Australia Post director Ahmed Fahour has resigned just weeks after his $5.6 million salary was revealed by a Senate committee, which dismissed calls for it to be concealed from the public.
The Government-owned business had attempted to conceal Mr Fahour’s salary — which is 10 times more than the $507,338 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is paid — because it would result in “unwarranted media attention”.
But the Senate committee said his salary was overwhelming in the public interest and revealed a $4.4 million pay packet and a $1.2 million bonus, taking his total package to $5.6 million.
Mr Turnbull said that salary was “too high”, while Communication Minister Mitch Fifield called on Australia Post to explain the high salaries before the Senate estimates committee.
“As someone who has spent most of his life in the business world before coming into politics, I think that’s a very big salary for that job,” Mr Turnbull said.
But Mr Fahour, who resigned on Wednesday and will step down in July, said suggestions his resignation was due to the salary revelations was “completely not true”.
He said his seven-year tenure at Australia Post was “a fair innings” and it was the appropriate time to stand down.
Liberal Senator James Paterson, who decided to reveal Mr Fahour’s salary, said the resignation provided a chance for Australia Post to increase its transparency.
“They should do so bearing in mind that Australia Post is owned by taxpayers, who expect it to be well run and don’t mind the executive team being generously remunerated — but not beyond community expectations,” he said.
“They are also entitled to the absolute best standards of transparency, not the bare minimum required by law.”
LNP MP Andrew Laming said Mr Fahour was “cutting and running” a week before Australia Post faced a grilling in Canberra.
Resignation ‘Another blow for transparency’
Labor Senator Anne Urquhart said Australia Post’s decision to quit a week before the Senate inquiry was “another blow for transparency”.
But Mr Fahour said the timing of the Senate inquiry had no bearing on his decision to resign.
“I always love seeing the senators and I’m sure it will be good fun, but I’m not sure what we are going to talk about now,” he said.
Mr Fahour also addressed the scrutiny about his salary for the first time since it was revealed last month, saying he was in charge of a complex organisation that was competing with “several hundred-billion-dollar organisations”.