The ultimate sinecure? Or the $32 million appointment.

The Fair Work Commission must be one of the most attractive sinecures in the world. There is a President, two vice presidents, 21 deputy presidents, 18 commissioners plus various expert panel members. The President is paid as the Chief Justice of the Federal Court.

For others who have not previously been a judge, the current Remuneration Tribunal salary is $581,940 for vice presidents, $471,090 for deputy presidents and $387,960 for commissioners. All have a tier 1 travel allowance, allowing the maximum travel allowance and first class travel overseas (whenever that might return).

The presidential members (ie: other than commissioners) are eligible for the Judges Pension scheme, which has no contributions and allows the member with 10 years service to retire with 60 per cent of his or her current salary, indexed for life to the equivalent salary (ie: by wages not by inflation). In other words, a retiring deputy president has an indexed pension of 60% of $471,090 increasing in line with Remuneration Tribunal determinations.

Fair Work Commission members are appointed to the age of 65 and can only be dismissed by a vote of both houses of Parliament – effectively they cannot be sacked except for criminal activities.

Recently there have been a number of appointments, particularly of young women. Amanda Mansini was appointed a deputy president effective 4 February 2019 at the age of 35. Amber Millhouse, another deputy president, was appointed on 24 September 2017 at the age of 36. They thus have a term of almost 30 years. There are others like Sarah McKinnon appointed in 2017 at the age of 40, Lyndall Dean in 2016 at the age of 44, and Tony Saunders in 2018 at the age of 45.

It’s one thing to create statutory organisations with relatively long appointments for independence, but 30 year terms are ridiculous. It would be better to allow for a single 10 year term, without reappointment like the Auditor-General.

So let’s do a calculation of the present value to Mansini of her appointment. According to the ABS life tables, her life expectancy in 2019 was 50.55 years, which would take her to almost 86 years. I will assume a real wage growth of 2 per cent per annum, which is relatively conservative (low) for statutory appointments over the past 20 years. I will also assume that this appointee, taking the job at age 35, serves until 65 and then retires with the Judges Pension Scheme with retirement income of 60 per cent until death. This calculation underestimates the present value as it does not take account of a partner who would continue (under the Judges Pension Scheme) to collect 62.5 per cent of the deceased spouse’s pension and there is an additional allowance for children. Similarly, it does not account for the opportunities and prestige of the office.

Again, the calculation is for a 35 year old woman accepting an appointment as deputy president to the Fair Work Commission in 2019.

The present value for this person is $32.5 million.

Not a bad sinecure, and certainly not one of the most challenging jobs in the world.

 

About Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

I'm a retired general who occasionally gets called back to save the republic before returning to my plough.
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49 Responses to The ultimate sinecure? Or the $32 million appointment.

  1. Professor Fred Lenin

    Reduce salaries by 99per cent and remove travel and expense benefits ,they should do this for the love of the working class ,shouldnt they ?

  2. Bronson

    FMD where do I sign up for this gravy train? Remember it’s only a wrought if you’re not in on it!

  3. stackja

    Julia’s legacy again.

  4. Peter O'Brien

    That is F…..G UNBELIEVABLE! What a disgrace. Are we South Africa?

  5. Ceres

    Thank you for doing the arithmetic. WTF? Appalling.

  6. Amanda Mansini was appointed a deputy president effective 4 February 2019 at the age of 35

    WTF?

  7. Squirrel

    “It would be better to allow for a single 10 year term, without reappointment like the Auditor-General.”

    Excellent point – if it’s good enough to have fixed term appointments for jobs as influential and important as that, the Tax Commissioner, and the RBA Governor, this bunch should not have highly paid jobs guaranteed for decades.

    There’s going to be a lot more public scrutiny of, and anger about, this sort of thing in a virus-smashed economy.

  8. Petros

    I, too, shall add my WTF!? In addition, I ask why do they need an overseas travel allowance? Which other countries are stupid enough to have a similar organization with such overpaid leeches?

