- CANBERRA, AAP – Australia Post’s entire board will be hauled before a parliamentary committee with senators set to grill directors over Liberal Party ties.The Senate inquiry is probing former chief executive Christine Holgate’s controversial departure following a luxury watches scandal.
Ms Holgate says she was unlawfully stood down after it emerged she gifted four Cartier watches worth $20,000 to executives who clinched a lucrative deal.
Tony Nutt, who was the Liberal Party’s former federal and Victorian director and worked in senior roles for John Howard, is set to come under scrutiny on Tuesday for his conversations with Ms Holgate after the furore.
During her explosive evidence at the last hearing, Ms Holgate said Mr Nutt made it clear Scott Morrison wanted her to stand down.
“I was told, ‘Christine, you need to understand it was the prime minister’,” she told parliament.
“Clearly he has a very close relationship with the prime minister, but he often was the person who would be more balanced with all political parties than the other politically appointed people.”
Chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo will make his second appearance in the past two weeks.
Former Abbott government minister and Liberal senator Michael Ronaldson and former Queensland LNP president Bruce McIver are also listed to appear.
Fellow director Deidre Willmott was former WA Liberal premier Richard Court’s chief of staff.
At the most recent hearing, Ms Holgate claimed Jan West was the only independent board member.
Four unions representing Australia Post workers have also been called before the committee.
LPO Group, which represents post office licensees across the country, is set to give evidence supportive of Ms Holgate’s tenure in charge.
In a submission to the inquiry, LPO Group said Ms Holgate’s exit was orchestrated by the board.
“It is damning they did not stand and support her to continue to lead this organisation into our highly desired future.”
Federal MP Bob Katter and bureaucrats from the finance and communications departments will also face the senators.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison angrily condemned Ms Holgate in parliament over the scandal declaring she could “go” if she didn’t stand aside during an investigation.
He refused to apologise to Ms Holgate but says he regrets any distress the “willing” nature of his rebuke during Question Time may have caused.
Australia Post board set to face senators
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