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John Passant

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November 2010



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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)



It’s the rich what gets the gravy

$16 million. That’s how much Ralph Norris, the boss of the Commonwealth bank, gets paid a year to screw us with over the odds mortgage rate increases, high credit card charges, fees for lending our money to his bank and exorbitant small business loans.

He’s also paid that money to work his poorly paid staff to the bone because it is ‘too costly’ to employ more staff. He calls the result customer service. 

Remember this is the same bank that last year offered some of its staff a wage freeze and the rest a real wage cut.

When it comes to Christmas 365 days a year, Norris is not alone. All the banking bosses are raking it in. According to Matt Drummond in the Australian Financial Review yesterday the ‘combined pay cheques for the big four bank chiefs have grown by 70 percent over the last five years. ‘

And it’s not only the banks. The ACTU report on executive pay shows the CEOs of all the top listed companies have been doing extremely well, thank you very much.

The ACTU’s Executive PayWatch found that the total remuneration of the average CEO this year will be $6.4 million. That’s a 17 percent increase over the last year, or an extra $940,000.

By comparison full time workers’ wages went up 5.2 percent. For someone on the average wage, that’s about an extra $3200 a year, not much more than the $2600 daily increase for CEOs. 

The ACTU has expressed righteous indignation. But it will do nothing other than huff and puff. It is part of the problem, letting chief executives get away with these huge increases while for example meekly accepting pay freezes on the low paid in 2009.

It is not as if CEOs and capital deserve this largesse.

The parasites across the globe who bought you the global financial crisis, instead of being before the courts for their actions, are stuffing their pockets with more of our money as if 2008 had never happened. Yet in country after country, from Europe to North America, ordinary workers are being thrown on the scrap heap.

 No one can contribute 100 times the worth of the average worker.

Indeed, bosses contribute no value at all. The real creators of profit are workers.  CEOs merely shuffle the value we create around the monopoly board.

Both Labor and the Coalition are entombed in the failed ideology of neoliberalism. Over the last 3 decades both parties have overseen a massive increase in inequality in Australia as part of a deliberate trickle down strategy.

Labor in Government will do nothing about obscene executive salaries. It worships at the altar of profit and these huge CEO pay packets are a result of the magic of the market. To attack them would upset the sensibilities of this mythical market god and if enraged he could bring all sorts of plagues upon our houses.

The ACTU says that the profit share of national income is now near the record highs it reached in 2008, while wages share of income is the lowest since 1964.

So why doesn’t the ACTU lead a wages breakout to right that historic wrong? Well, it too believes in the trickle down theory.

Since 1983 it has collaborated with the bosses to engineer this massive shift in rewards to capital. It has destroyed rank and file organisation in unions and abandoned industrial action as the way to defend and increase wages, conditions and jobs.

The result of this failed class collaborationist strategy? Union membership at very low levels. Historic shifts in the share of national income going to capital. Massive increases in inequality. And Ralph Norris on $16 million a year.

Instead of just whingeing about executive salaries, ACTU, do something. Lead an industrial campaign to win back what the profit vultures have stripped from us over the last few decades.  If a 17 percent pay increase is good enough for the bosses, it is good enough for us too.



Comment from billie
Time November 18, 2010 at 10:55 am

They say that an equitable society is one where the top salary is less than 22 times the lowest salary.

I know people whose fathers and grandfathers were managing directors of firms that were household names in teh 1950s and 1960s and thir salaries were substantial but not at the obscene levels of today’s CEOs.

In one instance the CEO who guided the firm from inception, building a new factory, retired on $75,000 was replaced by 2 men on $75,000 who increased their salaries in the following year to $250,000 each. At that time the metal trade award was $63 per week.

Comment from billie
Time November 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Forgot to say why I think its important to live in an equitable society.

In my experience the health care available for my well healed grandparents when they were elderly was much poorer than the care available for my parents when they were elderly. Yes there have been improvements in health care but Australia has also introduced universal health care which has guaranteed the doctors would be paid for all treatments required which has given them the confidence to attempt costly treatments and become experienced in their use and effectiveness.

Education, since I left school teachers recieved a massive boost in salaries and conditions. This attracted people into the profession and retained good teachers, so that the standards of education offered to our children today are better than that offered to previous generations. Most people in my generation left school at age 14 to work in factories or 16 to work in offices in an era where workman’s wages were low and women earnt 2/3 male wage, irrespective of whether they had a husband or were the sole breadwinner. Of course families who couldn’t look after their children had to leave them in orphanages where the children were brutalised etc

I think Australia was a better place when it had a vibrant manufacturing sector, the CSIRO was strong, before we had the idea of small government and public private partnerships to build infrastructure and the biased industry funded research eg BHP paying a Newcastle University engineering professor who is a climate skeptic to question the science of global warming and need to cut carbon emmissions

Comment from AdamC
Time November 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm

There doesn’t seem to be anything new here at all, just rather crude fat-cat bashing. It is not even clear why it is a problem that CEOs are paid so much.

How would it help anyone to somehow (through industrial action, legislation or otherwise) reduce the salaries of highly-paid executives? Aside from ideological satisfaction, that is.

Comment from Jo Stalin
Time November 19, 2010 at 5:13 am

You hit the nail on the head AdamC. The back-bone of this communist nonsense is not really improving the lot of some people but rather the TEARING DOWN of others. Make everyone equal by making everyone poor.

Why should I really care if some bloke gets 16, 20 or 50 million dollars? Richard Branson is a billionaire – should we tear him down as well? The guy has created enterprises that employ and support thousands of people and have brought his country a net gain of billions.

The standard of living for the average person in Australia today is orders of magnitude higher than it was in those days when that bloke’s grandfather got $75k to run the company, so who really cares that some people are doing so much better than others – we are ALL doing better, thats the main point.

But the Commies don’t get it and they never will because for them it is all about looking into someone elses plate – it is doctrinal envy.

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