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The Age of Elite Entitlement in Australia

Mark Scott, the outgoing Managing Director of the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), was paid an annual salary of around $800,000. The incoming replacement, Singapore-based ex-Google executive, Michelle Guthrie, will receive $900,000. These are preposterous wages at Australia’s national broadcaster.

The poorer among us cough up a lung in disgust at CEO wages. There is no reason that explains a $900,000 wage in a public-funded position. It can’t be explained away by the CEO’s responsibility, or stress, or being on call every day of the year, or even skills brought to the position. And those who try to explain it away in those terms often state that it’s the wage we have to offer to get the right people for the job in a competitive market.

I graduated from my MBA in 2010 in the top fifth percentile. If we’re going to argue about attracting the right people to the CEO position then be prepared to look at leadership failures where that exact logic was employed. High wages do not guarantee leadership success. High wages exist to assuage risk averse boardrooms into overpaying for leadership experience.

My particular concern with this $900,000 wage at the ABC is that the last decade of Australian political rhetoric resounds with claims of an Age of Entitlement. The stripping of benefits from single mothers. The demonisation of the unemployed and disabled. The perpetual movement towards some kind of economic apartheid in Australian society.

The real people riding the Australian dime are restaurant-eating cigar-smoking elites who must roll on the floor laughing about their successful Media Coup. Because they own the media, the mines, the corporations and the Government. And they have convinced everyday Australians that any crisis is a result of the poor riding the workers’ dime. When the real crisis in Australian economics is clear – billionaire magnates and greedy corporations will not pay a fair and just amount of taxation. And, as evident by the $900,000 wage at the ABC, we vastly overpay management in the public sector.

Yes there is an Age of Entitlement in Australia. I agree with the self evident truth of that statement. It’s an entitlement in the halls of Power.

There are problems with wages of Australian Senators who are among the highest paid in the World. Australian tax dollars fund that Senatorial largesse of extreme opulence and workplace hedonism.

The incoming Managing Director of the ABC earns $900,000 per year (a phenomenal $17,307 per week).

  1. The President of the United States earns $400,000 per year ($7,692 per week);
  2. The Prime Minister of the UK earns $214,800 per year ($4,130 per week);
  3. The Prime Minister of Australia earns $539,000 per year ($10,436 per week);
  4. ex-Prime Minister Rudd receives a lifetime pension of $600,000 per year ($11,538 per week).

Match those political leadership wages with corresponding populations and responsibilities. It doesn’t calculate to common sense.

Yes, there is an Age of Entitlement in Australia. Our Prime Minister earns more than the most powerful leader in the modern World and Australian society reflects that sense of entitlement. Corporations refuse to pay adequate taxes. Workers have been turned on the poor in a political blame game that degrades our society. A blame game that ignores the fact there ARE NO JOBS.

I’m not advocating a revolution. What I’m saying is that we’re doing it so wrong in our society at this point that elite entitlement has achieved social normalcy. Nobody needs $17,000 per week for remuneration in public service.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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