SUBJECTS: Australia Post Executive Bonuses; NBN Co. Performance payments; Taxpayers Money; Morrison-Joyce Government Reckless Spending.

Well, instead of estimates time we're going to be hearing from the ABC leadership this evening at around 7pmas well as the ABC appearing for a grilling today as they do periodically. So will Australia Post executives now as Labor has accused Australia Post of lacking respect for taxpayers as new data shows its executive received bonuses, dwarfing those of NBN Co performance payments, while frontline workers received almost nothing in bonuses. Labor's Communications spokesperson Michelle Rowland joins us now from Parliament House. Good morning to you. Thanks for coming in. You've done this  side by side analysis of NBN. Co bonuses and Australia Post bonuses, both Government owned businesses, what did you find?

MICHELLE ROWLAND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: In terms of Australia Post as a GBE, it does appear quite staggering that despite being in a recession, and despite Scott Morrison saying he was going to exercise restraint on executive bonuses in these institutions, Australia Post continues to have highly remunerated executives receiving bonuses that are in the vicinity of twice the average wage of Australians and we're talking people who are earning between $300,000 and $400,000, receiving massive bonuses.  This is simply demonstrative of the lack of respect for taxpayers money at a very difficult time, and at a time when people are relying more and more on Australia Post services.

MORRIS: The bonuses, as you say, are quite staggering. So in response to questions on notice from Senate estimates, Australia Post provided more granular detail about bonus ranges, so for executives earning between $300,000 to $400,000, they're already earning that, on average, they got around $170,000 in bonuses. Now that was an increase of 22%. On the previous year, is there evidence that this is tied to an extraordinary uplift in performance?

ROWLAND: I think the key word here is performance and a performance bonus should be linked in a consistent and a transparent way to what is actually being delivered. It is difficult to see how that is the case here. Of course, we will interrogate Australia Post today at estimates. But I think what is key in all of this is that, at a time when the country is going through a difficult period where people are losing their jobs, forgoing bonuses in the private sector, we have a GB that is throwing money around like there's no tomorrow. You can understand why the Australian public is very frustrated about this.

MORRIS: There’s been a lot of focus on Australia Post bonuses for years now ever since Ahmed Fahour was the CEO of Australia Post. The company has always argued that it is competing with the private sector for those top executives and that's why it needs to pay people this money. Is that a valid argument in your view?

ROWLAND: Not entirely. As someone who came from the private sector as a corporate lawyer before I went into Parliament, I understand well, that there are governance arrangements, that there is consistency certainty, and you do want to attract the best people and remunerate them accordingly and provide bonuses accordingly. But I'll say this about Australia Post and other GBEs; it should be a privilege to be working for such trusted institutions. Secondly, I do not see how these figures we have now really reflect the level of performance that one would actually expect in the private sector. That's why I've written to the Auditor General saying that we need to have a look at this.  Again, it demonstrates the Scott Morrison has failed to intervene despite all the talk some years ago with the issue of the Cartier watches being given as bonuses. It appears nothing has changed. In many respects of Australia Post, it's gotten worse. And the consistent theme here again, is the board of Australia Post. This board is stacked with Liberal Party hacks and 'yes-people' to Scott Morrison. 

MORRIS: Okay, well, then you've invited the chair of Australia Post chaired by Lucio Di Bartolomeo to appear today. Do you know if he's definitely appearing just quickly?

ROWLAND: I’m not aware yet. I'll soon find out.

MORRIS: All right. We'll see how that goes today. Michelle Rowland. Thank you very much for speaking to us about it today.