The Courier-Mail

‘I WAS HUMILIATED BY THE PM’

HOLGATE CUTS LOOSE

- JAMES MORROW

EX-AUSTRALIA Post boss Christine Holgate sensationa­lly accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of conspiring to have her fired in an extraordin­ary showdown in Canberra on Tuesday.

Under questionin­g in a Senate estimates hearing Ms Holgate launched an impassione­d and forensic attack on the Morrison government, which she blames for orchestrat­ing her downfall — while also revealing the toll of how she was treated had sent her to the brink of suicide.

Ms Holgate was stood down last year amid accusation­s of impropriet­y and loose spending for awarding luxury watches to executives who secured a $220 million deal. On October 22, Mr Morrison denounced Ms Holgate’s actions in Parliament, declaring that she should stand aside “or go” over the matter.

When asked at yesterday’s senate hearing about how she was treated by the government, Ms Holgate said, “I don’t know why the Prime Minister did what he did.”

“I lost my job, a job that I loved, because I was humiliated by the Prime Minister, committing no offence, and then bullied by my chairman,” she said.

Ms Holgate also told of how she was considerin­g selfharm as a result of her treatment and was taking tranquilli­sers.

Asked by Senator Pauline Hanson about her attempts to make contact with the PM as well as Communicat­ions Minister Paul Fletcher and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, Ms Holgate said she had tried to make contact via email but that the correspond­ence was “rambling” because “I was seriously ill, I was on Temazepam.”

“I was suicidal, you know? That’s why it was rambling.”

“I wrote to him (Birmingham) and said surely now that you’re Minister of Finance, Minister of Trade and head of the Senate, you will help me get a resolution and stop what’s happening to me.”

Ms Holgate added she was “humiliated” by Mr Morrison and Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo who “unlawfully stood me down”.

“Their bullying of me was far from over. I was subjected to a biased investigat­ion and intimidate­d with constant threats of further allegation­s and criticism.”

Ms Holgate’s testimony was followed by that of Mr Di Bartolomeo, who revealed he had received phone calls from Mr Fletcher but denied they were “directions.”

As to whether the gifting of watches to executives who had secured a deal to provide banking services through local post offices, was inappropri­ate, Mr di Bartolomeo said, “I view the purchase of the watches as an error of judgment made in good faith by an otherwise highly effective CEO. “

“There was no policy that she contravene­d, no doubt about that,” he said, when asked if Ms Holgate had operated within her remit.

“I think Christine Holgate has been treated abysmally, but I believe the board and management did the right things by her,” Mr Di Bartolomeo added, saying that in his view Ms Holgate was not “stood down, she stood aside.”

“I don’t believe Australia Post owes her an apology but I do believe she’s been badly treated.”

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 ??  ?? Christine Holgate told a Senate committee that she felt suicidal after being bullied out of her job.
Christine Holgate told a Senate committee that she felt suicidal after being bullied out of her job.

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