Chances are you’ve seen one thing or another about Christine Holgate, Scott Morrison and a certain fellow named Lucio Di Bartolomeo. Together these three figures form the basis of this three-minute explainer into why the PM is being called out for sexism, bullying and harassment, and why you should care.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Christine Holgate / Australia Post saga, chances are the current news swirling around about inquiries and testimonies have you confused as hell. Worry not though, we’re here to help.
Let’s start with the basics, because this is a story that every Australian should be kept up to speed with, as it has produced revelations that nobody saw coming, and the implications for our PM aren’t pretty.
What’s going on?
Former AusPost CEO Christine Holgate gifted four managers Cartier watches. Each watch was $5,000, meaning there was an expenditure of $20,000 from within AusPost.
These watches were gifts, as AusPost had just secured dealings with three major banks. Think of them as bonuses for hitting targets.
Holgate claims it was in her “authority” to gift these watches, and yet she was removed from her position after alleged pressure from the Morrison Government.
Holgate claims she was illegally removed by AusPost chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo.
Di Bartolomeo claims Holgate agreed to stand aside. Holgate says that this notion was “fabricated”.
That’s why there is an inquiry going on today, because as you can see, nobody can agree on what actually went down. However, this is only the background information you’ll need to make sense of everything else.
What was said at the inquiry?
Well, check out this tweet here.
Christine Holgate has spilled enough tea to fill Sydney harbour in this senate inquiry
— Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) April 13, 2021
Yep, Holgate spilled a large quantity of tea, mostly regarding her alleged removal from her job, and how certain words and actions from the PM made her feel “suicidal”.
“Lucio Di Bartolomeo unlawfully stood me down in the public direction of the prime minister,” she told the formal Senate inquiry on Tuesday.
“This made my leadership at Australia Post untenable, and seriously threatened my health.”
This is extraordinary testimony from Christine Holgate.
It’s devastating for those she’s named. It can’t be ignored. It’s a clinical take down.
This is a woman who has nothing to lose.
— Laura Jayes (@ljayes) April 13, 2021
Back in October when the Cartier watch saga was going down, Scott Morrison said he was “so appalled and shocked” by the entire thing, adding that she should immediately step down.
Holgate claims this “bullying” was what pushed her to a dark place mentally.
“I was hung in parliament, humiliated, not just hung, run over by a bus and reverse[d] again.”
“I was seriously ill. I was on Temazepam. I was suicidal.”
"I lost my job, a job I loved, because I was humiliated by our Prime Minister for committing no offence, then bullied by my chairman.”
"I have done no wrong.”
-Christine Holgate wearing suffragette white on the Prime Minister’s sexist treatment of her as head of @auspost
— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) April 13, 2021
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young asked Holgate if she believed that there was a “stark difference” between the criticisms made towards her by the Prime Minister and the statements he made towards his colleagues like Christian Porter.
It’s a great question, and is the crux of today’s inquiry, as it really shone a light on the fact that Morrison went in on a woman who spent $20,000 on watches, but not the likes of Porter or other Liberal staffers accused of extremely inappropriate behaviour.
“The Prime Minister was asked about the behaviour of two of his ministers [during a Four Corners report], his response was ‘it was two years ago’,” Holgate said.
“I gave four watches in reward to people who brought an incredible contribution to Australia Post two years ago, that was never shared.
“So do I believe it’s partially a gender issue? You’re absolutely right I do.
“But do I believe the real problem here is bullying and harassment and abuse of power? You’re absolutely right I do.”
CHRISTINE HOLGATE: "I lost my job, a job that I loved, because I was humiliated by our Prime Minister for committing no offence," former Australia Post boss Christine Holgate says. #auspol pic.twitter.com/aBokhR0E3t
— 10 News First (@10NewsFirst) April 13, 2021
What’s the takeaway here?
Well, essentially, Holgate has poked holes in the behaviour of Scott Morrison and his treatment of the issues around him.
Not only has she defended herself in a formal inquiry, but she’s turned the bullying she has received from men situated in higher positions around with near-bulletproof defences of her actions.
Currently, there are calls for chairman Di Bartolomeo to stand down, which Holgate has expressed would be the only thing necessary for her to return to her old job as CEO.
However, it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.
Australia Post Chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo : "I will not be resigning. I don't think it would help." @newscomauHQ
— Samantha Maiden (@samanthamaiden) April 13, 2021
Until then, however, we’ll have to wait for the results of the inquiry, and a possible apology from Morrison. I wouldn’t get too excited for the latter, however.