  9. Snoopy

    And some here claim Emma Alberici is a bit dim.

  10. H B Bear

    Julia’s legacy again.

    Australia’s greatest Fabian.

  11. H B Bear

    Next best thing to being appointed Chairman of an Industry Superannuation Fund.

  12. LBLoveday

    It could be much more if the surviving spouse was a 20yo nephew whom she married on her death bed – don’t laugh, it happened with a male public servant who married his 18yo niece shortly before his death.

  13. jupes

    Julia’s legacy again.

    Well yeah, however Mandy was appointed by the Coalition government, In particular then Minister for Women, Jobs and Industrial Relations, Kelly O’Dwyer. Which of Mandy’s attributes cought Kelly’s attention do you reckon?

    Let’s hear what the Australian Resourses and Energy Group reckon:

    “Notably half of today’s new appointees are women. We congratulate Kelly O’Dwyer, who is both Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations as well as Minister for Women, in continuing the recent appointment of high quality women to the tribunal which has significantly improved its gender balance.”

    So, a diversity hire.

  14. LBLoveday
    #3541951, posted on August 9, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    It could be much more if the surviving spouse was a 20yo nephew whom she married on her death bed – don’t laugh, it happened with a male public servant who married his 18yo niece shortly before his death.

    The fucking chutzpah of these people.

    It would be righteous to take all she owns off her.

  15. Lawrence Ayres

    The most arduous job would be to get Sally McMannus on the phone and ask her what she thought was a fair thing. I imagine you have to be a Labor supporter to get a gig there.

  16. Siltstone

    It is important for the busted business owners and newly unemployed to understand “we all in this together”.
    Sarc/

  17. jupes

    I imagine you have to be a Labor supporter to get a gig there.

    No. The Coalition has been making the appointments since 2013.

    However, if you had asked whether you had to be a diversity-hire, or big-government crony then you would be spot-on.

  18. Cynic of Ayr

    Even if she retires at 65, lives to 85, at 60% of today’s salary, she’ll get over Five and a half Million for doing nothing.
    Plus perks. I believe the all expenses paid travel doesn’t stop on retirement.
    This is why people hate the Government.
    This is why people revolt.

  19. duncanm

    Seems like Lab and the Libs just keep trying to stack the cards by appointing new commissioners.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/07/coalition-stacking-fair-work-commission-with-mates-labor-says

    Is there actually a limit on the number of swine at this particular trough?

  20. Terry

    This is why democracies fail.

  21. gafa

    But like all our heroic public servant comrades they pay tax so effectively they’re all basically self-funded which obviously saves the proletarians a lot of money.

    This is why people hate the Government.
    This is why people should revolt.
    (FIFY)

  22. Bruce

    And there I was, reminded of this:

    Administratium
    New chemical Element Discovered

    The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by investigators at a major U.S. research university. The element, tentatively named administratium, has no protons or electrons and thus has an atomic number of 0. However, it does have one neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons and 111 assistant vice neutrons, which gives it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons.

    Since it has no electrons, administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every reaction it comes in contact with. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would have normally occurred in less than a second.

    Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons exchange places. Some studies have shown that the atomic mass actually increases after each reorganization.

    Research at other laboratories indicates that administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as government agencies, large corporations, and universities. It can usually be found in the newest, best appointed, and best maintained buildings.

    Scientists point out that administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reaction where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.

  23. Hugh

    No, no, you’re missing the big picture.

    The Fair Work Commission is about getting wages right according to an objective scientifically calculated algorithm!

    Only they know the algorithm (somehow), and so they should be compensated accordingly.

    We should be grateful: they are saving the nation hundreds of billions in unjust misery by their identification of erroneously calculated wages! If anything, they deserve ten times their current awards!

    All praise to the Fair Work Commission, and its President, two vice presidents, 21 deputy presidents, 18 commissioners, and expert members!

    Questions, please.

    “How the hell did the Industrial Revolution liberate the masses from poverty without them?”

