ABC given dead­line to dis­close stars’ pay

The Australian - - THE NATION -

The ABC will have to dis­close the iden­ti­ties of its high­est-paid stars by the end of next month, after a re­quest from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

The Her­ald Sun re­ports to­day that Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Mitch Fi­field has asked the ABC and SBS to re­lease a list of its jour­nal­ists and pre­sen­ters who earn more than $200,000.

Sen­a­tor Fi­field said if the broad­cast­ers did not co-op­er­ate, he would see to it that leg­is­la­tion force them to put out a list.

In a let­ter to ABC chairman Justin Milne, ob­tained by the Mel­bourne news­pa­per, Sen­a­tor Fi­field said the public de­served more trans­parency.

“Tax­pay­ers are en­ti­tled to ex­pect a high level of trans­parency about how their taxes are be­ing ex­pended on their be­half,” he wrote.

It was re­vealed ear­lier this year that the ABC’s top 20 pre­sen­ters each earnt more than $225,000. The public broad­caster con­firmed five of its pre­sen­ters earn be­tween $375,000 and $450,000, but would not name them.

Pauline Han­son’s One Na­tion was be­hind the push for trans­parency, as part of a deal to sup­port the gov­ern­ment’s me­dia re­form pack­age, which passed through the Se­nate last month.

In Bri­tain, the BBC must pub­lish the wages of staff earn­ing more than £150,000 ($253,000).

Sen­a­tor Fi­field said the ABC and SBS should pub­lish in their an­nual re­ports or on­line a list of the names, po­si­tions and salaries of all staff and on-air tal­ent who re­ceived more than $200,000.

“I re­quest that the ABC vol­un­tar­ily agree to pro­vide this en­hanced level of re­port­ing and dis­clo­sure,” Sen­a­tor Fi­field said.

ABC man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michelle Guthrie ap­peared to lash out at One Na­tion last week when she said there was “no press­ing need” to change the laws gov­ern­ing the ABC.

“Leg­is­la­tion de­signed to fur­ther a po­lit­i­cal ven­detta by one party un­com­fort­able with be­ing scru­ti­nised by our in­ves­tiga­tive pro­grams is not good pol­i­cy­mak­ing,” she said.

“The public un­der­stand and sup­port the ABC’s remit, know­ing that it pro­vides the qual­ity, in­de­pen­dence and com­mer­cial­free space that they want.”

Six ABC pre­sen­ters are on pay pack­ages be­tween $300,000 and $375,000, and a fur­ther nine earn from $225,000 to $300,000. The ABC also re­vealed it pays more than $437 mil­lion in wages.

‘Tax­pay­ers are en­ti­tled to ex­pect a high level of trans­parency about how their taxes are be­ing ex­pended on their be­half’ SEN­A­TOR MITCH FI­FIELD

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