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The money myth

By Everald Compton - posted Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Controversy has raged around the five million dollars in salary and bonuses paid to the Chief Executive of Australia Post and the ridiculous manner in which those who were responsible tried to hide their stupidity.

Clearly, there is something wrong when the CEO of a Government Corporation is paid nine times that which is paid to his boss, the Prime Minister. Eye brows also rise when that CEO buys a home for around twenty million dollars and then spends five million renovating it. The underpaid postmen out on the beat in hot weather were somewhat less than impressed.

But, it did give the leaders like Wayne Swan an excellent platform to relaunch their much needed drive to have inequality taken seriously by politicians, voters and economists.


The Board of Directors of Australia Post is clearly to blame, absolutely out of their depth. Their Chairman is a politician with no business experience who was given a 'job for the boys' when his political career abruptly ended. Quite obviously, that type of political appointment must cease as it is of absolutely no value to Australia.

Now, all the financial pundits will rightly tell us that five million dollars is not a high salary for the CEO of a major corporation. The bosses of the major banks get around double that. They claim we are picking on Australia Post unfairly, but they forget that we are dealing with a government entity owned by the tax payers of Australia most of whom believe that they are worse of financially than they were ten years ago. Besides which, they generally despise banks and are also loud in their criticism of bank salaries too.

So we come to the key question. Does anyone need to earn more than five million dollars a year in order to have a good life? Do they work any harder or smarter because they earn that much. Some do, but not many.

This raises another question. Are there people out their who value their capacity to achieve great things far more than money they earn?

The clear answer is that there are.

One of the interesting developments world wide is the growth of not for profit corporations in which people are paid respectable salaries to achieve excellent things which will create a better society and give them huge personal satisfaction.


No one in those companies is paid more than a million dollars a year, there are no bonuses and all profits after taxes are ploughed back into the company.

Those companies are becoming more prevalent in Europe and North America, but are slow to catch on here in Australia. But, I have started two small ones and am planning a third which will be larger. They quite simply change work attitudes and better results occur for employees and their clients. No employee seeks wealth, just secure financial independence.

They have proved a vital point. Money actually demotivates genuine achievers as it diverts their focus. It is not the driver that the world has always assumed it to be.

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About the Author

Everald Compton is Chairman of The Longevity Forum, a not for profit entity which is implementing The Blueprint for an Ageing Australia. He was a Founding Director of National Seniors Australia and served as its Chairman for 25 years. Subsequently , he was Chairman for three years of the Federal Government's Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing.

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