    “Well, had the FWC been there, with its president. two vice presidents, 21 deputy presidents, 18 commissioners, and expert ( I mean, really expert) members, can you imagine ??”

  24. David Brewer

    It’s all bad but the worst bit is a 60 per cent lifetime pension for 10 years’ work and NO contributions.

    Why on earth is the pension not (a) contributuory and (b) either 2 per cent of salary per year of service, or just whatever you put in plus the employer’s contribution? In what world is it fair or even sensible to allow anyone a princely income for life based on only 10 years work? And how can this possibly be justified when we also have compulsory superannuation, so that anyone who works 20 or 30 years elsewhere should already be well provided for?

    Where is Josh on these outrageous sinecures? Cutting them down to size would even be a vote winner. Same with pay cuts for politicians and senior public servants until Covid is done with. These measures could only generate positive publicity, and of the snouts affected, practically none vote for his party anyway.

  25. NoFixedAddress

    Australian Public Service Governments ™ is the biggest business in the country because your business is their business and someone has to spend the tax you pay.

  26. billie

    getting onto the government gravy train is what replaced making things, manufacturing in Australia, it also leaves nothing for start ups or innovation .. unless you are creating another position on the government payroll

    btw – don’t look too closely at charities, who are all n the government feed as well, over 10,000 of them, then there’s all the statutory bodies, semi government bodies, think tanks and countless other burdens on the taxpayer.

    the government funds nearly all the charities in Australia, who employ nearly 1m people.

    in days gone by, charities were funded by the religius faithful, some still are but the government now hands out your money benevolently

    I often wonder how any people are employed in Australia, by goverment, directly and indiectly, like charities, semi government bodies, arts grants, uni grants .. just the $ amount of grants, to all area must be staggering

    you say wtf to tiny areas of corruption and I say wtf to the contstant pishing away of our money

    will we get to a state where more depend on workers than there are workers?

    and so to bed

  27. NoFixedAddress

    billie
    #3542189, posted on August 10, 2020 at 1:04 am

    getting onto the government gravy train is what replaced making things, manufacturing in Australia, it also leaves nothing for start ups or innovation .. unless you are creating another position on the government payroll

    btw – don’t look too closely at charities, who are all n the government feed as well, over 10,000 of them, then there’s all the statutory bodies, semi government bodies, think tanks and countless other burdens on the taxpayer.

    Well said @billie

    Australia’s so called not for profits are an absolute disgrace.

    I have previously estimated that there are only about 20% of Australians actually engaged in real income producing jobs.

    Without Australian Public Service Government Law ™ 80% of Australian workers would not have a job.

  28. Salvatore, Social Distance Martyr

    The job should pay about $90,000 per year, with no travel except if required to attend a hearing & stay in $80 per night accommodation with a $40 per diem meal allowance.

    The job plain isn’t worth any more than that.

  29. gafa

    The job plain isn’t worth any more than that.

    Correct….but what’s that public service mantra again, oh yeah, “we’re all in this together”, oink oink 🐷

  30. Nob

    billie
    #3542189, posted on August 10, 2020 at 1:04 am

    will we get to a state where more depend on workers than there are workers?

    You know the answer to that billie.

    We got there long ago.

    These are the people who have the houses that you or your kids will never afford.

  31. Nob

    And they can arbitrarily ruin your business, your whole industry.

  32. 21 Deputy Presidents?

    What a pisstake.

    Worthy of Monty Python.

  33. mundi

    The sad part is most australians will think it rich business people who are causing this never ending cost of living squeeze when it’s really just the public sector.

  34. Nob

    The real Big End of Town is the bloated, overpaid, overindulged, public “sector”.

    We’re not “all in this together”.

    The person driving up those house prices in Bateman’s Bay and Merimbula is a PS fatcat from Canberra who has retired ten years before you could, on a defined benefit salary extracted from your contributions, and probably by fucking up your means of making a living in some way.

