What value privacy?

ABC employee Michael Janda doesn’t earn very much and so has little worth stealing.

$68,707. That’s my salary at the ABC.

You can add in a little leave loading here and there, the (very) rare overtime payment for (very) common overtime, and an employer super contribution that’s a bit ahead of the private sector standard (15.4 versus 9.25 per cent).

So far this financial year, including all overtime and extras but excluding super, I’ve earned a shade under $65,000 and had a bit over $18,000 in PAYG income tax taken out, pushed a bit higher than the usual rate because of HECS/HELP repayments.

As such he has little reason to value his privacy and …, well it shows. There is so much silliness there, but I’ll leave it for others.

Here is Richard Rahn, writing in the WSJ, explaining why some people might value their financial secrecy:

Those who demand increased taxes on global capital often rail against financial privacy and bank secrecy — forgetting they are necessary for civil society. It is true that not all people are saintly. But it is also true that not all governments are free from tyranny and corruption, and not all people are fully protected against criminal elements, even within their own governments. Without some jurisdictions in the world enforcing reasonable rights of financial privacy, those living in un-free and corrupt jurisdictions would have no place to protect their financial assets from kidnappers, extortionists, blackmailers and assorted government and nongovernment thugs.

Against that, Janda offers a confused mish mash of class envy.

Update: Milton von Smith reminds us why the ABC values privacy.

ABC Managing Director Mark Scott could not be reached for comment on Janda’s idea. Oh wait, yes he could:

The ABC has argued against releasing the salary information on the grounds that it is contrary to public interest and is connected to confidential programming material.

Mr Scott has previously argued that because the public broadcaster pays less than the commercial networks, revealing the salaries of its employees would make it more difficult to retain quality staff.

I guess that’s that then.

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46 Responses to What value privacy?

  1. entropy

    Also, as a public recant his salary should be fully disclosable to his employers, the LNG suffering taxpayer.

    Other people in the private sector are entitled to privacy with respect to how much they are paid as their business affairs are….private.

  2. stackja

    I believe Jews used Swiss bank accounts to hide their money from Hitler.

  3. entropy

    Bloody bus and iPad! Well, you can work it out.

  4. Alfonso

    Mickey explains his parallel universe.
    I avoid /minimise tax to the max, Mickey. Name and shame away matey, it’s a badge of honour. I’ll reply with ads detailing the casual, disgusting wastage of my tax dollars by the public service comrades.
    Reducing the tax receipts govt has available to fund Their ABC is god’s work.

  5. Token

    Against that, Janda offers a confused mish mash of class envy.

    In the world of haves and have nots at the ABC, poor little Mikey really is one of the little people.

  6. Token

    Against that, Janda offers a confused mish mash of class envy.

    It must be tough knowing how many hours he works for such little effort, and how much Blankets Holmes, Moose-knuckle Green, Red Phil Adams & Just-Hate-Da-Newscorp Barry make for much fewer hours.

  7. Marko

    And we’re paying for that idiot?

  8. Joe Goodacre

    I hadn’t thought about this from Rahn’s persepctive.

    Thanks Sinc.

  9. boy on a bike

    Michael Janda has been the ABC’s Online Business Reporter since 2009. He was the ABC’s first Business and Finance Cadet in 2008, and has since worked reporting finance across online, radio and TV. You can follow Michael on Twitter:

    So here we have a bloke only 5 years out of uni earning nearly $69,000. He can probably expect to double that if he sticks around for 10 years, which will put him into the top 10% of earners in the country. Flipping heck – he is doing OK.

    If he was 52 years old and had no career prospects, it would be a different story. But this bloke is at the start of his career and he is already on a very good wicket.

  10. Tel

    I believe Jews used Swiss bank accounts to hide their money from Hitler.

    I thought it was the Nazis using Swiss banks to hide their money from the Jews, or was that just a conspiracy? If only someone could check and find out the real story!

  11. Habib

    As a public employee this twerp in a net recipient of taxation. And paid about what should be the maximum for ABC flacks, I reckon APS6 is quite generous given their workload, accuracy and output. Let us know your gross and net when you’ve ventured your own capital and expended your own effort to generate wealth instead of swiping it, dickhead.

