Australia Post has revealed four luxury watches bought for senior employees cost almost $20,000 — nearly double the amount initially told to Parliament.
- The watches, initially said to be worth $12,000, are the subject of a Government investigation
- Australia Post’s chief executive stood aside yesterday, saying the watches had been purchased “on behalf of the board”
- But today Australia Post’s chair said the board had no involvement
Senate Estimates was yesterday told four executives each received a Cartier watch — worth a combined $12,000 — as a “thank you” gift for securing a lucrative contract.
But today Australia Post chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo issued a statement saying the watches cost $7,000, $4,750, $4,400 and $3,800, for a total of $19,950.
Australia Post’s chief executive Christine Holgate stood aside yesterday after the Federal Government announced an investigation into the gifts.
Ms Holgate told the Senate hearing yesterday the decision to purchase the gifts was made on behalf of “the chair, myself, and on behalf of the board.”
But today Mr Di Bartolomeo said the board, which he heads, was not involved.
“The board was advised at today’s meeting that a check of board papers and minutes from this period show the then-board was not asked to approve or note the purchase of those Cartier watches,” he said.
“The board was further advised today that these papers and minutes do not record any subsequent reference to the purchase.”
The issue sparked a furore yesterday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying he was “appalled” and that the gifts were “disgraceful and not on”.
The Federal Government owns Australia Post, but it operates as an independent business and does not receive funding from the Government.
More to come.