Christine Holgate: Scott Morrison's bullying 'an utter disgrace'

Henrietta Strickland
April 15, 2021

Earlier in the day Ms Holgate gave explosive evidence, accusing Mr Di Bartolomeo of having her stood down unlawfully under the public direction of Mr Morrison.

"Christine Holgate has been treated abysmally but I believe the board and management did the right thing by her", Mr Di Bartolomeo said at a Senate committee today, where he described the purchase of the luxury watches as an "error of judgement" by an otherwise "highly effective CEO".

"That was not my intention".

Ms Holgate told a Senate Inquiry on Tuesday she felt bullied out of her job, after the Prime Minister previous year told parliament he was "appalled" by the purchase of the watches and pushed for her resignation.

"So maybe if the Prime Minister is watching he could give me a call and I would love an apology, but he could help me resolve my contract", she told 7.30.

Ms Holgate was cleared of misleading or misusing taxpayer funds, and has been backed by the LPOG, which past year claimed her appointment had saved some of its 2850 members for bankruptcy.

Ms Holgate has described Mr Morrison's conduct as "one of the worst acts of bullying I have ever witnessed" and an "utter disgrace".

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

"This was about taxpayer organisations handing out Cartier watches to well-paid executives. This has nothing to do with gender".

Mr Morrison said his concerns remained around the mishandling of funds by a taxpayer-funded company.

"I didn't think it was appropriate".

'I feel fortunate to be joining at a time when we can truly capitalise on the extraordinary growth in eCommerce experienced in the past year and continue developing our retail and digital offerings while keeping letter deliveries strong, ' he said on Monday.

Holgate told the Senate inquiry, called to scrutinise the circumstances of her departure, that even though she resigned, her treatment by the chairman, acting on behalf of the government, was unlawful, had left her health "severely compromised" and "should never be allowed to happen again".

'The agreement for Ms Holgate to stand aside was reached between myself and Ms Holgate in telephone discussions late that afternoon (on October 22), in breaks during a board meeting that commenced at approximately 4pm, ' he wrote.

Christine Holgate says she was "bullied" out of her job.

'To this date, I have not received any explanation why I was forced to stand down other than the minister and prime minister insisted on it and that in itself, does not have legal standing, ' Ms Holgate wrote. "We did not hound her out of a job".

Holgate's comments draw Morrison back into the issue, since he said in parliament before her resignation that the watch bonuses failed the "pub test" - Australian vernacular for common sense - and were grounds for her removal.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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