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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 1029


Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (17:00): I rise to support the matter of public importance. I agree, and I am sure the overwhelming majority of Tasmanians believe, that due to the excessive remuneration paid to the CEO and directors there is a need to remove and replace the board of Australia Post. The Prime Minister earns $522,000 a year; the Managing Director of Australia Post, Mr Fahour, earns $5.6 million a year. In seven years, Mr Fahour's salary has doubled, in an organisation which the Australian government has significant influence over because it is a government business enterprise—and a government business enterprise has shareholder ministers on its board.

Last year Mr Fahour opted to forgo his $2 million bonus after public controversy. He donated that money to an Islamic charity run by his brother—I believe it is called the Islamic Museum of Australia, in Melbourne. A respected ABC political commentator, after research and crunching the numbers, says:

… chief executive of Australia Post is not just the highest paid man in the Commonwealth's service, he appears to be the highest paid postal executive on the planet. In fact, Australia Post's old annual reports suggest the top five executives all make more than $1 million a year.

And on Mr Fahour's watch postage stamps have climbed from around 50c to $1—they have doubled. While I hold the board of directors responsible, I also say that both Labor and the Liberals share the responsibility for the unreasonable spending of taxpayers' money. I would like confirmation that no political party or candidate has benefited from the generosity that subsequent governments have lavished on Mr Fahour and his lucky family. As a principle, I do not believe any person or organisation who receives money from or does any form of business with the government should be allowed to make political donations. Preventing such donations would go a long way to cleaning up corruption in Australian politics.

Mr Fahour's salary and bonus is an insult to every struggling Tasmanian. It is an insult to the brave and hard-working Australian Federal Police officers who may have to endure a cut in their danger money. Average AFP families whose breadwinner watches terrorists and organised criminals will, under this government's plans, lose $30,000 a year. The reduction in AFP resources has already been felt in Tasmania. While Mr Fahour became the world's best paid postal executive, this government removed 27 Federal Police officers from the Hobart airport after a $22 million budget cut, announced in the May 2014 federal budget. Hobart is now the only capital city airport in Australia without a permanent AFP presence. This government really needs to get its priorities right.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Bernardi ): Order! The discussion is concluded.