Archive for December, 2011

December 3, 2011

Fat pay rise to keep pollies serving the rich

PM Julia Gillard’s imminent $90,000 pay rise is more than twice the estimated median wage of for all employees, full-time or part-time*, 15 years of age or over in Australia. This means that the total actual pay of more than half of all workers in Australia is less than the PM’s expected pay rise.

The $40,000 pay rise expected for backbenchers will also be more than the total wage of large numbers of Australian workers.

Meanwhile, nurses, teachers, Qantas baggage handlers and other workers are battling to with pay increases just to cover cost of living rises.

The PM’s new pay of $470,000 a year will be more than that of US President Barack Obama ($400,000) and British PM David Cameron ($221,000).

A common justification for these lavish pay rises for politicians is “you get what you pay for”. It is the same excuse that corporate CEO’s use to justify their stupendous pay. And the greedy pollies are quick to point out that their pay is lagging way behind that of the corporate CEOs of the biggest 100 companies in Australia.

The PM will only get more than 10 times the median income of all workers while the top CEOs will average 45 times more.

But the comparison between CEO pay and politicians pay makes sense if you look at it from the point of view of the big capitalists who count on both the CEOs and the politicians (or most of them) to serve their narrow interests. From these capitalists’ point of view it’s simply about buying their loyalty to the capitalist class.

We are told we live in a democracy and that the politicians are our representatives who we elected. But that’s not true. The capitalists fund the election campaigns of the major parties, use the mass media they own to “help” us make our choice in the ballot box and then bribe the so-called representative to serve their interest.

Real democracy is yet to be won in Australia but Green Left Weekly is one institution strongly committed to that objective. But we’re a people-powered organisation and we need your help to keep going.

If the PM’s $90,000 pay increase could be diverted to the Green Left Fighting Fund it would take us comfortably over our $250,000 target. But that isn’t going to happen is it? So it is up to you, our readers and supporters, to get us there.

You can contribute online today to the Green Left Fighting Fund and help keep alive a voice for justice and democracy. Direct deposits can be made to Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or donate on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia).

* Given the rapid casualisation and shift to  part-time and reduced hour in the Australian workforce, it is less meaningful to only consider full-time income. According to the latest ABS figures, 3,394,800 of Australia’s 11,462,300-string workforce was on part-time.