New Australia Post chief appointed day before Senate inquiry by Christine Holgate | Australia Post

The Morrison government appointed a new chief executive for Australia Post just 24 hours before a Senate inquiry into issues surrounding the former chief executive’s departure.

The appointment of Woolworths supply chain chief Paul Graham comes five months after the departure of former Australia Post executive Christine Holgate following a luxury watch spending scandal.

The announcement left non-government MPs shaking their heads wondering why the government would announce the new chief executive on the eve of the Senate inquiry into Holgate’s departure.

Greens communications spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the timing was “inappropriate”.

“While the issue of Ms. Holgate’s employment termination is before a Senate investigation, the appointment of a new CEO is improper and seeks to undermine the Senate investigative process,” she said. .

“It is shameful that the Morrison government is rushing to appoint a new CEO the day before Christine Holgate has the opportunity to air her allegations that she was ‘thrown under the bus’ and ‘humiliated’ in a way not reproduced by the Morrison government when it comes to the alleged misconduct of the men in its ranks.

Labor communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland agreed.

“For the moment to be so blatantly provocative is not just a disrespect to the new CEO, Mr Graham, but it shows that Scott Morrison remains fully engrossed in short-term political management,” he said. she declared.

Graham will not take office until September. His appointment follows a recruitment process conducted by headhunting firm Egon Zehnder, an exercise estimated to have cost between $350,000 and $500,000.

Graham will receive a minimum of $1.46 million in annual salary, a figure that has the potential to be doubled through bonuses and the fact that he has previous experience with the postal services, having worked as a senior executive in German multinational packaging and supply chain company. Deutsche Post DHL company.

Holgate, who last week said she was “humiliated” by Scott Morrison’s comments about her, will give evidence at Tuesday’s inquest.

Holgate resigned from Australia Post on November 1, 10 days after a Senate estimates hearing revealed she had used company funds to buy four Cartier watches as a thank you to senior executives involved in the the [email protected] project – an initiative that franchisees have credited with saving their businesses.

The designer watches, worth a total of $20,000, had been awarded as a bonus two years before the October 2020 Senate estimate hearing. There were immediate calls for an investigation into the gifts and Scott Morrison lambasted Holgate, telling parliament if Holgate didn’t “wish [to stand aside] she can go” the same day.

In a Senate submission, she has since challenged that she willfully stepped aside and alleged that Australia Post President Lucio Di Bartolomeo unlawfully resigned her and “repeatedly lied to the people of Australia” and misled Parliament by stating that she had done so voluntarily.

Di Bartolomeo and Australia Post, in a submission to the same inquiry, argued that Holgate voluntarily made the decision to stand down while an investigation was conducted, then resigned 10 days later.

Holgate has remained a popular figure with franchisees since her resignation and has received political support from all walks of life since her resignation.

An independent review of the watch bounties, conducted by law firm Maddocks, found there was no documentary evidence that the Australia Post board had approved the giveaways, but also found no “no indication of dishonesty, fraud, corruption or intentional misuse of Australia Post funds by anyone”. person involved in matters relating to the purchase and donation of Cartier watches”.

Australia Post launched a review of its gifts and bonuses policy following the review, to ensure it met public service obligations.

As a public company, Australia Post is owned by Australian taxpayers, who remain its sole shareholders, but operates independently of government as a business.

Holgate will open the Senate investigation tomorrow with his testimony. The hearing is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m.

Norman D. Briggs