Christine Holgate
Christine Holgate

Aus Post boss accuses PM of ‘humiliating’ her

Australia Post has rejected claims it did not properly notify Christine Holgate about standing down as chief executive, as the embattled boss accused the Prime Minister of "humiliating" her.

In a statement released by her lawyers, Ms Holgate claimed she had not been formally notified by the board of Australia Post that she had been stood down while an investigation into luxury watches gifted to senior staff was carried out.

 

Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate told Senate estimates the company bought Cartier watches for senior staff. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate told Senate estimates the company bought Cartier watches for senior staff. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

Ms Holgate has been criticised for rewarding her staff with $20,000 worth of Cartier watches.

She said she supported a "fair investigation", but claimed she had not been formally notified by the Australia Post board about the process.

"Ms Holgate has not had any proper notification that she has been stood down from her role, nor has she been informed as to why she should be stood down," Bryan Belling, partner at law firm Kingston Reid, said.

"Legally, in my opinion there are no grounds for Ms Holgate to be stood down, and 'optics' is not a legally valid defence."

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was ‘appalled’ by the Australia Post scandal. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was ‘appalled’ by the Australia Post scandal. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

But a spokesman for Australia Post told The Daily Telegraph the board had been "communicating frequently" with Ms Holgate about the situation and "ensuring appropriate support has been provided".

"The chair stands by his previously made statement on Thursday, 22 October, that Ms Holgate will stand aside and this was agreed to by both parties in a telephone conversation," he said.

The statement from Ms Holgate's lawyers also took aim at Mr Morrison, who told parliament last week he was "shocked and appalled" about the purchase of the watches.

"It is now exactly seven days since Ms Holgate was the subject of a humiliating answer during Question Time," the statement from her lawyers said.

The boss of Australia Post says she has not formally been told to stand down. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
The boss of Australia Post says she has not formally been told to stand down. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Mr Belling said Ms Holgate had also not been told about the investigation into the Cartier watches by Australia Post or the federal government.

He said under general employment law, the Australia Post board was required to "formally" inform Ms Holgate that she had been stood down, and on what grounds.

"This is the case under general employment law, as well as the specifics of Australia Post's own employment regulations. The board has failed to do so," Mr Belling said.

Ms Holgate told Senate estimates last week that her office had bought Cartier watches for four employees in October 2018 as reward for finalising a major deal with three large banks.

Originally published as Aus Post boss accuses PM of 'humiliating' her



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