  35. Entropy

    Where is Josh on these outrageous sinecures? Cutting them down to size would even be a vote winner. Same with pay cuts for politicians and senior public servants until Covid is done with.

    You have answered why with the third sentence.

  36. duncanm

    first class travel overseas (whenever that might return).

    They’re suffering, too.

  37. Mother Lode

    Reminds me of something I read about the Greek Gods – that they were not the apotheosis of the attributes associated with them: Aphrodite was not always in love, Ares was not universally successful in war nor even consistently courageous or strategic. Jupiter was not judicious, impartial, paternal, or even dignified.

    So it is with the Fair Work Commission.

  38. Iampeter

    Oh this’ll be a good thread at the Cat, where everyone supported both Folau and Ridd dragging their employers to Fair Work and had no principled opposition to it.

    Get your disjointed talking points ready everyone! So much politics to pretend to discuss!

  39. Rex Anger

    Oh this’ll be a good thread at the Cat, where everyone supported both Folau and Ridd dragging their employers to Fair Work and had no principled opposition to it.

    Lolwut, IamReallyOffTopicNow?

    We are talking about Jobs for the Gals, and you want to bring up actual, confirmed workplace discrimination cases that have either already been settled out of Court (Folau), or have actually gone nowhere near FWA because far bigger legal issues are at stake (Ridd)? Just to have a go at the rest of us about your perverse interpretation of what constitutes identity politics? How stupid are you Petey?

    Seriously, lay off the turpentine son! Those fumes are causing what’s left of your grey matter to dribble out your ears.

    John Galt would not approve of this action…

  40. duncanm

    IamIdiot – I don’t think anyone has a problem with their being a judicial office for ruling on the the fair-work act (apart from the usual problem of it being so bloated in needs judicial interpretation), the problem is the obscene salaries, perks and pensions these people get.

    For a full list of the full-time public office holders and their salaries here

  41. FedUp

    I can only agree with the comments.
    These people don’t contribute, only take.
    This is one way to ruin a country, if it hasn’t been ruined already.

  42. Iampeter

    IamIdiot – I don’t think anyone has a problem with their being a judicial office for ruling on the the fair-work act

    Certainly. If you’re on the left that is.
    Those of us who are actually right wing, oppose the existence of things like the FWA on principle.
    That’s my whole point.
    You are leftists. Who don’t realize it.
    So you’re just discussing technicalities, like how much politicians are paid, since you can’t discuss what actually matters and don’t even know what that would be anyway.

  43. Hay Stockard

    I’d join the ALP and identify as a shiela for a,bite of that cherry. The ageists preclude me however. How can I run a,case against them?

  44. Rex Anger

    Those of us who are actually right wing, oppose the existence of things like the FWA on principle.

    Indeed. But you are not right-wing, Petey. Thus throwing your cheerleading into doubt and serious disrepute.

    You are leftists. Who don’t realize it.

    This Petey Projection-cum-Insult is brought to you by IamMoby- He’s more ‘Right-wing’ than you, and he knows it!

    Petey, I can you playing Boy Georgi’s hit song Commie Commie Commie Chameleon all the way from the other side of my computer. And the Russian is even more broken and strident than usual. Please, think of the children and have mercy on us…

    Also, noise complaints are expensive.

    So you’re just discussing technicalities, like how much politicians are paid, since you can’t discuss what actually matters and don’t even know what that would be anyway.

    I’ve seen better dismissals from the average Under-10s district cricket team, IamFarLessLiterateOnTheseMattersThanIThinkMyOpponentsAre…

  45. The Sheriff

    Mansini certainly looks like AG Porter’s “type”.

  46. Judith Sloan

    I think you’ll find you are wrong about the retirement pensions – they have been scaled back. But all the FWC members are incredibly well paid. Mind you, not all of those younger appointments last the distance. It is just too soul destroying for normal people.

  47. I did some work with the FWC. What a rancid, power-hungry bunch of individuals. Hell on earth.

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