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Ex Australia Post CEO 'thrown under bus' after PM 'humiliated' her

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Christine Holgate has accused Scott Morrison of humiliating her, and says Australia Post’s chairman bullied her out of her job to “curry favour with his political masters”.

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The former chief executive launched an explosive attack on the prime minister and Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

Holgate controversially departed Australia Post after Morrison angrily condemned her over a luxury watches scandal in parliament.

Holgate quit under immense pressure after it emerged she gifted four watches to executives as a reward for signing a lucrative deal.

“I lost my job, a job that I loved, because I was humiliated by our prime minister for committing no offence and then bullied by my chairman,” she told the committee.

She said Di Bartolomeo unlawfully stood her down under the direction of the prime minister, making her leadership untenable and threatening her health.

“I have done no wrong. 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,” Holgate said.

“Throughout this time, my health had deteriorated to the point where I could not find my voice to fight back.

“This is a day the chairman of Australia Post and the other men involved in what happened to me will be held to account.”

Holgate said she was speaking out to prevent anyone suffering workplace harassment and bullying.

“The simple truth is I was bullied out of my job. I was humiliated and driven to despair,” she said.

“I was thrown under the bus by the chairman of Australia Post, to curry favour with his political masters. But I’m still here and I’m stronger for surviving it.”

Holdgate also said she “wasn’t popular” with Di Bartolomeo and ministers over her opposition to a confidential business strategy review.

Labor senator Kim Carr said the report recommended 5000 to 8000 job cuts and the closure of 190 post offices, along with reductions in delivery standards.

Holgate told a Senate hearing in Canberra the review should not have been kept from the public.

“We should stop having secret reviews. Australia Post is an asset for all Australians,” she told Senator Carr on Tuesday.

“Senator, I actually think the implications are worse than what you think.”

In bombshell evidence to the inquiry, Holgate accused Mr Di Bartolomeo of misleading parliament when he said he had not read the Boston Consulting Group review.

She said he had multiple copies of the report, met with BCG and top bureaucrats, and attended a five-hour board meeting about its contents.

“I find it almost impossible to believe a chairman could forget that,” Holgate said.

“Why would you pay $1.3 million for a report you just flick through?”

Holgate said government minister Jane Hume blocked Australia Post from answering questions about the proposals at a parliamentary inquiry last month.

“I apologise that I was never able to speak up before, because I do appreciate you’ve asked me many times but we are silenced,” she said.

The former Australia Post boss, who has the backing of hundreds of post office licensees, said a similar push to privatise the parcel aspect of the business in the UK sparked legal action.

“The post offices went bankrupt,” she said.

Di Bartolomeo is due to respond to Holgate’s claims at the hearing later on Tuesday.

-with AAP

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