Malcolm Turnbull has called the chairman of Australia Post after it was revealed its chief executive takes home a multi-million pay packet.
Documents published on Tuesday showed Ahmed Fahour was paid a $4.4 million salary and a $1.2 million bonus last financial year.
A parliamentary committee revealed the salaries of Mr Fahour and senior Australia Post executives, saying there were no compelling reasons for the details to be kept from public scrutiny.
The documents showed another five executives, who haven’t been named, earned between $1.8 million and $1.3 million each.
Mr Turnbull said while pay was a decision for the board, he did speak to chairman John Stanhope on Wednesday morning about Mr Fahour’s package.
“I think that renumeration is too high,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Mr Turnbull acknowledged Mr Fahour had a big job overseeing a large government-owned entity, which had improved its operating business.
“In my view, I say this as someone who spent most of his life in the business world before I came into politics, I think it is a very big salary for that job.”
In a chain of correspondence dated after a Senate committee hearing in October, Australia Post had argued revealing the salaries could expose its executives to unwarranted media and cause brand damage.
It preferred to release the information on a confidential rather than public basis.
But committee chair James Paterson wrote back to the company on Tuesday informing it the documents would be publicly released.
“Any potential issues of personal safety and security do not appear to be compelling reasons to withhold publication,” he said.
Senator Paterson said Mr Fahour’s salary effectively made him the nation’s highest paid public servant.
Crossbench senator Nick Xenophon praised Senator Paterson for disclosing the salaries.
He noted Mr Fahour’s remuneration more than 10 times that paid to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“I think a lot of people will scratch their heads on that one,” he told ABC TV.
Labor senator Doug Cameron questioned whether the executive payouts were value for money, adding Australian bosses were generally overpaid.
“They try and push Bangladesh wage rates and conditions for their workers but Wall Street pay and conditions for the executives,” he said.
Cabinet minister Matt Canavan said Mr Fahour would likely face further questions at his next Senate estimates committee appearance.