  12. boy on a bike

    SRC at Sydney University
    Organiser at Public Service Association
    Student at United World College – USA

    SRC
    Sydney University
    Educational Institution; 5001-10,000 employees; Higher Education industry
    2003 – 2007 (4 years)

    Education Officer, SRC councillor and executive member.
    Organiser
    Public Service Association
    2005 – 2006 (1 year)

    Student
    United World College – USA
    2000 – 2002 (2 years)

  13. Tel

    Hey on a serious note, given all the lawyers here I note that the Privacy Act recently changed.

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/pa1988108/

    So the old version used to have stuff about cooperation with law enforcement, but in the new version I can’t find it. Does anyone have the lowdown? IMHO they have made the whole thing much more vague and arbitrary and those Privacy Principles are unintelligible. You lawyers must be the most booming part of the enocomy.

  14. stackja

    Tel
    #1320266, posted on May 26, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I believe Jews used Swiss bank accounts to hide their money from Hitler.

    I thought it was the Nazis using Swiss banks to hide their money from the Jews, or was that just a conspiracy? If only someone could check and find out the real story!

    Both Jews and Nazis could have used the Swiss banks because of:

    The Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks (colloquially known as the Banking Law of 1934) is the law that governs the regulation of banks in Switzerland. It created the current regime of bank secrecy that Swiss banks are famous for.

  15. cohenite

    Comrade in the comments to Janda’s piece really nails the issue:

    You know the problem with capitalism, is that it works just fine until it runs out of other people’s money.

    Isn’t that clever?

  16. Des Deskperson

    ‘So here we have a bloke only 5 years out of uni earning nearly $69,000′

    Actually, it’s only the bottom of an APS 5 in the APS, and yet this guy is the ABC’s on-line business reporter, a job that, according to received wisdom, many people would die for . Maybe the APS is overpaid, but on the other hand there’s a huge gap between what this guy is getting – in a job for which there was presumably enormous competition – and what the senior people at the ABC are receiving and it shows up that organisation as, prima facie, extremely elitist and hierarchical, which is all the more reason why the taxpayer needs to know about ABC remuneration.

    Maybe his problem is that he isn’t shagging, or being shagged by, a senior Labor politician or a Labor mate or mate-ess.

  17. Combine_Dave

    Other people in the private sector are entitled to privacy with respect to how much they are paid as their business affairs are….private.

    So as public servants are… well publically funded that in the interests of accountability and good governance their wages should be publically available?

    I have a couple of govy colleagues who are on 100/150k+, due to cut backs/restructuring their duties consist of nothing but surfing news.com (and occasional meetings/training courses about nothing).

  18. wreckage

    LET’S HAVE SOME PERSPECTIVE HERE. Sure, there are people in the world who are at risk of extortion, murder, and other problems, if there is no financial privacy. But what we must never lose sight of is this one vital fact: I hate the rich.

  19. wreckage

    So as public servants are… well publically funded that in the interests of accountability and good governance their wages should be publically available?

    IMO, yes. They are, after all, our employees.

  20. Des Deskperson

    ‘their wages should be publically available’

    They are: the engagement or promotion of every non-SES APS employee servant is notified publicly in the Gazette – now, I believe, on line – and it includes their level and their salary. Increases in salary negotiated through enterprise bargaining are set out in agency Enterprise Agreements (EAs) that are also public documents, so if you know at what level a person was engaged at or promoted to, you know what agency they work in and you look up the current EA, you should know more or less exactly what they are paid.

    The only exception is SES employees, who are engaged at or promoted to a salary band. This, in my view, is an accountability flaw. The other is performance bonuses, always a closely guarded secret, but these payments have now pretty much died out.

  21. wreckage

    You know the problem with capitalism, is that it works just fine until it runs out of other people’s money.

    It works fine even then, since it runs OK on barter and exchange. Which socialism can’t allow, since barter and exchange are tax-minimizing.

    Face it, capitalism is that which is, socialism is an attempt to force the natural world to conform to ideals.

  22. Tel

    You know the problem with capitalism, is that it works just fine until it runs out of other people’s money.

    Since capitalism depends on voluntary exchange, I sincerely recommend those “other people” who do not wish to partake should keep their money in their pockets. No one is forcing them to contribute.

