PM orders Oz Post boss to stand aside

Andrew Cummings
October 24, 2020

In The Australian, business commentator Robert Gottliebsen said Ms Holgate was finding out that "no success goes unpunished at Australia Post".

Australia Post executives were questioned about four $3000 Cartier watches given to senior staff as a reward for a deal to do banking in post officers.

Australian Post Office Chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo announced late Friday that a search of the state organization's records failed to reveal any evidence that the Cartier watches were approved at any meeting described by Ms. Holgate or subsequent meetings. Since the appearance, I have become aware of further details of the purchase and wish, as a matter of urgency, to clarify that the purchase was of four items costing $7,000, $4,750, $4,400 and $3,800 totalling $19,950 (including GST), and was made in November 2018.

"The board took note of a media comment regarding the involvement of the then board in the purchase of Cartier watches".

"We are the investors of Australia Post in the interest of the Australian public", he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ordered an urgent investigation into Ms Holgate, her executives and the board, saying he was appalled: "It's disgraceful and it's not on".

New revelations from Australia Post's chair have shown that the organisation's controversial Cartier watch spend was actually nearly $20,000, some $8000 more than what was originally tabled during senate estimates hearings.

"I hope Holgate is strong enough to stand up to the PM, but her board is stuffed with mates of the Liberals, " he wrote.

An investigation has been launched into Australia Post and its chief executive has been stood down over the gifting of $12,000 worth of Cartier watches to senior managers. "Not with a watch or a bonus I can tell you that", she said.

Ms Holgate, 59, first raised eyebrows past year with her new wheels - an electric blue Range Rover with personalised "POSTY1" number plates.

"I have spoken to the chair of Australia Post, I have explained. that the boards and managements of government business enterprises need to take great care with taxpayers' money", Mr Fletcher said.

Chief executive Christine Holgate will stand aside for the duration of the four-week probe, which will also examine the actions of board members.

Earlier on Thursday, the Herald Sun revealed Australia Post splurged $900,000 in just over two years on indoor plants for its offices, with the spending not reined in even when staff were forced to work from home this year. We're a commercial organization, "she said".

At the time, Australia Post was trying to woo Senator Hanson's vote for an agreement to relax daily postal deliveries during COVID.

Asked whether it was time for a broader examination of pay and bonuses in government businesses and agencies, Mr Morrison said he was open to the idea.

"There were a small number of senior people who put in an inordinate amount of work and they did receive an award from the chair, myself, and on behalf of the board", Ms Holgate said.

"It was a recommendation from our chair that these people get rewarded". "I have not used taxpayer money".

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