Ever been watching TV or listening to the radio and found yourself wondering “how much do you reckon she/he gets paid?” Well, it’s your lucky day because the salaries of the ABC’s most high profile radio and TV presenters have been leaked.
Leigh Sales, Tony Jones, Richard Glover, Annabel Crabb, Jon Faine, Juanita Philips… the top eight presenters earning in excess of $250,000 have been named and it’s been an incredibly awkward 24hrs for them as details of their salary packages have been broadcast across the media.
That sound you can hear is every journalist in Australia falling over themselves to compare the leaked numbers with their own pay packets. Ouch.
The result is a whole lot of unhappy people. The ABC journalists on the list are pissed that everyone knows what they earn. The ABC journalists who aren’t on the list are pissed that they don’t earn as much as their colleagues. The Managing Director of the ABC, Mark Scott (who tried to block the information from being made publicly available after repeated requests from competitor News Ltd ) is pissed that the leak has occurred. If you thought you were having a bad week at work, just imagine the irate queue of people outside Mark Scott’s office.
But are you pissed? Maybe you are. Maybe you’re majorly pissed that the journalists who bring you news and current affairs are paid so much money. Money that comes from the federal budget.
The ABC’s competitors – including commercial radio and news organisations – want you to be. They say it’s outrageous that we-the-taxpayer are footing the bill for such big salaries. Leigh Sales only works half an hour a day, right? 7:30-8pm when her show is on air.
Not quite. To do her job as well as she does, she must be across the latest national and international news, she must work closely with her producers every day for hours before the show to decide who to interview and then spend time preparing her questions. Yes, it’s her job but what’s worth considering is how much less she’s paid than someone doing a similar job on a commercial network.
FACT: Your contribution to the ABC’s annual $1.8b budget is surprisingly small, just 10c a day. And of course, that doesn’t just get spent on salaries. For 10c a day you get an extraordinary amount of content across multiple platforms including ABC TV, ABC Radio, Radio National, iview, ABC Kids TV and triple j. For free and without any advertising. All of this content is free from bias or any commercial interests and it exists purely to serve you not any shareholder.
So do you still feel ripped off by ABC salaries? Or are you proud of these Australian journalists for rising to the top of their profession and being paid well for their talents?