PM orders Oz Post boss to stand aside
Scott Morrison has bluntly told Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate if she doesn't stand aside "she can go" after revelations that senior executives were awarded Cartier watches as a "bonus".
In an extraordinary attack, Mr Morrison said he was disgusted by the abuse of taxpayers' money.
"I was appalled and it is disgraceful and not on," he said.
"So, immediately, I spoke with the shareholding Minister and the minister for Finance and the minister responsible, Minister for Communications and from those discussions … that there had to be an independent investigation done by the Department, not by Australia Post, that the Chief Executive should stand aside immediately.
"That report will come back to me and my members of my Cabinet and if Mr Speaker there are issues to be addressed with board members, then they will be addressed then.
"This all happened within an hour, so appalled and shocked was I by that behaviour, as any shareholder would in a company raise their outrage if they had seen that conduct, by a chief executive, the management or the board, they would insist rightly on the same thing.
"We are the shareholders of Australia Post on behalf of the Australian people, is that the action was immediate, and if the Chief Executive wished to stand aside, she has been instructed to stand aside, if she doesn't wish to do that, she can go."
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher earlier asked Ms Holgate to stand aside while an investigation is conducted into the decision to award four senior executives Cartier watches as a "bonus".
The decision was announced to Parliament in question time after Ms Holgate revealed the purchases, on a corporate credit card, at Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.
"I have spoken to the chair of Australia Post, I have explained the government does make you is that the boards and managements of government business enterprises need to take great care with taxpayers' money,'' Mr Fletcher said.
"They need to take great care with taxpayers' money. I have informed the chair of Australia Post that and asked the respective departments to carry out an investigation into this matter.
"I have asked the chair to provide the full support of the company for this investigation, and I have also asked the chair to inform the chief executive and she will be asked to stand aside during the course of this investigation. This is a matter that the Australian government take seriously."
Originally published as PM orders Oz Post boss to stand aside