17 October 2009

Million dollar men

The Friday 16 October edition of The Age advised us on its front page (Million-dollar public servant loses billions - see here) that the acting head of the authority that manages Victoria’s public sector superannuation last year received bonuses that took his remuneration above the million dollar mark – notwithstanding the fact that he managed to preside over the loss of more than $5 billion of state employees’ savings.

Nice one. For that money you can buy the services of both Treasury Secretary Ken Henry and Defence Secretary Ian Watt, each of whom had a total remuneration package in the last financial year of $488,560 (see Prime Minister’s Determination, on the advice of the Remuneration Tribunal, here).

Having had Dr Watt’s job ten years ago, and worked in Treasury a couple of times before that, I have some idea of what Ken Henry and Ian Watt do for their half million.

As a current director of my old university’s endowment fund, I have no idea what one does to shrink a fund from $41.3 billion to $31.1 billion i.e. by about 25% – over two years. It must be something very clever.

Of course, for the $2.9 million that Australia Post Managing Director Graeme John gets paid, you could throw in Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Terry Moran and get all three of the most highly paid Secretaries in the Commonwealth for two years. It must be a big job, running a business underpinned by the Government’s letter monopoly.

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