There are two games in town: The lottery and the politico-corporate trough.
I was in my local post office yesterday and, while the young lad was serving me, we discussed the pay that Australia Post’s CEO earns. Amazingly, it is about $20,000 every day he works. And that is despite a 35 per cent fall in the operation’s earnings to $116.2 million (reported October 2014) and the announcement to lay off 900 jobs (June 2014), Ahmed Fahour gets around $4.6 – 4.8 million a year for managing this government business. (He allegedly donated $2 million to the Islamic Museum of Australia.)
In salaries, this is only the hors d’oeuvre. The main course is in the “debt creation” business. Banks have the extraordinary privilege (the license) to create money out of thin air. They loan money into creation – and the more they loan and create, the larger their personal bonuses!
In February the surge in bank shares sent the wealth of current and former bank chief executives soaring. The SMH reported that “Former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly walks away with as much as $80 million.” So, with most banking CEO’s earning on average $10 million per annum, it must be like winning the lottery every year.
Compare this to Oz Lotto. The odds of hitting a $10 million jackpot is about 3.87 million to one on 12 games.
You often hear, “But, we need to attract the best people for these jobs.” Once the salary game was established, it resulted in the escalating “competition” for higher and higher salaries for the top end of town. And many of these companies are beneficiaries of government (tax-payer) supported schemes.
But what about government?
Back in July, political extravagance was in the news. Former Speaker Browyn Bishop had chartered a helicopter to attend a Liberal Party function, and this revelation stirred up more detail of her luxurious travels abroad. She had spent about $309,000 on overseas travel in her first year as federal Speaker, with one trip costing around $90,000 – a sojourn that was partly aimed at trying to secure a plum new job as president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
After the kerfuffle, Bishop stepped down from Speaker (for “rorting” the system), but if or when she retires, it will be on a taxpayer-funded pension of $255,000. PLUS she will get her 10 free domestic return flights a year. I am not sure of her other perks like offices and secretaries, but that is about 20,000 a month until she departs this world.
Well, there is a way for the average “Joe” to obtain $20,000 a month (tax free). It is the new Lotto game that is taking Australia by storm, and it is on every night. This is the “other” game in town.
“Set For Life”
In this new tatts game you must guess 8 numbers correctly out of 37. And although it has only been running for about a month now, there have been three lucky winners so far – winning the 1st Prize of $20,000 a month for 20 years. Sadly, they don’t get the 10 free domestic flights and the other perks that Bronwyn will get.
I must be insane – but I am now playing “Set For Life”. Having (barely) survived in the film industry these last few decades, I am now hoping that my journalistic career can be supported by luck. My odds in winning $20,000 per month for the next twenty years is…
19,304,010 : 1 (for two games).
I am thinking that maybe I could encourage the readers of Gumshoe to donate towards a bunch of “Set For Life” games each night, (say $42.10 for 70 games each week) – and then pray that we hit the odds. With $20,000 a month we could set up a TV studio, pay writers, research and advertise. Ad-rev could bring in further income for expansion.
The ABC gets to spend about 83 million a month, every month – and yet they are still unable to have an honest discussion about Syria, Libya, General Wesley Clark’s revelation, Iraq, USS Liberty, 9/11 or Building 7 – and much more (except when Christopher Brooks calls Talkback Radio). $20,000 is what they probably spend on detergent each month.
But talking about “entitlements”, the Daily Telegraph estimated in their report, that “Mr Rudd – at 52, a young ex-prime minister – could receive about $20 million worth of allowances if he lives to 85…”
What if a minister stands in as acting prime minister just for a day? What becomes of this minister’s benefits? I have heard that the minister would be awarded the full entitlements to that of a PM. (Mary Maxwell has written to the government asking if this is true, but maybe I can ask Bob Carr.) Retired prime ministers are (rightly) entitled to an office and two secretaries, but I’ve heard that these secretaries can earn $300,000 per annum. (We will check this.)
I have also heard of another method (in the past) by which ministers got “rewarded”. A newspaper would print disparaging remarks – and the minister would then sue the paper. An amount (a bonus of sorts) would be paid to the minister in an out of court settlement, making a perfect legitimate, and disguised, “back-hander”.
The politico-corporate game is designed to “set people up for life” – while the promise of the lottery keeps the hopes alive of all the others.
However, I am thinking it would be an interesting journey to move to Canberra and try that “game”.