Timing of bonuses to Australia Post executives inappropriate
Illustration: Michael LeunigCredit:
It is incongruous that Australia Post executives are considering sharing up to $7 million in bonus payments (‘‘Postal bonuses in play’’, 29/8) in addition to their high salaries. Their justification is the organisation’s strong financial performance. Australia Post is not the only business to have faced extreme pressures as a result of the pandemic, but surely the payment of such bonuses in the current economic environment is unreasonable, particularly when so many in the community are suffering.
And while Australia Post’s financial results may be strong, it still has a long way to go to provide good customer service. I posted a letter in Melbourne two weeks ago for delivery to another suburb and it still hasn’t been delivered. Another letter recently took three weeks to be delivered to an adjoining suburb. This is unsatisfactory, pandemic or no pandemic.
Malcolm Young, Lower Templestowe
Share the rewards with front-line staff
Here’s a novel idea for Christine Holgate, the chief executive at Australia Post, who faces the perplexing task of having to decide which members of her executive cohort should be gifted portions of the reported $7 million earmarked for bonuses. How about all of the front-line staff, who do the heavy lifting, be granted a bonus payment of say $1000 each? This equates to almost 7000 employees, whose efforts make a substantial contribution to the government business enterprise being able to generate a profit. Imagine the boost to staff morale of such a gesture.
The cavalcade of executives surrounding Ms Holgate are already generously rewarded with salary packages of eye-watering levels.
Christopher K. Holdstock, Glenroy
Click sales lead to revenue boost
It is no wonder Australia Post made a record 7 per cent jump in revenue this past year. Online shopping due to lockdown restrictions has boomed. How about cheaper postage rates instead of executive bonuses?
Robert Page, Barwon Heads
Risks of cost-based mail delivery
‘‘Post boss blasted over scrutiny’’ (27/8) quotes Australia Post stating at the Senate inquiry that it has a ‘‘risk-based security program’’. Earlier this year my daughter had to return from London to Melbourne to renew a UK work visa which involved handing her passport over. When the stamped passport was eventually returned it was left at our post office box, not delivered to her, even though details of our home address had been provided specifically due to security. One of her friends had the same experience and her passport was left in her letterbox.
Passports are supposed to be treated securely, regardless of the pandemic. People’s identities cannot be exposed to theft because Australia Post can’t be bothered delivering clearly identified mail requiring secure delivery. So I am left seriously questioning whether Australia Post has a ‘‘risk-based security program’’. It is now all a ‘‘cost-based delivery program’’. The ‘‘risk’’ all to do with cost.
Phil Ransom, Neerim South
Urgent need for an executive cleanout
When a business has seen its traditional business base swallowed up by email, is then presented with an opportunity to cement itself as a major player in a new emerging online marketplace, and all it is capable of doing is apologise for delays, there is an urgent need for a cleanout at the top.
Many businesses are surviving, some thriving, by moving online, and their online customers will still be there after the pandemic subsides. Deep economic change is under way and Australia Post has the infrastructure, the employees and the opportunity to build and recruit to move with the market and establish the business in a position of ongoing strength. Instead, they still let us down through appalling service and send apologetic emails bemoaning the fact their business is booming and they don’t know what to do about it.
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool
Don’t sing so mournfully
Don’t despair, Emma Swift (‘‘Despite successes, Australia leaves country music on the sidelines’’, 30/8). Forty thousand country music fans flock to Tamworth, NSW, every year to support Australian country music. The best Australian country artists arrive from all over Australia to entertain us. I agree, in Victoria, country music is not played on radio as much as it is in NSW and Queensland. Tune in to ABC Country and Saturday Night Country on digital radio. Good luck, Emma Swift, with your career. It is to our shame that our country music artists are sometimes not given the acclaim they deserve until given the tick of approval from Nashville.
Cecily Falkingham, Donvale
The WWII experience
Having lived through World War II there was quite a difference compared to today’s lockdown. Blackout on our house windows was compulsory, street lights were dimmed but we could go out with family or friends without restrictions. Coupons for meat, tea, sugar and clothing. We had air raid shelters in our gardens and schools. Gas masks were issued and wardens practised putting out incendiary bombs. We were instructed to shelter under our tables if there was a bombing and we could not get to a shelter. Factories were converted to produce clothing and armoury for the armed forces. Men who were fit and healthy were conscripted or enlisted in the services. We complained life was not a picnic but we were free to come and go and we even had parties. We helped each other, so different to now.
