ABC pay packets

Tony Llewellyn-Jones writes: Re. “What’s in Tony Jones’ pay packet, and whether you should know” (yesterday). While you’re at it, some of us in the “industry” would love to know what percentage of ABC TV production budgets go to ex-ABC TV producers and directors’ private companies and consultancies. Wonder what Kim Dalton will be paid as a consultant in his post-Head of ABC TV period? And while we’re at it, what percentage of ABC TV program purchasing goes to BBC TV?

Keep it up David Hill. Thou art spot on.

Vincent Burke writes: I am in favour of public disclosure of ABC presenter salaries across the board and not just the salaries of high profile “stars” of the public corporation. I hope they are being paid six figure salaries, because they deserve to do so.

I am more interested in knowing the salaries of the Adelaide 891 presenters because I suspect they are not being paid enough. You hear them regularly joshing that they can’t afford to do this or that and several of the high profile broadcasters on 891 have never or rarely travelled overseas. It has lead to a dumbing down (through a lack of broader experience) and the employment of small-minded people who make a virtue of their inability to travel or attend the arts, unless they get free tickets.

As for the ABC’s local journalists and news readers, you get what you pay for, and with a few exceptions we’re not getting good value for money. I bet most of those wielding microphones or reading the news get little more than the average wage and almost certainly less than 10% of the salary of their managing director.

There is an unbelievable hypocrisy in the ABC’s resistance to publication of their salaries. Imagine the public broadcasters’ indignant outcry if personal privacy were cited as a reason for not making known how much our politicans, government ministers or public service officials were paid.

Brian Mitchell writes: Of course we should know what ABC employees are paid, whether they are reporters, managers or executives.

The same goes for SBS and anyone paid from the public purse, from cleaners to CEOs and everyone in between, whether they work for government departments, government business enterprises, state governments or local councils. If you’re paid by the taxpayer, the taxpayer has the right to know.

The same rules should apply to contractors to whom public services have been outsourced. They are in effect paid by the public purse so the details should be publicly known, with “commercial in confidence” being stripped down to its bare minimum. It is ironic that journalists charged with advancing transparency squeal when the spotlight is shone on them.

Rupert climate change

Tamas Calderwood writes: Re. “Get Fact: Has Rupert got it right on climate change?” (yesterday). Chris Weston dismisses Rupert Murdoch’s comments as “utter bollocks” yet in his very next paragraph he states: “Changes in the intensity and timing of precipitation, extreme weather events and rising annual temperature trends are evidence of rapid climate change. So to is melting of polar region land and sea-ice and rising sea levels.”

So Get Fact this: Where’s the data on “changes in intensity and timing of precipitation”? If global hurricane activity is its lowest in 30 years, why the non-specific scare language about “extreme weather events”? Given that there has been no global warming for 15 years and just 0.75C in the past 150 years, where’s the evidence for “rapid climate change”?  Arctic sea-ice is down, but NASA shows Antarctic sea-ice has reached a new maximum extent.

Meanwhile, sea-levels are rising at their long term average of just 3mm per year, meaning by 2100 they could be a full 26cm higher! It’s funny how the language used in the climate debate is all portentous and scary, but when you look at the actual data there’s just nothing to be worried about.

Melbourne’s Myki

Gavin R. Putland writes: Re. comments (yesterday). No, Garry Andrews, the government does not require us to “physically turn up to polling booths”. It provides postal and absentee votes. In general, complying with our obligation to vote is made as easy as possible, subject to adequate verification of identity.

But the Victorian government does not make it as easy as possible to comply with our obligation to have valid transport tickets. On the contrary, it has just spent $1.5 billion on a new system that makes it harder to comply. Two more examples of the difficulty have just come to my notice via the Public Transport Users Association.

  1. We are told that we don’t have to touch off when using trams. But if you happen to board the same vehicle on which you touched on less than two hours earlier, without touching off, your attempt to touch on again will be a touch off. If you don’t notice, you will have committed an offence. And it’s an offence of “absolute liability”, meaning that an honest mistake is no excuse. Neither is this scenario unusual: if you take an outbound tram for part of its route, you’re likely to get the same tram on its return journey.
  2. Soon you’ll be able to use Myki on some V/Line services which stop at some Metro stations. But some of those stations will be designated “set-down only”, meaning that you can’t start a trip with a Myki. So if you touch on at “some” stations for “some” destinations you’ll be fine; otherwise you’ll be fined.

There comes a point where this sort of thing amounts to entrapment — which can’t be legal.

Peter Fray

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