The big serious Budget analysis and overpaid CEOs

In this episode: the Budget 2023 announcement and our expert analysis… are CEOs in Australia paid too much? We speak to Rebecca Bachmann about this issue … and when there’s a Budget, there’s also a Budget Reply, we look at what the Opposition has got to say about it.

The Budget was released by the Treasurer Jim Chalmers, and Budgets always contain a strong political dimension that goes way past any balance sheets and figures that exist on the Budget pages. This Budget is a combination of the Labor government doing what they said that they would do during the 2022 federal election campaign: a cautious approach – probably being a little bit far too cautious – but they’ve directed funding towards some of those areas that were causing political problems – the single parent payment has been continued from when the youngest child turns eight to when the youngest child turns 14. Jobseeker payments have been increased by $20 per week – better than nothing, but it’s still short of what’s needed.

The Budget is also notable for what’s not in there: there was meant to be a greater source of revenue for mining and there was a substantial increase in iron ore revenues over the last year. The petroleum resources, rent tax was meant to have been improved substantially but it’s only going to raise $2.4 billion over the next four years. But the biggest political aspect of the budget is a predicted $4 billion surplus.

It’s cold comfort for the people at the lower end of the scale, who were hoping to receive more support. Despite these issues, it is a Budget that offers a good starting point for the future, rather than offering any substantial reform.

The CEO of Qantas Alan Joyce will leave his position in November, and during his 15 year term, he’s earned over $125 million, while Qantas made cumulative losses of $1.9 billion. There is a perception that CEOs in Australia are overpaid, and especially at a time when wages have stagnated over the past decade.

In the case of Qantas, there’s been an attack on workplace rights – they sacked 6,000 workers in 2020; it also grounded its entire fleet in 2011, and service quality has deteriorated over the past three years. Joyce hasn’t represented value for money for Qantas and is it the case where CEOs in Australia are being overpaid? Dr. Rebecca Bachmann from Macquarie University outlines some of the issues surrounding transparency and remunerations.

There was also a Budget reply from the Opposition leader, Peter Dutton, which didn’t seem to have much to say except for a continuation of the Morrison–Abbott–Howard philosophy of lower taxes, lower immigration, small government, complaining about the Labor government not being able to deliver surpluses in the future – despite the fact that a surplus has just been delivered. It’s a message for the electorate of yesteryear, and the world has moved on.

Music interludes:

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