ga('send', 'pageview');
John Passant

Site menu:

September 2009



RSS Oz House



Subscribe to us

Get new blog posts delivered to your inbox.


Site search


My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Surprise, surprise: Bosses’ salary bonanza

I don’t often read Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph.  But this week’s headline – Bosses’ salary bonanza – caught my eye.

So I shelled out $1.80 to read what this was about.  And sure enough they were right. 

At the time of the greatest downturn since the Great Depression, the bosses have been increasing their pay. The Sunday Telegraph put it this way:

Of the 32 top 100 Australian companies to have reported from the last financial year, 18 CEOs have taken pay rises averaging 10 percent.

Just to put this in perspective, over the same financial year the Australian share market fell 25 per cent. Company profits fell 18 percent.

But the real obscenity is that while our bosses were paying themselves even more for the failures of their system, that same system froze the pay of low paid workers. 

Ten percent for the filthy rich bosses, nothing for the low paid. That really does sum up the obscenity that is capitalism.

On top of that, for those who do keep their job, reduced hours means a cut in real take home pay.

While we are going backwards the bosses are racing ahead.

The sums involved are mind boggling. The average salary of the top 32 companies that have reported so far is $1.8 million, and that’s before bonuses and benefits. These extras can increase remuneration five fold.

The Sunday Telegraph did mention in the ensuing article, Crisis-proof pay packets, that its owner, Rupert Murdoch, had kept his base salary steady at $9 million.  News Limited has plummeted in value over the last year.

Clearly remuneration for Rupert isn’t linked to results.

Rod Quinn retired last financial year as CEO of Qantas.  He received nearly S11m for 5 months work. Qantas has sacked 1750 workers and is outsourcing more work.  Its profit fell 88 percent.

Quinn made $100,000 a day.  As Alan Kohler quipped on ABC TV, Quinn ‘earned’ the average wage before lunch. Not bad for a morning’s work.

The Telegraph article also mentioned Marius Kloppers, the head of BHP Billiton.

His salary is $2.4 million. The average wage is $60,000.

How is anyone worth 40 times more than the average worker in their company?

But it gets worse.

Klopper’s ‘total remuneration package’ went from  $US6,873,642 in the previous year to $US 10,399,589 last year.  This is a 51 percent increase.

Marius is worth 200 times more than the average worker in BHP Billiton. Really.

Ad what did this super genius preside over?  A drop in profit of 61 percent. 

So for Marius it is a 50 percent increase in remuneration.

And for his low paid workers? Nothing. Zilch. Sweet fuck all.

That’s for those who Marius kept on. This parasite also sacked 3000 workers.

This bloodsucker and his draculean mates are being rewarded for sacking people.

Don’t tell me class is dead.

There is no regulation of these obscene salaries, sorry, remuneration packages. Evidently we have to attract the best people to oversee a 25 percent fall in value.

Imagine what might have happened if these vultures on our labour hadn’t been in charge.

Compare the lack of regulation of the bosses’ pay with the plethora of laws workers have to abide by to get a pittance, or in the case of low paid workers, nothing.

Howard’s Workchoices legislation was over 600 pages long – all of it designed to prevent workers and their unions winning better pay and conditions.

Labor’s Fair Work Australia is another marathon of dribble.

It has the same goal as Workchoices, namely to stop workers fighting for and winning real wage increases and better conditions, but with an element of agreement and negotiation thrown in.

Evidently it is OK to attack wages and conditions as long as our trade union leaders agree to it.

Maybe we should turn the world upside down.  Let unions and their members have a free hand to win whatever wage increases they can above guaranteed consumer price index increases.

Instead of screwing the low paid let the ‘Fair’ Pay Commission determine what level of remuneration the profit bludgers should get. 

The average wage seems about right to me.



Comment from Dave Bath
Time September 21, 2009 at 11:36 pm

The only legislation in the domain is the Corporations Amendment (Improving Accountability on Termination Payments) Bill 2009. I don’t know if it’ll get through, but the treasury inquiry page (from which you can find links to quite a few self-serving submissions) here. First reading in reps version of the bill is at scaleplus

Fairly toothless, and with grossly insufficient scope if you ask me. I suppose the party officials responsible for revenue streams (aka donations) don’t want to bite the trotters that feed them.

Mind you, the Australasian Compliance Institute said a couple of useful things in their submission, including the following:

ACI notes that the proposed amendments do not indicate any consideration by Treasury of the circumstances surrounding the termination of the individual and would again refer to the statement issued by the European Corporate Governance Forum, included at the
top of the page, indicating their preference that termination payments should not be made in circumstances where termination is a result of poor performance.
We would support such a position and add that consideration should perhaps also be given to the withholding of termination payments in circumstances where the termination has arisen due to compliance and governance breaches by the individual concerned.

It’s also worth noting that in the golden age of Athens (forgetting for a moment about slaves), the difference in wealth between a hippe (non-aristocrat but considered wealthy class) and a “poor” citizen was only a factor of three. Put that together with Solon’s debt forgiveness, consider what Athens managed to achieve in that time, and there is some food for thought.

Comment from Benjamin Solah
Time September 22, 2009 at 9:49 am

The story about the ex-CEO of Qantas, Geoff Dixon, is truly vomit worthy. Almost beats Allan Moss getting paid more than $80 million for quitting a few years ago.

My dad didn’t get a redundancy package that big when he was given the axe.

Write a comment