By Warwick O’Neill
Just in case you’ve been living in a shoe box today, let me take this opportunity to advise you that Lisa Wilkinson quit Chanel 9’s Morning Show. Now you know. Whoopie …
A lot of the talk has centred around gender pay gaps and all that, and fair enough. Two people sitting in front of the same camera, sprouting the same inane conversations should get paid the same amount. It’s a no-brainer.
But surely we’re missing the main travesty in all this. Karl Stefanovic is reported to be on a $9 million, three year contract, which Wilkinson also thought she should be on (according to the media, who as you know are always trustworthy). It was like a few years ago when Samantha Armytage (if my memory serves me correctly) reported that she believed she should be earning the same $800,000 dollars per year that her co-host David Koche earned. No doubt old Larry Emdur is on a pretty good wicket as well, which his female colleague no doubt wishes she was on.
On the face of it, yes those women should earn as much as their male counterparts. But on what planet is the contribution which any of these people has made to society in general, regardless of gender, worth anywhere near the obscene amount they get paid? Why does sitting in front of a camera every morning, talking gibberish and presenting an occasional news article entitle these people to wages that the real contributors to society can only dream of?
Your average soldier’s starting wage, at the rank of Private, is roughly around $60,000 per year. Now these are the men and women (who, coincidentally, receive the same wage regardless of gender – yay Go Army!), whose job sometimes involves putting their lives on the line for the security of our nation. Even when not on deployment, these troops train constantly, enduring all kinds of hardship, often resulting in life-long injuries, spending a large amount of their time away from family, just so they can ensure that when their country needs them, they’re ready to go. TV celebrities have to dodge the shots from a paparazzi camera, while our soldiers dodge the bullets of enemy soldiers. Yet the TV ‘personalities’ get at least ten times the yearly pay packet.
Our police officers? Depending on the jurisdiction, they start at about the same wage as your average soldier. Time after time, these people put themselves in danger to protect the rest of us. It was only a few months ago in Queensland that one of these wonderful people lost his life in attempting to apprehend a violent and extremely dangerous criminal in order to prevent that criminal posing a threat to society. The incident was reported on these morning shows, with the presenters all donning solemn and respectful faces and voicing their respect for the officers involved. Meanwhile in the time it took them to report on the incident, they probably earned more than the deceased officer would have made in a full day’s work, with overtime.
How about those unsung heroes who work long hours, on their feet all day or night, in un-glamorous and unflattering uniforms as they tend to every need of our sick and injured family members in hospitals? Our nurses sometime bear the brunt of abuse from patients or their families, spend so much of their lives cleaning, dressing and patching up the damage people do to themselves and again forfeit much of their family time, in order to serve the community. All for roughly $40 an hour for a Registered Nurse, less for an Enrolled Nurse.
The list goes on. Paramedics and fire officers, teachers, garbage truck drivers, sewerage operators, bus and train drivers, council workers who keep our infrastructure functioning and the whole gamut of workers without whom our society would collapse. Take away any one of these professions and we all crumble. Take away a few morning TV presenters and we all carry on as though nothing of import has happened, because it hasn’t.
So really the question being asked shouldn’t be “why don’t the female presenters get paid the same as their male counterparts?” The question being asked should be, “why don’t the male presenters get paid the same as their female counterparts?” And then, “why don’t they all take a pay cut?”
Actually, bugger it. Chanel 7, 9 and 10 Executives, if you’re reading this (who am I kidding, of course you are …) I’ll host your morning show for you, and I’ll only ask $200 000 a year, which incidentally is four times what I earn now as a public service employee. Just get your people to call my people, alright? Shit, I gotta find some people.
Warwick O’Neill’s passion lies in exploring the nooks and crannies of Australia, both physically and historically and combing it all into writing historical fiction novels which showcase the colourful history of this country. His first novel; “Flames of Rebellion” is a fictional tale set amongst a real life backdrop of the Victorian Goldfields and the Eureka Stockade.
His blog site contains a collection of tales relating to his experiences over the last twenty years of parenting, off-roading/camping and occasionally managing to avoid incarceration by the skin of his teeth. He also hosts the YouTube video blog “On This Day In Australia” showcasing the lessor known events and people in Australian history.