Australia Post CEO stands aside after execs given $3k Cartier watches

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “appalled, it’s disgraceful and it’s not on”

Australia Post CEO stands aside after execs given $3k Cartier watches

The workplace culture at Australia Post has come into question after four senior employees were given $3,000 Cartier watches as a "thank you" for working to secure a lucrative deal.

The revelation has resulted in Australia Post’s CEO Christine Holgate standing aside.

A Senate Estimates hearing was told the watches went to a team who worked on a multi-million-dollar deal that meant customers of Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and NAB could do their banking at post offices.

Holgate said the employees were given the watches on behalf of the chair of the board and herself as a gesture of appreciation.

"There were a small number of senior people who put in an inordinate amount of work and they did receive an award from the chair, myself, and on behalf of the board," she said.

"We are a commercial organisation. It was a recommendation from our chair that these people get rewarded."

While the Federal Government owns Australia Post, it operates as an independent business and does not receive funding from the Government.

In response to the revelations, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “appalled, it’s disgraceful and it’s not on”.

Morrison said Holgate had been instructed to step aside during the investigation and that “if she doesn’t wish to do that, she can go”.

Additionally, finance minister Mathias Cormann and communications minister Paul Fletcher confirmed that Holgate would stand aside during the four-week investigation.

Read more: How Australia Post is building a diverse workforce

HRD contacted Australia Post for comment. In a statement, Australia Post Chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, said the organisation is committed to seeing out the investigation.

“The Australia Post Board and management team will fully cooperate with the recently announced investigation to be conducted by shareholder departments,” said Di Bartolomeo.

“We remain committed to delivering for our important stakeholders – our people, our Post Office partners, our customers and the community.

“Group CEO & managing director Christine Holgate will stand aside during the investigation. During this time, Rodney Boys, chief financial officer will be acting in the role.”

The shadow minister for communications, Michelle Rowland, added that Australia Post is a “cherished national institution” and it must set a high standard.

“The revelations in Senate Estimates that the Australia Post Board and its CEO gifted four Cartier watches to highly paid executives are unacceptable,” said Rowland.

“The focus of Australia Post must return squarely to what matters: community services, consumers, its workforce and enabling the broader digital economy.”

This news coincided with the results of a survey released of over 1000 posties participating in Australia Post’s Alternate Day Delivery Model.

Read more: Australia Post hiring hundreds to meet delivery demand

It found posties are engaging in unsafe work practices in an attempt to clear delivery backlogs and postage delays that are still being experienced across the network.

The majority (84%) of posties said they were unable to complete their duties within their rostered hours and 34% of those said they considered the level of overtime required to complete their run to be unreasonable.

Additionally, 43% of posties admitted to not adhering to all footpath and nature strip speed limits whilst performing the delivery function of their role, while 55% admitted to not taking all their applicable breaks in order to complete their duties.

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