How to get a nice, highly paid job in a bank

In the last week or so, two former state premiers, Anna Bligh and Mike Baird have been appointed to highly paid jobs in the banking sector. In both cases there was some peripheral controversy. In Bligh’s case, some Liberals, including Scott Morrison, apparently felt that such jobs should be reserved for their side of politics. In Baird’s case, it was the fact that he took the bogus claim to be “spending more time with his family” to new extremes, giving lots of details on family problems and then deciding that six weeks was quite enough time to spend dealing with them.

These controversies obscured the key qualification held by Bligh and Baird for their new jobs; both had greatly enriched the banking sector by pushing through unpopular privatisations. Others enjoying similar rewards include Paul Keating (advisor to Lazard Freres), Alan Stockdale (Macquarie Bank) and Nick Greiner (too many to lost). By contrast, opponents of privatisation rarely find cushy jobs like this flowing their way. Of course, there’s no direct quid pro quo here. The banks and organizations offering the jobs aren’t, in general, the ones that collected fees from the particular privatisations in question. It’s rather that, politicians who are nice to the banking sector are well regarded, and eventually well rewarded, by that sector.

With such an incentive structure in place, it’s hardly surprising that privatisation is never far from the top of the political agenda, despite its extreme unpopularity with Australian voters.

8 thoughts on “How to get a nice, highly paid job in a bank

  1. Bligh: was hired to improve image of the industry (woman = soft) and to convince the Labor Party not to have a Royal Commission (because Shorten will change his mind if he hears it from a comrade). Laughable? Of course. But nothing to do with Bligh being a privatiser.

    Baird: was a career banker before going into politics and NAB in any case is barely on the privatisation gravy train. If I was a bank CEO looking for a senior executive then objectively Baird would be a strong candidate, regardless of whether privatised anything. Of course the family health pretext he gave has been revealed as false. He will be working 120 hours a week, and constantly travelling overseas. He will get to see his sick parents and sister only at Christmas and maybe not even then.

  2. “By contrast, opponents of privatisation rarely find cushy jobs like this flowing their way.”

    Name one.

  3. “Of course the family health pretext he gave has been revealed as false.”

    But it is not politically correct to suggest that rich powerful people tell lies and indulge in virtue signalling.

  4. @David Allen

    Peter Beattie is Director of something called the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund, which sounds financial, though no doubt he isn’t getting the seven figures that Anna Bligh is on.

  5. Thank you for getting the word ‘renationalisation’ on the Australian telly today, and even the newscaster was forced to mouth it! I’m sure this has to be a first. Wonderful achievement!

  6. Julia Baird has posted that her treatment was a follow up to previous surgery and was expected and her prognosis is good and she’s keen to get back into it.

    Mike Baird says he needs the job as he had to buy his own mobile phone, iPad etc so is a bit short.


  7. A wise man commented to me that “The mums working at the counter should be upstairs, making the decisions about peoples’ mortgages, and the white shirts should be in the teller cages.”

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