Pauline Hanson has accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of "trashing the credibility and reputation" of former Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate and throwing her under a bus, as she calls for a Senate inquiry into her treatment.

Ms Holgate stood down from the top job in October last year after it was revealed she spent $12,000 on luxury Cartier watches for a bonus for executives after a successful business deal.

In an explosive attack, Senator Hanson accused Mr Morrison of "double standards".

It sends a clear signal to the government they cannot rely on One Nation's support in the Senate.

The four watches were gifted in 2018 but did not come to light until a Senate estimates hearing in October 2020.

At the time Mr Morrison said if should would not stand down herself "she can go".

Senator Hanson gave a strong defence of Ms Holgate in the Senate on Wednesday, saying she had the backing of Australia Post employees and franchisees and had been a respected CEO, describing her as a "stellar example of corporate leadership".

She said the Prime Minister had given her no support, but instead "just complete abandonment".

"No explanation by the Prime Minister, no innocent until proven guilty … no respect for one of the country's most senior and successful business leaders," Senator Hanson said.

"It was a simple, 'here comes the bus and you're being thrown under it'.

"They just threw her under the bus, publicly and savagely."

She said there were questions over whether Ms Holgate had actually agreed to stand down.

Senator Hanson said Ms Holgate had improved Australia Post's performance, including a record revenue of $7.5 billion, up 7 per cent in the financial year 2020, and that the watches were in recognition of securing the largest ever investment into Community Post Offices.

"The actions of the Prime Minister, his relevant Ministers and the chair and board of Australia Post and their appalling treatment of Ms Holgate, deserve nothing less than a Senate Inquiry," she said.

Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate during Senate estimates in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate during Senate estimates in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

At the time, Mr Morrison said of the decision to gift the watches: "I was appalled, it's disgraceful and it's not on."

Australia Post has since launched an internal review of spending on gifts and benefits, having also received heat from the federal government about bonuses paid to executives.

A review into the incident, released last month, found there were "varying levels of understanding" among current and former board members about their governance and accountability obligations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as 'They threw her under a bus': Pauline hits out at PM



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