Turnbull tries to shame Australia Post CEO into voluntary pay cut

Ahmed Fahour's $5.6M pay package caused outcry when it was revealed on Tuesday
The Prime Minister has criticised Ahmed Fahour's pay as far too high.

Malcolm Turnbull says Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour should admit his huge pay packet doesn’t pass the “pub test” and take a salary cut.

Speaking to 3AW radio today, the prime minister says he knows and respects Fahour, whose $5.6 million salary and bonus package for 2015-16 caused outcry when it was revealed by a Senate committee on Tuesday.

“Ahmed Fahour is a very talented man. I know him well. I have a high regard for him. But, that is too much money for that job.,” Turnbull says.

Asked by 3AW presenter Neil Mitchell whether Fahour should volunteer to take a pay cut, the prime minister agreed.

“He is a good bloke. But you know, you’ve got to have a bit of objectivity here,” Turnbull says.

 “I think Ahmed should step back and say, you know, here in 2017, in an economy where a lot of people are doing it pretty hard, where budgets are tight, this is too much to be paid as CEO of a government-owned postal company.”

But Turnbull admits that Australia Post’s board – which has some government-appointed members – has control of executive payments at the company, not the government.

 Fahour was paid a $4.4 million salary and $1.2 million bonus in the last financial year.

 The ABC reports that Australia Post stopped publishing information about executive salaries in its 2014-15 annual report.

But Senator James Paterson, who heads the Senate’s communications committee that revealed the CEO’s pay, told the ABC that as Australia’s highest-paid public servant, Fahour’s salary is a matter of public interest.

Criticism the huge pay packet was fuelled the memory of almost 2,000 jobs at Australia Post in 2015, as well as by cuts to its services that mean regular letters are delivered more slowly.

 Meanwhile, The Australian reports today Fahour could leave Australia Post right now with $1.8 million worth of pension benefits.

That’s because he joined Australia Post in 2010, which means he qualifies to take part in the gold-standard defined benefit pension scheme now closed to new members that pays a retirement income based on a worker’s final salary.

The newspaper did its figures based on Fahour’s base pay, but if bonus was thrown in, he’d receive $4.1 million worth of benefits, it reports.

In the face of intense criticism, Australia Post on Wednesday defended Fahour’s remuneration, which it says “takes into account the size and complexity of the organisation.”

It says Fahour received a bonus in the 2015-16 financial year because the Australia Post returned to profit, and that he hadn’t received a bonus in 2014-15 when it made a loss.

The company made a net profit of $36 million in 2015-16, on the back of a loss in 2014-15 of $222 million.

“Since 2007 Australia Post has paid more than $6.3b in dividends and taxes to the Federal Government,” the company says in a statement. “Australia Post does not receive any taxpayer funding.”

Would you take a voluntary salary cut if you were Australia Post’s CEO? Do you think it’s fair for any company boss to receive a multi-million dollar pay packet? What do you think of Australia Post’s service?

  1. Roy Bridges  

    People have short memory,the results since he been their have been a disgrace first time lost money under him the service is appalling everything takes longer. He should go and so should the board how could you support his wage like the board did on Wednesday talk about jobs and pay for the elite club. This is appalling!

    • Moira  

      Well said Roy….time to remove them and start anew !!

  2. carl price  

    um isnt his poistion a public service position…… then why is he getting so high a salary in the first place…..

  3. Bronwyn Schulz  

    He and the board and other executives should be sacked this is outlandish. This type of behaviour has to stop. What’s the phrase being thrown about ” the age of entitlement is over” well it should start at the top. If as Mr Turnbull says he is a descent guy then he should stop this wickedness to the Australian people.

    • K Johnston  

      Reduce his salary and cancel his bonus THEN sack him – save all that payout money

  4. Julie Miller  

    Now I know why we have to pay so much for postage stamps

  5. Pamela  

    What a waste of space Turnbull is!

    As if someone ripping off Australian taxpayers feels any sense of ‘shame’.

    Fire Fahour and those who approved that obscene payment.

  6. Therese  

    I totally agree – the salary is obscene, but let’s keep it in perspective – he didn’t set the salary – he just accepted it. Are we concerned about the salary or because he is Muslem. They need to be separate.
    There needs to be a salary cap for semi govt businesses as with Public Servants. They have grades and are paid according to their grade -so should Aust Post

  7. desleigh clarke  

    Well all those expensive mosques (no women allowed)& schools have to be funded somehow, I believe he donates at least half. The rest is raised through sneaky halal taxes that we ALL have to pay, no other religion gets it. He made the profit by raising postage by a huge amount then sacking half the posties so now we only get delivery 2 -3 days a week.
    The whole board should be sacked for allowing it – wonder how much they all take???? More snouts in the trough.

  8. Paul Seymour  

    It is absolutely ludicrous that he is paid that much or basically any semi controlled government dept employee the board that agreed with this should be sacked and so should he as he has made no improvements only made the post worse!
    I am sick of the government or their and their so called experts making such stupid accessments not only is he being paid to much but he sacks 2000 employees which on average would put more money into the economy than he does

  9. Shanti  

    This multi-million dollar salary and bonus is obscene! The board should be fired for offering it, and he should be fired for accepting it. For him to be receiving this much money , in the face of firing so many people, raising postal prices but not improving delivery times is just ludicrous! If he is not fired, then his salary should be reduced to below the million dollar mark!

  10. Lyn Hassall  

    If we’re honest, most people wouldn’t voluntarily take a cut. That requires good will and anyone with good will would not have agreed to the salary in the first place. He should be “let go” and the asking salary reduced by nine-tenths. He would not be the only “talented, good bloke” who could do the job and would do it for $440,000 a year.

  11. Diana  

    He’s not being paid this money because he is a Muslim. He could be a Calathumpian and it would still be a disgrace that someone can get this much money in what is a public service company. Australia Post has been struggling for several years – and is it any wonder when they are paying this amount for one man? They sacked at least 800 workers in the last year or so and still this character gets this money and BONUSES? Sack the board and get someone in who is worth the money – such as three hundred thousand or a little more.

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