A BBC Program the ABC Won’t Like

A BBC Program the ABC Won’t Like, by Tony Thomas.

Britain’s national broadcaster, much against its will, must soon reveal the gold-plated salaries of top stars and lesser lights. Given the ultra-comfy pay deal our ABC collectivists have just awarded themselves, PM Turnbull will want something similar here. Yeah, right.

The BBC is now committed to disclosing the pay of its on-air stars from next year. So can our ABC continue to claim that the pay of Tony Jones, Phillip Adams et al is a state secret? It sure can, until we have conservative politicians with the will and the Senate numbers to bring ABC pay levels into the daylight. …

Theresa May’s culture secretary, Karen Bradley, says broader disclosure will make the BBC “more open and transparent about its operations”, explaining that  “licence fee payers have a right to know where their money goes. By making the BBC more transparent it will help deliver savings that can then be invested in even more great programs.”

The pay of senior BBC executives is already disclosed. The UK government says the secrecy around talents’ pay is an anomaly.

How much do ABC personalities get paid?

In Australia the only facts about ABC staff salaries relates to 2011-12 pay levels for  some 100 Individuals in on-air roles and in the bureaucracy, all earning more than $170,000.

  • Tony Jones, Q&A, $355,789
  • Juanita Phillips, newsreader, $316,454
  • Richard Glover, 702 Drive host, $290,000
  • Jon Faine, 774 Mornings host, $285,249;
  • Leigh Sales, 7.30 host, $280,400
  • Chris Uhlmann, 7.30 political editor, $255,400
  • Fran Kelly, Radio National Breakfast host, $255,000
  • Barrie Cassidy, Insiders and Offsiders host, $243,478
  • Virginia Trioli, ABC News Breakfast host, $235,664.

Note that they have all stuck to the ABC like fleas to a dog, notwithstanding that the pay disclosures allegedly made them prime targets for poachers from commercial TV.

The pay disclosure was anything but deliberate: the ABC for years had fought off freedom-of-information requests about pay. But an Adelaide ABC  pay office staffer in October, 2012, sent SA Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire some harmless data on regional staff numbers, overlooking that sensitive payroll data was embedded in the same spreadsheet. This data found its way to The Australian. …

ABC  stars like Tony Jones, Emma Alberici, Fran Kelly and Barrie Cassidy top up their pay with speaking gigs for external parties at $5000-$15,000 a time. … Dr Karl Kruszelnicki got $10,800 for a single speech in mid-2014. Alberici got $14,300 for hosting an awards night for Austrade in 2013, and $15,000 for a two-day Wesfarmers conference in 2012. …

Apart from their comfy salaries, long-standing ABC staff are also aboard the gold-plated public-service super scheme for federal public servants. This gives them an indexed life pension. For someone retiring at 61 and with 33 years service, the indexed pension is 47% of salary.

The ABS says the average individual wage in Australia in November 2013 was $57,980 before tax. The average full-time wage is $74,724 before tax. These are the people whose taxes pay for the big salaries at the ABC. Is it any wonder the ABC identifies with the global elite, and slants the news to advance their interests?

Most all the journalists in Australia want one of these well-paid comfy positions, and know that they can never get one if they do not toe the ABC line — i.e. the politically correct line. So the news divisions of 7, 9, and 10 follow the ABC lead on stories, ensuring wall-to-wall political correctness on Australian TV.

Another excellent reason to privatize the ABC. Let’s find out how the market really thinks those guys are worth.