Meet Glyn Davis, the public servant you've never heard of who earns more than $1million - 66 per cent more than Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is paid

Albanese's department head earns more than he does Top public servant Glyn Davis joins million-dollar clubREAD MORE: Anthony Albanese receives a huge pay rise amid cost of living crisis - here's how much he is getting paid

Australia's public service has its first million-dollar man after Glyn Davis, Anthony Albanese's secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, received a massive pay rise.

Mr Davis, who recently wrote a book about having a moral responsibility to those less well off, scored an increase of $34,202 which took his salary to $1,011,402 - a figure 66 per cent higher than Anthony Albanese's new before-tax pay of $607,500.

It's not just Mr Davis, 64, who earns more than Mr Albanese. At least six other public servants are also closing in on the exclusive million-dollars-per-year club.

Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy will receive a $33,347 pay rise to $986,117, while the secretaries of departments such as ­Attorney-General, Defence, Education, Finance and Home Affairs are getting a $32,492 hike to $960,832.

Before working for Mr Albanese, Mr Davis was CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, Australia's largest charitable foundation, and is a former chair of Opera Australia.

Australia's public service now has its first million-dollar man after Glyn Davis (pictured), Anthony Albanese's secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, received a massive pay rise

Australia's public service now has its first million-dollar man after Glyn Davis (pictured), Anthony Albanese's secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, received a massive pay rise

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In Mr Davis' 2021 book, On Life's Lottery, he wrote: 'We like to think of Australia as the land of the 'fair go', a land of choice and equal opportunity.

'But behind the facade of meritocracy lies an uncomfortable truth: much of your life is already decided by the lottery of where you are born and who you are born to.

'Entrenched inter-generational poverty, like the property of the wealthy, can be handed down from parent to child.'

After attending high school at the Catholic Marist Brothers College in the southern Sydney suburb of Kogarah, Mr Davis studied political science at UNSW and did a PhD at the Australian National University, where his thesis was on the political independence of the ABC.

He spent almost 14 years as the vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne and as a professor of political science.

Mr Davis, who is married to Margaret Gardner, the Governor of Victoria, has also previously worked for other Labor governments, both federal and state.

He was the Commissioner for Public Sector Equity from 1990 to 1993 under prime ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, and served as director-general of the Office of the Cabinet from 1995 to 1996 under Queensland Premier Wayne Goss.

Mr Davis later worked as director-general of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet under Peter Beattie from 1998 to 2002.

The salaries of federal department secretaries, which are decided by the Remuneration Tribunal, row range from around $800,000 to just over $1,000,000.

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By comparison the average pay for ASX 200 chief executives rose 15 per cent to $1.14million in the 2022-23 financial year, and that was before the often very lucrative bonuses were added in.

In order to get the most capable people to run federal government departments, some of which have thousands of employees, the public service has to offer salaries which are at least in the ballpark of what candidates could earn in the private sector.

Kirstin Ferguson, a former deputy chair of the ABC, said that senior public servants carry 'heavy responsibilities'.

'We must do all we can to attract, hire and retain the best possible leaders and focus on the value they provide,' she wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald.

'To achieve that, we must pay our public servants and CEOs commensurately with the heavy responsibilities they carry.'

But while a commercial enterprise's CEO can be judged on a company's sales figures or share price, there is no comparable investor feedback for those who run government departments.

It's only when a department becomes embroiled in a scandal that most people people even find out who its head is, such as when Kathryn Campbell resigned from her $900,000 a year job following the fallout from the robodebt royal commission.

Ms Campbell, who oversaw the rollout of the illegal income averaging scheme as secretary of the Department of Human Services, was stood down from her advisory job at defence just three days after commissioner Catherine Holmes' report into it was tabled.

In its statement on the latest pay increases, the Remuneration Tribunal said the increases it 'awarded to offices in its jurisdiction over the past decade have been modest'.

Anthony Albanese's (pictured) new before tax pay is $607,500, far less than the $1million his department head earns

Anthony Albanese's (pictured) new before tax pay is $607,500, far less than the $1million his department head earns

'Including the current decision, the cumulative total of remuneration increases awarded by the tribunal since 2015 amounts to 18.25 per cent.

'In contrast, remuneration increases more generally in the public and private sectors … have equated to 24.4 per cent.'

The tribunal did not raise politicians' and public servants' wages during 2020 and 2021 pandemic years, which followed four consecutive years of 2 per cent increases.

The new pay increase was designed to allow for 'competitive and equitable' salaries that are 'appropriate to the responsibilities and experience' required in public offices, and to attract 'people of calibre', the tribunal said.

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