Margaret Peachey, Glen Waverley
Do your homework
Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, the Coalition spokeswoman on aged care for four years, developed policy taken to the 2013 election, stating it would act on warnings from the 2011 Productivity Commission report, Caring for Older Australians, to repair the system. Minister Colbeck says he entered the portfolio determined to ‘‘work out what it is that might actually change the way the system operates’’. Hadn’t that already been comprehensively done?
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North
Keep flu cases down
In 2019 more than 900 Australians died from influenza-related causes. As of August 23 this year, only 36 flu-related deaths have been recorded. If there’s one thing we can learn from the far deadlier COVID-19 virus, it’s that anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms needs to keep their germs to themselves. By taking more precautions, especially among vulnerable populations, we could save hundreds of lives every year.
Gordon McNenney, Prahran
Crushing the environment
Graeme Samuel found Australia was losing biodiversity at an alarming rate, had one of the highest rates of extinction in the world and the EPBC Act was not fit to address current or future environmental challenges (‘‘One-stop shop laws revived’’, 28/8). Yet Environment Minister Sussan Ley is rushing to change the EPBC Act to help business. How will helping business protect biodiversity and decrease Australia’s extinction rate? Perhaps Minister Ley thinks that she is still assistant minister for regional development and territories.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Clean fund tarnished
While there may be a need to continue with gas-fuelled energy for a short time, it is an unacceptable long-term energy source for this planet (‘‘Clean energy fund primed for a gas-led recovery’’, 28/8). The Clean Energy Finance Corporation funds must not be purloined to prolong the demise of fossil fuels at the expense of investment in clean energy sources.
What we need now is the vision and leadership to encourage and develop the human and natural resources that are abundant in Australia to create clean energy technologies with the associated industries and jobs that would follow. Unfortunately, the government offers nothing in this respect. A lucky country run by second-rate people writ large.
Peter Taylor, Mont Albert North
Vested energy interests
Of course Sarah McNamara is going to advocate for the use of gas as a transitional fuel to deal with climate change (‘‘Energy wars won’t make power greener’’, 27/8). Ms McNamara is chief executive of the Australian Energy Council which represents 22 electricity and downstream natural gas businesses. She is therefore unlikely to acknowledge the scientific consensus that we have to reduce our consumption of gas if we are going to address climate change, as this is not in the interests of the companies who pay her wages.
Simon McInnes, Boolarra
China’s suspension of beef trade from the John Dee meat processor (‘‘Beef hit with another China trade strike’’, 29/8) follows the federal government’s threat to tear up contracts between state governments, universities and China. Morrison’s timing is impeccable. Facing questions on the government’s handling of aged care and branch stacking, he asserts national interest in the name of sovereignty in a response that is scaring the pants off primary producers, universities and state governments.
Victoria’s China Strategy provides a plan to support economic growth in Victoria and in China. It seeks to deepen our understanding of each other’s people and culture and targets trade, investment, visitors and students. Of course, the federal government has an ultimate say on foreign affairs, but we are looking for more nuanced handling of our relations with China; one that doesn’t threaten trade and commercial relations, and stomp on state rights.
Robert Edmonds, Diamond Creek
Greater scrutiny needed
The article ‘‘Church received ‘exorbitant’ rent from St Basil’s home’’ (27/8) about the rents paid by St Basil’s Aged Care Home to the Greek Orthodox Church points to the possibility that there may be insufficient scrutiny and oversight of how churches and charities use and manage government money.
Many billions of taxpayer dollars pour into church-based education, aged care homes, hospitals and charities every year. These organisations are subject to lesser reporting standards and regulation than corporate Australia despite the huge amounts of public money they receive. Historically we have trusted these organisations to use this money to educate and care for our children, provide appropriate medical and hospital care, and give quality care to the aged.
Greater supervision of these vast amounts of our money would now seem to be necessary. St Basil’s may be just the tip of the iceberg.
