Former Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate says she doubts Scott Morrison will follow demands from a senate inquiry that found the Prime Minister owed the former public service executive an apology.
Ms Holgate quit her role at Australia Post in November after it was revealed she purchased luxury Cartier watches worth a total of $20,000 for four employees as a reward for securing a banking deal in 2018.
An inquiry was partly established to investigate the events relating to her resignation and whether the Australia Post board exercised its role with due diligence.
Ms Holgate was asked on Channel 7’s Sunrise on Thursday morning if she expected the Prime Minister or Communications Minister Paul Fletcher to follow through with recommendations to apologise she said “not yet”.
“But I would welcome that phone call,” she said.
She also said her former board “believe I was treated appallingly but they don’t think it deserves an apology”.
“I struggle with that, personally,” she told the breakfast news program.
“That’s their position prior to this report, and I hope that overnight they’ve had the chance to read it – it is very extensive.
“(I hope) they consider those words and pick up the phone and say that they are sorry and make a small statement.”
The 255-page report from the Senate inquiry was released on Wednesday with 25 recommendations.
“The committee recommends that the Australia Post board and shareholder ministers and the Prime Minister apologise to Ms Holgate for denying her the legal principles of procedural fairness and natural justice in her departure from Australia Post,” the report read.
Committee members also questioned the “degree of moral outrage” directed towards Ms Holgate.
“The Prime Minister’s excessively strong criticism of Ms Holgate during question time on October 22, 2020, was a significant contributor to the intensity of the initial public response,” the report read.
The inquiry has also recommended Australia Post chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo resign.
“The committee recommends that the chair of Australia Post resign in acceptance of his responsibility for the organisation’s failings with respect to the Holgate matter, the veracity of his evidence provided to the committee, his capacity to defend the independence of Australia Post and the lack of effective robust policies and financial oversight processes in place throughout his tenure,” the report read.
Another key recommendation was to restructure the board to include nominees of politicians, the employees and unions, and the licensees.
The committee also recommended the Australian government “expressly rule out” privatising or divesting Australia Post or any of its services.
Regarding the gifting of the Cartier watches, the committee noted there was evidence suggesting a “historical culture of gift giving and rewards for senior staff” at Australia Post.
“Even more concerning to this committee is the sheer magnitude of bonuses and incentives paid to executives, senior managers and other highly paid staff across the commonwealth,” the report read.
According to the government’s performance bonus review interim report, Australia Post paid $35.3 million to about 500 highly paid staff in 2019-20 – up $10.1 million from the previous year.
— with Angie Raphael