14 February 2017: Today KAP Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter delivered a Question without Notice in Question Time to the Minister for Communications about the $5.6m pay packet for the CEO of Australia Post – Ahmed Fahour.
Mr Katter’s Question raised Mr Fahour’s pay; the cost of postage doubling to $1 a letter; and the $2.8m pre-tax donation it is reported that Australia Post “mutually agreed” to give to the Islamic Museum of Australia, founded by Ahmed Fahour’s brother Moustafa Fahour, when in the same year 900 Australia Post staff were sacked. Mr Katter asked the Minister for Communications:
“Australia Post’s CEO pre-corporatisation received $360,000, Ahmed Fahour the current CEO enjoys $5.6 million.
France’s Postal Services CEO receives $1m whilst the United States CEO only $550,000.
Pre Fahour stamps cost 50c; now $1.
Minister, no more Christmas cards.
In 2014 Australia Post sacked 900 staff. In the same year, Mr Fahour’s Australia Post donated $2.8m to his brother’s Islamic Museum.
In light of Ahmed’s Australia Post’s generosity, Minister, could I get $30,000 to repair the Catholic Church in Julia Creek?”
On appointment in 2010 Mr Fahour was paid $2,086,710. This salary package has almost tripled in 6 years to $5.6m.
Mr Katter has highlighted exorbitant CEO pay as a consequence of privatisation and deregulation; and it is not limited to Australia Post.
“The case was strongly pleaded by Lance Hockridge, to privatise Queensland Rail. Mr Hockridge was the then CEO and as a senior public servant would have been on around $250,000 a year. Within a few years after privatisation he was reported to be paying himself a package in excess of $6m a year, for exactly the same job.
“According to the Australian and the Daily Telegraph with one article titled ‘Happy Dragon’, assuming these stories are accurate, it would mean Gail Kelly had received $77m in 8 years, between 2002-2009. “Happy Dragon indeed, but where is St George?” Mr Katter asked.
“Sol Trujillo for little more than 3.5 years at Telstra was paid $40m. Ben Butler at the Courier Mail said ‘complaints had a 241% increase in three years during Trujillo’s reign at Telstra’. Before he arrived at Telstra share prices were $5, when he left they were $3.
“Piketty in his landmark book, stated clearly that the world’s wealth now is going to the managerial class, which effectively sets their own wages. He makes the point that 100 years ago the world’s wealth was going to the owner class, the Carnegies, the Fords, the Rockefellers. People who risked their own money and built the motor vehicle industry, the steel industry, the American railways industry.
“It is now going to a class of people that really produce nothing. Particularly in Australia’s case they simply cut workforce numbers and send the jobs overseas. Then pay themselves an extra $1m a year for closing down an Australian industry. “They cry out for foreign investment, which of course means CEOs pay themselves increasingly more. Until now we reach the point where the only thing we export are jobs.
“Essington Lewis who created the biggest company on earth BHP, an Australian company, when he died he had an estate of $1.7m. In today’s terms an estate worth a measly $2.4m, which would not buy you a decent home in Sydney today.
“Essington Lewis, Les Thiess (coal), Lang Hancock (iron ore), Laurence Hartnett (motor vehicles) all died with very little money. Their riches were in another treasure chest which, please god, they are enjoying now.
“Their riches were what they gave to their fellow Australians. That was how those men measured their wealth”, Mr Katter said.