Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has recently been under political fire for doubling down on a corporate tax policy. Members of the opposing Labor Party say cutting the corporate tax will augment Turnbull’s own fortune through the multi-million dollar investments he has in many businesses.
Turnbull clapped back at the Labor Party, calling the comments “mean-spirited” and “politics of envy,” and said that many Australians – including Labor members of parliament - have investments in such businesses as well.
According to Senator David Leyohjelm – a member of Trumbull’s Liberal Party – “It’s a ridiculous idea. Your personal success in life has got nothing to do with your ability to make good judgments for the country.”
Fueling the intrigue were reports that Turnbull donates $550,000 to charity through his Turnbull Foundation, effectively giving away his $528,000 salary as prime minister.
Turnbull’s family has an estimated net worth of $180,000,000. Outside of politics, his illustrious career included high-profile work in law and investment banking, most famously as managing director of Goldman Sachs Australia. In 1994, he made a $500,000 investment in internet service provider OzEmail that he sold in 1999 to Worldcom for $60 million.
Turnbull isn’t the only ridiculously wealthy head of state giving away his salary. President Trump has kept a campaign promise to donate his $400,000 salary to charity. But the practice is not unique or new at the top, and politicians at all levels are often in the news for donating their personal wealth (and salaries) to charities. While some folks see these donations as selfless and commendable, others wonder if they are motivated by PR or political reasons.
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