Let’s ask Waleed Aly the truth about a pay gap

Article by Andrew Bolt /
Herald Sun /
October 18, 2017  /
Click here to view original /

WHAT a joke. Lisa Wilkinson is hailed as a crusader for equal pay because she quit Channel 9 for getting less than Today co-host Karl Stefanovic. But hang on: snapped up by Channel 10 for The Project, she’ll now be paid three times more than her new co-host Waleed Aly.

Same job, different pay.

Wilkinson will get a reported $1.5 million or more from Channel 10, against Aly’s $500,000 or so.

Where’s the equality there? Should Aly now claim he’s a victim of racism? Of Islamophobia?

Actually, no. Wilkinson will also do the same job as Project co-host Carrie Bickmore, yet will be paid staggeringly more than her, too.

So why is the media buying this myth that Wilkinson is the victim of a wicked media company that refused to pay her the same as a bloke doing the same job?

Check the media spin, pushed by sources “close to” Wilkinson.

“I want you guys to close the ­gender pay gap,” she reportedly told Nine, cross that she was getting $1.1 million to Stefanovic’s $2 million.

Nine offered another $700,000, but wasn’t enough. Wilkinson stormed off to Channel 10, with activists, journalists and even politicians praising her comically as a heroine of the oppressed and warrior for equality.

“By changing jobs, Lisa has highlighted the gender pay gap like never before,” gloated Tracey Spicer, former TV host and national convener of Women in Media.

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten agreed: “(She) put the national spotlight on the gender pay gap …”

It got even crazier. In Fairfax media, management consultant Kasey Edwards praised Wilkinson as a woman who “ fought for equal pay”.

Yes, yes, echoed Gladys Berejiklian, herself so oppressed that she’s forced to work as Premier of NSW: “That would be akin to me getting a pay cut because my predecessors weren’t female.”

Melbourne University gender lecturer Lauren Rosewarne peddled the same fake line: “It’s deplorable — we have a visual encapsulation of two people doing exactly the same job yet earning different money.”

We do? What, like Waleed Aly and Wilkinson? Those two co-hosts, you mean, Lauren — both doing the same job but on different money?

Or Bickmore and Wilkinson, also colleagues paid so very differently?

Doesn’t this smash this entire farce about Wilkinson just wanting “equal pay”? Of course, there’s a wild chance the media has got it all wrong. Maybe Wilkinson secretly warned Channel 10 she’d refuse to join The Project unless it paid her not a dollar more than co-hosts Aly, Bickmore and comedian Peter Hellier.

Yeah, right.

Of course, Wilkinson’s defenders will say she’ll do more for Ten than host The Project on Sundays and appear on the panel on weekdays. She will also reportedly host two other shows, as yet unannounced, which of course means she deserves more pay. But it was exactly the same story back at Channel 9. Stefanovic doesn’t just co-host Today. He has also hosted a prime-time hit, Same Time Next Year, and occasionally filled in at A Current Affair and filed for 60 Minutes. And, unlike Wilkinson, he didn’t have an outside deal with Huffington Post that stopped him from contributing to Nine’s digital media.

What’s more, he’s a proven drawcard — or was, before his messy divorce. But there’s little evidence that Wilkinson is also prime-time talent. Nor is it at all clear that Nine is a network that pays women less than men just because it’s sexist.

Anyone remember Jana Wendt? The “Perfumed Steamroller” was reputedly Australia’s highest-paid TV star — and at Channel 9.

True, Stefanovic was paid unusually more than Wilkinson, but it wasn’t because he was a man.

He was paid more not only because he did more work, but because he was set to defect to Channel 7. Nine back then — before Stefanovic’s divorce — paid as much as it had to keep a talent it thought too commercially important to lose and too hard to replace. Wilkinson has, herself, just discovered just how much you can get if you threaten to quit — and can afford to.

Nine offered her another $700,000, yet she wanted an extra $500,000 on top — giving her not equality with Stefanovic but a lot more: a total package of $2.2 million.

So spare me the tears and cheers for Wilkinson. A victim of sexism now paid north of $1.5 million by Ten? A woman paid three times more than her co-hosts?

Until she’s paid as little as poor Waleed Aly, I’m calling bull on this martyr for equality.