. It’s still not getting through.”
Paying for new MP is ‘insane’
It means a dramatic pay rise – a federal MP’s base salary is just over $211,000.
“It’s insane,” said Mr. Bates.
“I quadruple my current salary.
“Personally, I think politicians get way too much money.
“That is an indictment of our system that we are creating this political class that is so out of touch with what the rest of the country is experiencing.”
Mr Bates says he has only been to Parliament House in Canberra once before.
“Once, like five years ago, about an hour,” he said.
“I was actually in Canberra for a job interview and before flying home I just got in the front, took a picture and left.”
In a historic result, Queensland is sending three Greens MPs to Canberra: Stephen Bates in Brisbane, Max Chandler-Mather in Griffith and Elizabeth Watson-Brown in Ryan.
The party is also on track to pick up an additional seat in the Queensland Senate.
They have made climate policy and affordability of housing their priorities.
Mr. Bates says he was motivated to enter politics after working at Disney World in the United States and finding a colleague on the floor crying as she had to choose between buying insulin and paying the rent.
“That was such a lightbulb moment for me,” he said.
“We were making $7.50 an hour, the US minimum wage, when this company we worked for was making literally hundreds of billions of dollars in profits.”
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