Article by Riley Stuart /
October 17, 2017 /
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New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said high-profile journalist and TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson is “sending a very strong message” in defecting from Channel Nine over a reported pay dispute.
Ms Wilkinson announced her departure, effective immediately, from the breakfast TV program via social media last night.
On Twitter, she posted a statement from Channel Nine, in which the network said it was “unable to meet the expectations of Lisa Wilkinson and her manager on a contract renewal”.
Less than an hour later, the 57-year-old announced she would be joining Channel Ten’s evening staple The Project.
Mr Stefanovic earns $2 million a year while Ms Wilkinson had only received $1.1 million a year, News Corp Australia reported.
While Nine reportedly offered Ms Wilkinson $1.8 million, that did not stop her departure.
Ms Berejiklian, who replaced Mike Baird in NSW’s top job last year, said Ms Wilkinson had her support if she’d acted based over a pay disparity.
“If the reason is about equal pay, I say good on her,” she said.
“I think she’s sending a very strong message to the community.
“That would be akin to me getting a pay cut because my predecessors weren’t female.
On the program this morning, Mr Stefanovic said his former co-host had handled her job with beauty, intelligence and a “wicked sense of humour”.
“For whatever reason she won’t be doing that anymore and it was a surprise to us all,” he said.
“It’s safe to say we’re all a little bit shocked and it’ll take a little while to sink in.
Gender lecturer Doctor Lauren Rosewarne from the University of Melbourne urged viewers to boycott the Today Show to send Channel Nine a message.
“It’s deplorable — we have a visual encapsulation of two people doing exactly the same job yet earning different money,” Dr Rosewarne said.
“It tells the wider community that we value men and men’s contributions more than women — particularly in the public eye — and that we don’t place a premium on a woman’s experience.
“All employers need to recognise the contribution that women make and compensate them fairly.”
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also weighted in on Wilkinson’s channel switch, congratulating her for drawing attention to the gender pay gap, in a speech before Question Time in Parliament.
“It’s fitting that after a decade of breaking news, grilling politicians and asking Australians to look at the world in a different way, her final act of Today was to put the national spotlight on the gender pay gap, a measure of inequality that shamefully has barely moved in 30 years,” Mr Shorten said.
“Compared to their male colleagues, Australian women effectively work the first two months of every year for free … there are millions of Australian women who would have taken a small measure of comfort from your actions.
“I hope this morning, for the first time in 10 years, you enjoyed a well-deserved sleep-in.”
Ms Wilkinson’s contemporaries were quick to praise her decision, describing her as a “warrior for equal pay” who should be congratulated for “sticking it up ’em”.
Channel Ten has not announced a start date for Ms Wilkinson.
Tracey Spicer, National Convenor of Women in Media, called for companies to begin a gender pay audit.
“I think it’s wonderful that Lisa Wilkinson has drawn a line in the sand and said that’s good enough for any women in the workplace,” she said.
She said Ms Wilkinson leaving was “a PR disaster” for Nine.
“By changing jobs Lisa has highlighted the gender pay gap like never before in the Australian workplace,” Ms Spicer said.