Christine Holgate Scott Morrison’s bullying ‘an utter disgrace’
Former Australian Post CEO Christine Holgate has described Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushing for her resignation in Parliamentary Question Time as an “utter disgrace” and defended her controversial purchase of watches that first sparked calls for her to lose her job.
Mr Morrison called for Ms Holgate’s removal as the boss of the nation’s postal service last year after it was revealed she had bought expensive watches as a gift for executives as bonuses.
Speaking to ABC’s 7.30 tonight, Ms Holgate described the Prime Minister’s behaviour as “one of the worst acts of bullying I’ve ever witnessed”.
“And even now I have to take myself out of myself to watch it,” she said.
“I think you would have rather hoped that before someone publicly hung and humiliated you, that they may pick up the phone and call you and ask you directly what happened and why.”
She said her decision to give Cartier watches as gifts to executives was “celebrated” internally before it caused a national firestorm.
Ms Holgate said the gifts came following a “significant investment” into Australia Post.
“If anyone’s in any doubt about how important this (investment) was, go into the local community post office and ask the owner,” she said.
“This was for actually getting a life-saving investment that many could have argued the government should have been giving to us to save the post offices.”
Ms Holgate said she had not decided whether to pursue legal action against Australia Post and others.
“So maybe if the Prime Minister is watching he could give me a call and I would love an apology, but he could help me resolve my contract,” she told 7.30.
“I didn’t need to sit and contemplate what those men did to me.
“And I did it because I want a stop to workplace bullying, I want a stop to this ridiculous intimidation.”
Ms Holgate said she received a letter from the Australia Post chairman saying that she had agreed to stand down as CEO.
“But I hadn’t agreed to it,” she said.
“It’s not plausible, I never agreed to do it, I asked constantly for details of when I did.
“Even again went back to them after their letter and said ‘tell me when exactly this phone call took place’. Their response was, ‘we will have to talk to our lawyers’.”
Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo said Ms Holgate was “badly treated” but did not believe she was owed an apology by Australia Post.
“Christine Holgate has been treated abysmally but I believe the board and management did the right thing by her,” Mr Di Bartolomeo said at a Senate committee today, where he described the purchase of the luxury watches as an “error of judgement” by an otherwise “highly effective CEO”.
He told the hearing Communications Minister Paul Fletcher wanted the Australia Post board to stand Ms Holgate aside while an investigation was carried out.
Earlier in the day Ms Holgate gave explosive evidence, accusing Mr Di Bartolomeo of having her stood down unlawfully under the public direction of Mr Morrison.