  23. john constantine

    nobody tunes in to the ‘mickey janda’ show. just have the abc on when he speaks.

    as work made for hire, with no ability to translate his audience into free market audience, damn near overpaid.

  24. dan

    Can someone please explain what is going on here? If someone is using tax dodges to reduce their taxable income, the income will be well…low…the deductions and loopholes take effect before the income is determined. So generally you could publish a high income earner’s salary and you would see that they earn say $300k and pay $100k in tax. Their real earnings/billings/cash coming through the front door could be anything.

    Each earned more than $1 million from investments or wages. Between them they made $195 million, an average of $2.6 million each.
    The fortunate 75 paid no income tax, no Medicare levy and no Medicare surcharge, even though 60 of them had private health insurance.
    The reason? They managed to cut their combined taxable incomes to $82. That’s right, $1.10 each.
    Cutting taxable income that far doesn’t come cheap.
    Forty-five of the uber millionaires claimed a total of $64.4 million [in accounting fees]

    Has the ATO released information this detailed, right down to the precise makeup of the anonymised taxpayers’ incomes and deductions and losses? Can’t people potentially be identified from the sample?

    If this clown’s idea came to fruition it wouldn’t be a matter of publicly declaring you earnt 300k per year, to make any sense you would need to release your entire tax return including all losses and deductions. Otherwise all you would see is (in the case of this sample) that someone earnt $82 that year and paid no tax.

    And WTF is up with these guys paying $1.4m a year for tax advice? These are people with allegedly total income from investments and salaries of $2.6m who are each paying $1.4m for the costs of managing their tax affairs?

  25. Petros

    The problem of course, Wreckage, is that the leftards will repeat this line without realising it’s nonsense and without ever hearing Thatcher’s original version.

  26. This ..er… person would seem to be economically illiterate (not innumerate) to a degree that he believes all tax deductions are illegitimate.

  27. Bruce of Newcastle

    Michael Janda actually is pretty talented as a financial journo. Unfortunately he looks like a 14 year old kid, which is a real drawback when it comes to credibility.

    I don’t care if he is a lefty so long as he does his job, which generally he does pretty well. As a preference though I would much prefer his colleague Elysse Morgan, she’s quite hot.

    OK, I’ll creep back into my cave now.

  28. blogstrop

    Michael J. Ampersand regrets,
    He’s unable to lunch today.
    It’s not that he lost on his bets,
    Just the paucity of ABC pay.

  29. If that dildo thinks for one minute that publishing tax returns is a good idea he can shove it.
    That would inform my competitors just how much money I make, and how much it costs me to run the show.

    He’d better stick to writing on a govt salary. Thinking things through is not his strong point.

  30. dan

    The problem, of course, with Kerry Packer’s attitude to tax is that those who can’t or won’t minimise their tax – i.e. the vast bulk of people who simply can’t afford to get high-end tax advice and set up complex financial structures – end up footing the bill for the wealthy who do.

    Yes Michael, I’m sure you are somehow footing the bill for people like me who have a tax bill more than twice as much as your entire salary.

  31. Pyrmonter

    @ Bruce

    Are you familiar with his work? Regular old Sydney Political Economy nonsense – everything is about income distribution, and anything that doesn’t lead to Frank Stilwell earning the highest income has to be an error

  32. Amused

    the (very) rare overtime payment for (very) common overtime

    But the ALP said Fair Work would ensure that didn’t happen! More Labor lies!

    I got paid overtime under my Work Choices agreement and penalty rates for the constant weekend work.

    When our Work Choices agreements expired and we got given Fair Work agreements, we lost the overtime and penalty rates.

  33. mundi

    WTF is the possible reason for ABC employees getting 15% into their super? How on earth can tax dollars for this be justified?

    15.4% is not ‘a bit’ ahead. Its in a completely different ball park. Over 30 years this person is almost certain to have a retirement income higher than their current income!

  34. mundi

    The average earnings for a full time workers of his age is only $880 per week *before* tax. So anyone who says he isn’t earning much is way out of touch with reality.

