ABC salaries again under scrutiny

doorabcThe annual question of “how much does the ABC pay its personalities?” has arrived early this year, with The Australian reporting the broadcaster has declined to detail its salaries for some of its biggest names.

This is hardly the first time this issue had made the press, and it probably won’t be the last.

A Freedom of Information request was lodged more than two years ago by the Herald and Weekly Times, seeking access to documents “dealing with salaries, or any payments” paid to program makers working on 13 programs, including Media Watch and Four Corners.

The documents include individual employment contracts, Australian Workplace Agreements, Individual Transitional Employment Agreements, pay slips and other “payment records”.

But ABC lost its most recent appeal just before Christmas when the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled against it, rejecting the ABC’s arguments and saying some evidence it had put forward was not relevant and “of little assistance”.

The ABC said the documents it had were exempt from FOI because they were either “program material” or “in relation to program material” but the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner rejected it. An appeal by the ABC was also unsuccessful.

ABC has previously claimed revealing such details could see talent undermined by more lucrative offers from commercial networks. In the past it has addressed such claims by grouping salary figures together, rather than detailing individual pay packets.

So far, nobody has ever bothered to apply the same questions of SBS.

For the 2012 financial year, 401 ABC employees earned more than $150,000 each, up from 312 the previous year.

The ABC has 28 days to lodge an appeal.


  1. I don’t see why this is relevant. I agree with maybe looking at the overall budget (for budgetary/senate committee purposes), but not to fill column inches for Herald Sun.

    It sounds like it would be some tawdry bit in Sydney Confidential…

  2. The ABC staff salaries should be subject to the same rules as other public servants. It up to the AAT to decide what is in accordance with legislation and regulations, not News Corp.

    While many stars at the ABC could make more money in the commercial sector, there are a lot of other employees who work less hours for more money and benefits, with better conditions and job security than they would get in the private sector. That’s the advantage of public sector unions.

  3. Surely GG are you honestly telling me that Mel on Sunrise works hard for her $800K a year,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, don’t begrudge ABC staff working on a lot less and harder.

  4. @Secret Squirrel, my remark is based on many years working alongside people from the ABC, and observing their attitudes, work ethics and the overall culture of the organisation.

  5. The fact that this report appears in a News Corp publication says it all – here we go again! The whole organisation is afflicted with the Bolt Syndrome – play the same 3 songs over and over and try to disguise them as original thinking by giving them new titles.

  6. People I know who have worked there were paid a lot less than they could get in the commercial sector. And they managed to get great things done on very tight budgets. Also, I tend to agree with some other comments about the Murdoch press being obsessed with the ABC. I wish they’d give it a rest.

  7. Do News Corp and Foxtel publish their executives salaries and performers remuneration? I don’t like the idea of my salary being published on this site for all the industry to see. I thought with Kim Williams at the helm they may have refrained from such unedifying behaviour. Classy. Not.

  8. The Murdoch hate campaign against the ABC strikes again! They will only be happy once they get to buy it or have it shut down. Anything to prop up Foxtel.

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