Creighton Parker, Blackburn North
Care the key factor
I work in aged care as a personal care assistant. I did work in nursing homes, but became disillusioned with the system. I now work with people in their own homes to enable them to remain at home. A difficult area for discussion, and one that is rarely mentioned, is the degree of respect shown by carers to the residents, especially the most vulnerable, in aged care facilities. Sometimes this respect is lacking. It is easy to become a carer and there is a lot of work available. I think this can attract some people who perhaps wouldn’t normally work in this area. A prerequisite should be to respect, value and care for the elderly and have it enforced by management and the system.
Marie Teague, Ocean Grove
Free the children
Huyen Thu Thi Tran was placed in immigration detention in Broadmeadows when she was four months pregnant. Her daughter Isabella has spent her entire life there. Now her mother has a bridging visa and they are free to live in the community with Isabella’s father. Another small human being, Tharunicaa Nadesalingam, has also spent most of her three years of life surrounded by guards, in Broadmeadows and now on Christmas Island. She should also be free to go with her family to rejoin the community of Biloela, where they are wanted and loved. To call these Australian-born children ‘‘anchor babies’’ is cruel and dehumanising.
Marysia Green, Hawthorn East
While our Prime Minister is to be commended for his concern for those negatively effected by the tough border policies being imposed by states during the pandemic, I would ask Mr Morrison if he could show some of the same concern for those similarly effected by the border policies of his government when it comes to refugees suffering years of family separation and lack of access to health treatment.
Bill Armstrong, Garden City
Stop foreign interference
During John Howard’s tenure as prime minister, he introduced gun reform in response to the Port Arthur massacre and sent troops into East Timor to eject Indonesian soldiers who were murdering civilians. This made him one of Australia’s great leaders. If Scott Morrison can stop rampant foreign interference in this country, I believe this will put him on the road to also being a great PM.
Russell Brims, East Bentleigh
Water utility failure
It is bad enough to endure months of COVID-19 control efforts but to be plagued with a contaminated water supply is unbelievable (‘‘Homes warned to boil water’’, 29/8). There needs to be an immediate public investigation into how this pollution occurred. A fresh water supply, free of pollutants, is basic to public health. In this case those responsible have failed.
John Wilkins, Doncaster East
Scripts over the phone
I feel sorry for Dr John Lazdins (Letters, 29/8) – in Anglesea, all my prescriptions are sent to my phone and I simply go to the Anglesea pharmacy, swipe the QR code and go shopping. I get a text when the prescription has been filled and my phone is updated telling me how many, if any, repeats are left.
John Cummings, Anglesea
AND ANOTHER THING …
Farewell Tony as you leave the colonies and head back to the motherland in search of that elusive knighthood. Good luck.
Colleen Salkowski, Bentleigh East
I hope Tony takes Peta Credlin to London with him. Otherwise, he won’t know what to do or say.
Peter Dodds, Montmorency
Perhaps Boris Johnson is impressed with Tony Abbott’s shirt-fronting antics when negotiating trade deals.
Peng Ee, Castle Cove, NSW
Is Abbott’s job a reward for Prince Philip’s knighthood?
Graham Cadd, Dromana
When Richard Colbeck walked out of the Senate chamber, it epitomised his and the Morrison government’s approach to aged care: Missing In Action.
Peter Thomas, Pascoe Vale
Schoolies cancelled. Silver linings.
Pam Cupper, Dimboola
It’s distressing to see potentially COVID-19-carrying masks discarded by unthinking people. Please dispose of them correctly.
Dr Jim Casey, Richmond
Is it possible to buy a silencer for bottles in garbage bins? The racket ours makes being emptied wakes up half the street.
Rob Willis, Wheelers Hill
If the Opposition won’t give Andrews what he needs to fight the virus, it shouldn’t criticise him if he can’t make it work.
Helen Hallett, Gisborne
Kennett has a cheek criticising the Premier’s actions when he was the one who closed the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital.
Jeffrey Newman, Ivanhoe
The naysayers are trying to get political traction using the ‘‘would’ve, should’ve, could’ve’’ cry. Thomas Van Der Zee, Doncaster East
How will Queensland (only Queenslanders allowed in its hospitals) deal with the grand final if it hosts it?
Donna Tsironis, Blackburn South
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