    Of course the rest of his article is pathetic. As an ABC employee of course I don’t expect him to actually look up what these “tax concessions and loopholes” are. Usually all they are talking about is offsetting income with operational expenses, while building up earnings as capital gain. There is no ‘concession’ or ‘loop hole’ involved. The rich simply do not require a wage to live on – because they already have enough cash.

    Having said that, I think he at least, like a lot of younger people, does not have a ‘stigma’ around money. In fact not talking to friends/family/collegues about money is the surest way to ensuring you never better yourself, and never encourage others to better themselves.

    I always notice that the difference between people who don’t like talking about money compared to those who do. Those that do are almost always running their own buisness and/or getting higher education. Those who don’t are almost always wanting to remain in the dark and happy in their ignorance in their dead end job.

  35. Milton Von Smith

    ABC Managing Director Mark Scott could not be reached for comment on Janda’s idea. Oh wait, yes he could:

    The ABC has argued against releasing the salary information on the grounds that it is contrary to public interest and is connected to confidential programming material.

    Mr Scott has previously argued that because the public broadcaster pays less than the commercial networks, revealing the salaries of its employees would make it more difficult to retain quality staff.

    I guess that’s that then.

  36. Perpetual Motion

    The only way any of these purported tax dodges is true, is if the recipient is retired/barely working, and living off franked dividends from a large stash.

    Which is entirely legal and fair.

    The rest of it is either complete bullshit or my accountant is a cretin, because I can’t access any of these supposed “loopholes”, and my tax is eye-watering.

  37. Des Deskperson

    ‘So anyone who says he isn’t earning much is way out of touch with reality.’

    He’s in a glamour job, one for which, I assume, there would be enormous competition, yet he only earns as much as the lowest level middle manager in the APS!!

  38. Dan

    Usually all they are talking about is offsetting income with operational expenses, while building up earnings as capital gain

    I still don’t understand as the ATO data purportedly states that the income has been distributed out of the rich peoples’ companies either as salary or dividends. You are implying that it is staying in the company. Unfortunately the data is only available on request and I dont have the time to look at it but clearly between the ATO and the media something has been muddled.

  39. H E

    “So far this financial year, including all overtime and extras but excluding super, I’ve earned a shade under $65,000 and had a bit over $18,000 in PAYG income tax taken out, pushed a bit higher than the usual rate because of HECS/HELP repayments.”

    So he paid about $18,000 PAYG which is slightly higher because of HECS/HELP which is about the same as the $18,000 tax free threshold, so you could argue he paid no “net tax”. In addition all of his salary is paid by for by the taxpayer.

    “…… and an employer super contribution that’s a bit ahead of the private sector standard (15.4 versus 9.25 per cent)”.

    Sorry but that is not “a bit ahead of the private sector” it is 66.5% more than the private sector. Again paid for by the taxpayer.

    I would agree that everyone’s salary and tax paid should be in the public domain only when those receiving “transfer payments” are required to divulge what they are taking from the taxpayer and how much they are putting back into the “communal pot”.

  40. rebel with cause

    So the ABC Online Business Editor thinks that 615 basis points is just ‘a bit’. Quite incredible. I won’t be holding my breath for the ABC articles describing a 25 basis point increase in interest rates as ‘miniscule’.

    And what’s this crap about not getting ‘overtime pay’? You’re paid a salary to do a job champ. Besides, I’ll bet he isn’t giving his wage back when he knocks off at 4pm on Friday.

  41. Rova

    He is receiving 15.4% super contribution which is about $4000 above the 9.25% SGC according to his figures. This $4000 is tax free. Michael Janda is a tax avoider.

  42. .

    Janda is a little Beria. He wants little Tiffany and Ashley to become little Berias too. He wants millions of little Lavrentiy Berias.

  43. EB

    There’s kind of an interesting point in there somewhere.

    While us plebs on either side of the false dichotomy have spent two weeks arguing amongst ourselves over who pays what… well, I don’t need to go on.

  44. Actually I’m warming to the idea of publishing gross income and amount of tax paid.

    My income is about 1/20 of my tax paid (and that is before we get to income tax). Let little janda-wanda put that in his pipe and smoke it.

  45. .

    A great idea save for I don’t expect people to reveal their identity etcs whilst doing it. We need information like this however as the average joe seems oblivious to how the ATO is soaking him – not to mention the well off.

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