The Guardian • Issue #2020


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2020

Banks and insurance companies raked in billions according to financial year end of interim results, with CEO pay increasing by tens of millions of dollars. This coincides with big banks advocating against increasing wages and suppressing their own workers’ wages or sacking them. Profits of the four banking and insurance companies who have reported their full year results this year (CBA, Macquarie, Suncorp and IAG) are up twenty-eight per cent to $15.6 billion despite revenue increasing only eight per cent to $80.3 billion. CEO pay for these entities is up thirty-six per cent to $37.8 million and shareholder returns in the form of dividends and buybacks are up fifty-seven per cent. Individual company results highlight this wider profit trend: The Commonwealth Bank’s profits are up nine per cent to $9.7 billion, and their CEO Matt Comyn’s pay went up thirty-five per cent to $6.97 million, while he argues that higher wage growth could lead to a wage price spiral; Macquarie bank’s CEO Shemara Wikramanayake’s pay went up by forty-nine per cent to $23.7 million. Suncorp’s CEO Steve Johnson’s pay rose seventeen per cent to $4.9 million posting a profit of $341 million. IAG are increasing premiums – with profits of $347 million. Big banks have made these profits while the real wages of financial sector workers have gone backwards to 2015 levels. While raking in billion-dollar profits, the expected RBA cash rate increase to 2.6 per cent will likely be passed on entirely to borrowers but not depositors by the banks. Currently workers’ wages have the lowest share of GDP in recorded Australian history, while company profits are at their highest share.

The cost to GPs of delivering care to patients has outstripped the Medicare GP rebate payment that not charging patients gap fee is no longer feasible, says the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. The previous Coalition government – in line its anti-Medicare line – froze the doctor rebate from 2013 to 2019. A recent poll of 500 GPs found that twenty-two per cent had recently began charging a gap fee. “Medicare was introduced as a universal health system, with high bulk billing rates for many years,” said Leanne Wells of health services group Consumer Health Forum. “We now have a system where universalism is at risk and patients paying more in out-of-pocket costs for a basic GP visit than the rebate. This is going to lead to more people not getting the care they need.”

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: The NSW workers’ comp agency iCare has knocked back claims for compensation by the family of an Uber Eats delivery rider killed in a road collision on a Sydney street in 2020. The Transport Workers’ Union is challenging the decision, the union’s national secretary Michael Kaine, noting, “If these riders were killed in any other workplace, there’d be no question as to whether the loved ones  they’ve left behind should be financially supported.”

The Guardian can also be viewed/downloaded in PDF format. View More