An Australia Post licensee has unleashed on the Prime Minister, saying his treatment of former CEO Christine Holgate was “disgraceful”.
Licensed Post Office Group head and licensee Angela Cramp said she was shocked and appalled by the former CEO’s treatment and joined others in calling for the Prime Minister to apologise.
Ms Holgate stood aside late last year after revealing she had used a company credit card in 2018 to gift four senior executives luxury Cartier watches, valued at $12,000, instead of issuing up to $150,000 in bonuses.
An independent report later found she broke no policies, but did not act within certain guidelines of her role.
Ms Holgate told a Senate Inquiry on Tuesday she felt bullied out of her job, after the Prime Minister last year told parliament he was “appalled” by the purchase of the watches and pushed for her resignation.
Angela Cramp, who runs three post offices, said she was shocked by the former CEO’s treatment.
“I was appalled and I think it’s disgraceful – he overstepped the mark in every way,” Ms Cramp said.
“She has maintained her dignity this entire time, and to see her finally be able to speak the truth, it was glorious.
“I think it’s a powerful moment for anybody who has been in such a dreadful situation with nobody to support you.”
Ms Holgate this week labelled Mr Morrison’s actions as “one of the worst acts of bullying” she had ever witnessed.
She called on him to apologise for his role in her ousting, which she said made her position untenable.
“Everybody makes mistakes sometimes,” Ms Holgate said.
“If he was to call me and apologise, I would welcome that apology. That’s all I want.”
Ms Holgate was cleared of misleading or misusing taxpayer funds, and has been backed by the LPOG, which last year claimed her appointment had saved some of its 2850 members for bankruptcy.
Ms Holgate is lauded by LPO owners for her Bank@Post deal, which saw the big banks cough up millions to have post offices help their customers with banking services.
Before the deal was made owners had claimed the service was threatening to send them broke.
Ms Cramp said operators had spent a decade battling with senior management at Australia Post, and had finally received the support they needed when Mr Holgate stepped in.
She said all the good work “started sliding back” within a week of Ms Holgate’s departure.
“We had a new service verifying parcel addresses which was a game changer, and worked very well,” she said.
“And a week after all this happened, we were advised that program was going live in two weeks, with the payment 30 per cent less than what we agreed to.
“We’ve slid back to the days of the old where there was no communication, no consultation, we’re told one thing and something else always happens.
“They’re more interested in collecting more money for the government, rather than paying the licensees.”