Malcolm Turnbull says 'a cult of excessive' means a lot of CEOs are overpaid

Photo: IMDb.

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, the nation’s $500,000 CEO, has accused corporate Australia of running a “cult” of excessive pay.

Speaking on 3AW this morning as the controversy over the $5.6 million pay packet of Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour continues, Turnbull said the CEO should say “this is too much” and take a pay cut.

Details of the remuneration for senior Australia Post executives emerged against the company’s wishes earlier this week. The government-owned company’s top six executives, including Fahour, banked around $17.4 million in combined salaries, bonuses and retirement benefits last financial year.

Turnbull told 3AW Fahour’s pay was “way too much”.

“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 said.

“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.”

The country’s top postie has received $23 million over six years, with a further $4.3 million in the pipeline on retirement.

The prime minister said a “cult” around executive pay meant “a lot” of CEOs were overpaid

“I think there are a lot of corporate CEOs, by the way, that are overpaid,” he said.

“I think it has become a sort of, I don’t know it’s almost a cult of excessive executive CEO remuneration.”

Turnbull also turned his attention to political largesse, describing the Gold Pass, which gives retired MPs 10 free return business class trips a year for the rest of their life, “a relic of a bygone era of perks” after veteran Queensland senator Ian Macdonald complained that MPs were underpaid, upset that the PM planned to abolish it in 2020.

“There were all these – you know – well they’re perks basically. That’s the only way you can describe them. It’s not the modern era. That’s why I’m abolishing them,” he said.

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