Crikey achieved a long-held ambition this morning by mentioning James
Packer’s pay packet, or lack of it, during a live television interview
on Channel Nine. Anyone who was watching Today at 6.45am would have heard the discussion about CEO pay packets conclude as follows:

Crikey: Rupert Murdoch owns 30% of the votes in News
Corporation. He doesn’t need to get a $30 million dollar salary
as well. It is not as if he is going to go somewhere else. I
would far rather see Rupert Murdoch do what James Packer does at PBL
where he takes no salary.

Karl Stefanovic: For the love of the company. Stephen, good to talk to you, my friend.

The Australian’sStrewth
column omitted one vital point when it carried the following this
morning: “James Packer is picking up a modest $80,000 a year fee for being
chairman (of Seek). That’s good money for not doing any work.”

No, James Packer doesn’t get any of that because he told the Seek
that his fee goes straight to PBL. This is standard practice when
directors are representing another company’s shareholding on a board.
It also means that James doesn’t get to keep the fees paid by
Financial Services, where he also represents PBL.

Maybe that’s why James Packer joined the Qantas board, so he could keep
the $116,775 annual director’s fee for himself, given that his
dad is so ridiculously tight-fisted in denying him more financial

Meanwhile, we just loved the following lines in today’s Daily Telegrapheditorial:

The news that Leighton Holdings’ CEO Wal King is getting an extra $23 million
on top of the $36 million he picked up in bonuses this year will no doubt cause
some eyebrows to raise.
In a rare bit of serendipity, it comes at a time when workers on federal
awards have been told they will not get their annual pay increase next June
because the Government’s Fair Pay Commission will not make a decision until the
end of the year.

Mr King’s bonuses and benefits alone could pay the weekly wage of more than
120,000 workers on the minimum rate of $484 a week.
An analysis of the top 300 companies on the ASX has found CEO salaries rose
by 44 per cent this year. Those on the minimum wage got a 3.6 per cent pay
increase. Can anybody seriously argue this is fair?

Apart from over-stating the size of King’s already outrageous package,
Murdoch’s season high $30 million pay deal last year is also worth
considering in the same context. Rupert could pay the annual $25,000
salary of 1,200 of Australia’s lowest paid workers out of his own generous package.

Incidentally, does anyone else think The Daily Telegraph’s
bleatings about looking after the worker should be taken seriously when
no other employer in the country pioneered AWAs and no-strike contracts
quite like News Ltd, as was noted in The Latham Diaries.