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Family First MP suspends staffer

Monday, November 25, 2013 » 11:23am


 
 
 
 

A South Australian Family First MP has suspended a staff member over the release of confidential payroll details of ABC staff to The Australian newspaper.

Robert Brokenshire said on Monday the staff member had clearly breached a directive for the information not to be released.

He has suspended the staffer for the day while he takes advice on possible further disciplinary action.

'Clearly there's been a breach of instruction,' Mr Brokenshire told ABC radio.

'I will apologise to all ABC staff. I'm sure it's stressful for them.

'I'm not happy that, against my instruction, something went out.'

The documents given to The Australian included the annual pay of all of the ABC's employees.

Details of some of those, which included Tony Jones' salary of $355,789 as the highest-paid presenter, were published in the News Corp newspaper last week.

Mr Brokenshire said the information was actually obtained under a freedom of information application to the ABC more than a year ago.

Last week ABC managing director Mark Scott apologised to staff and vowed to track down how The Australian obtained the payroll details.

The documents showed 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales is paid less than Mr Jones, earning $280,400 a year, while Insiders presenter Barrie Cassidy earns $243,478.

Presenter Waleed Aly is paid $187,500 and former political editor Chris Uhlmann earns $255,400 a year, according to the documents.

ABC Melbourne Radio presenter Jon Faine was reported to earn $285,249, but he revealed on his radio show he just signed a new contract worth $300,000.

A Senate estimates hearing found several years ago that it wasn't in the public interest to release the ABC's payroll information.

However, a News Corp spokesman defended the publication of the information.

'The ABC is a publicly-funded organisation. The news story in The Australian today is in the public interest,' he said last week.