The Meeting Place

Sunrise host thinks people on $180,000 a year aren’t rich

Popular Sunrise host Samantha Armytage has received backlash from some viewers after agreeing with Scott Morrison that people earning $180,000 a year aren’t rich.

The comment came in the wake of the recent budget release, that favours wealthier Australians at the expense of others. Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended the tax cuts for high income earners, arguing that FIFO workers deserve to pay less tax because they work hard, and aren’t rich for earning $180,000 a year.

Armytage agreed. “It depends where you live in Australia as to whether or not you are wealthy on that, in Sydney probably not,” she said on Sunrise on Thursday morning. “$180,000 sounds like a lot but these FIFO workers make huge sacrifices. They are often the sole income earner, (have) a couple of kids, a mortgage.”

These comments have been criticised as being ‘out of touch’ with Australia, and seems to suggest that high income FIFO workers work harder than the rest of us.

“If you’re earning $180,000 you’re in the top four per cent of income or thereabouts,” Ben Phillips, associate professor at the Australian National University, told

So, it’s fair to say that this comment may feel like a slap in the face to many Australians. It’s also good to keep on mind that Armytage is one of Australia’s highest paid TV hosts, earning a whopping $500,000 a year according to

In Australia, an average man earns $1,958.30 a week and an average women earns $1,751.31 a week before tax. The mining industry has the highest average weekly earnings of $2,697.50 a week. In the light of the budget’s tax cuts, which lowered taxes for the mining industry, it may be right to ask just how the industry benefits the average Australian. If we don’t enjoy any of the tax benefits or high wages, and the industry isn’t supporting public health care or education through tax, then who is it really helping?

Some of the morning show’s viewers took to social media to share their discontent.

“Most Australians are living in poverty, with a median income of $60K. Except for overpaid people on TV,” wrote one commentator.

“The suggestion that FIFO workers work hard and make sacrifices somehow devalues so many others in the workforce who do the same in different ways,” wrote another.

“Interesting that the presenter claims that the poor man earning “only” $180pa might be the sole income earner at home … he wouldn’t have to be if women had better chances of even getting a job.” This commentator’s words strike true for many Australians, during the time of COVID-19, when we have disproportionately seen women be affected by job losses and additional responsibilities.

Do you think Armytage’s comments are out of touch? Do you consider people earning $180,000 a year to be rich? How did you feel about the federal budget?

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Compared to what TV stars earn 180 k would not be classed  rich. They never disclose their earnings. Recently L wilkinson was fighting for equal pay of around a million mark.They live in a different world compared to normal hard working folk. 

Yes, way out of touch!


Samantha Armytage obviously has no idea! Her comments should be in the Friday Funnies section titled "Why did the rich cross the road." and the answer should be "Because she could make more money on the other side."  Earning millions could make her think that $180,000 isn't much but for most people that sum represents someone who's very rich.


Someone earning $180,000 a year in a city like Sydney with no other income is not "rich" in my opinion.

On the other hand you could be classed as rich if you live in the outback and earn that amount.

All depends on location, location, location.


I guess that is you lived in certain areas of Sydney, Point Piper for example, on an income of $180k a year would not be looked upon a being rich. It is a all relative to your own income level. I am sure to soemone living out inthe west of Sydney you would be looked upon as being rich and compared to a person on the average wage you are certainly rich. 

Just remember that in the 'outback' everything (except real estate) costs way more than in the city and that people have to travel large distances to get anything - with little choice when they get there (costing lots for petrol and NO chance of public transport) and yet $180K would be most welcome here. 

It is a reflection of a person's own income to state that $180k a year is not rich. This applies to TV personalities as well as P.Ms. As stated an income of $180k per year puts them in the top 4% of income earners and Morrison has only used FIFO workers to muddy the waters over income tax cuts which greatly favours the higher income earners.

Scotty from Markleting strikes again. How come while we are in the midst of a pandemic with more problems in aged care than you can poke a stick at he is off in Queensland on Liberal Party electioneering? Shades of Hawaiian holiday during bushfires. 

And having a Nth Qld long weekend due to "technical problems' with Shark 1 so unable to hold his National Cabinet Meeting on Monday. I remind him of the RAAF!

As expected all the green eyed monsters come running out of the woodwork. $180,000 a year makes you 'comfortable' but certainly not rich especially if that is the household income. Two people on just above the average wage would bring in the same amount. And a person on that amount (was) paying a damn sight more income tax. 

As always here, 'anyone with more than you' is being sneered at as 'rich'. 

No one is sneering just pointing out the reality of the situation of one person's income which is in fact in the top 4% of incomes in Australia. The actual wage it should be compared to is the median wage, i e the wage of the average person, rather than the average wage as that is distorted by the very high incomes at the top level.

The median wage is a smigeon over $48,000 per year so $180k is well over 3.5 times that of the wage of the average person. 

Putting forward a valid point is not sneering, KSS. 

Again, not sneering, just echoing that $180K is not poor either. 

True, Joyful56, lifestyle as well would have an effect, smoking, drinking and/or gambling would also decide whether $180,000 would make you rich, comfortable or destitute.

$180k might not be rich but let's be honest, it's pretty good. Both her and ScoMo need to get real and think about the pensioners who are getting $24,550 per year and get heavily taxed/penalised if they try to get any work, particularly on a DSP as I am. We've paid our taxes too for over 40 years yet all we hear are we're bludgers wanting government hand-outs. About time some of these people tried living off the minimum wage even for a month. I bet they couldn't last the distance 

I agree Oldchick. These people in the high-income sector wouldn't last a couple of weeks on our aged pension. I worked for 40 odd years including putting my life in the line of fire for a couple of years and who cares about us now. Nobody, especially the people in charge of the country and our money!

Of course Scomo thinks $180,000 is a pittance, his salary is half a million plus plenty of feather-bedded perks.

Time politicians' salaries were trimmed and he wouldn't be so out of touch. I suppose he and the rest of parliament benefit from the tax cuts.

Perhaps instead of quoting average Wages or income they should be quoting the mean income which would be much lower. Despite trying to find some official figure I have been unable to locate it. The ABS does not report it , totally useless

I must admit, that these days, a person earning $180,000 per annum is generally not considered to be rich. In saying that I would gladly swap places with them. Tax off the top is around $55,000 a year. Then you take out Super, Medicare, private health insurance, which you are made to take out. It all adds up. On first look, it seems to be an enormous amount of money, simply because so many of the average people are earning way less and just getting by. Other than being born into money, those who study hard, work hard and steer clear of the various evils that life offers, can soon be up in the high earners bracket, with a little bit of luck. You always need that luck. You'll never get rich sitting on your ass and whinging. Cheers Jacka.



PS. Looking at Ms. Armytage and my goodness there's a lot to look at, I wouldn't be surprised if $180,000 per year wouldn't cover her annual lunch bill. And she does spell her surname rather peculiarly doesn't she. A little tongue in cheek prior to the weekend. Have a good one all, Jacka.



Tongue in cheek? Not on your life. Just downright rude!


If someone getting an income of $180,000 is in the top 4% income bracket, but isn't "rich", where does that leave the other 96%? Oh, that's right, Scomo doesn't care about them.


$180,000 a year is bloody good money. Check the Retail Sales Assistant Award and it shows a weekly pay rate of $898 for level 5 that equates to $46700 per year. Even with both parents working, that's under 100 pianos a year. Retirement on the age pension with a little top-up from super still gives a reasonable lifestyle so long as you own your own home.


Whata lot of jealousy around the ridges 

People have to work hard for that money, they pay a large chunk in taxes and on top of it all, they have to face the green eyed monsters!!!!!!!!


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