The union representing postal workers says Australia Post’s entire leadership team should be scrutinised, arguing chief executive Christine Holgate could be made a scapegoat over a luxury watches investigation.
- The union’s representative says the entire Australia Post board should stand aside
- The board and management team say they will “cooperate fully” with the investigation
- The Opposition wants the results of the inquiry to be made public
Australia Post has announced Ms Holgate is standing aside while the Federal Government investigates the awarding of $3,000 Cartier watches to four senior employees.
Liberal Senator James Paterson called for Ms Holgate to “read the room and go now” but the national secretary of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia (CEPU), Greg Rayner, disagreed.
“I’m comfortable if she’s being stood aside and basically relieved of her duties,” Mr Rayner said.
“But I don’t think it was Christine Holgate on her own. And I’ve got a little bit of compassion for Christine that she just might be getting set up in all of this.”
Mr Rayner argued the Federal Government had ignored broader problems at Australia Post, including increased pressure placed on postal workers, and he suggested the entire board should be stood aside while the investigation was underway.
Board to ‘fully cooperate’
In a statement, Australia Post’s chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo said the board and management team would “fully cooperate” with the investigation being carried out by the Departments of Finance and Communications with the help of an external law firm.
“We remain committed to delivering for our important stakeholders — our people, our Post Office partners, our customers and the community,” he said.
“Group CEO & Managing Director Christine Holgate will stand aside during the investigation. During this time, Rodney Boys, Chief Financial Officer will be acting in the role.”
The investigation will examine the role of board members and is expected to report to Cabinet within four weeks.
Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland called on the Federal Government to make the findings public.
“We need to have confidence in this process and we need to have confidence in these findings and that confidence is squarely in the hands of the Government to deliver,” she said.
“How can the Australian public have confidence in this process if its findings are not made public?”