Holgate lashes out: PM bullied me
Christine Holgate says the Scott Morrison "bullied and humiliated" her and left her position as Australia Post CEO untenable.
Ms Holgate said she had "done no wrong" when appearing before a senate inquiry into her controversial departure on Tuesday, where she claimed the saga surrounding her departure had seriously damaged her health.
She quit as Australia Post chief executive officer in October after revelations senior executives had been given expensive Cartier watches, but has since been cleared of misleading or misusing taxpayer funds.
"I do not want what happened to me to happen to any individual ever again in any workplace. I have only ever wanted what was best for Australia Post and its people," she said.
"I have passionately wanted to help the organisation grow and to support the communities of Australia to thrive.
"Yet I lost my job, a job that I loved, because I was humiliated by our Prime Minister for committing no offence and then bullied by my chairman."
Ms Holgate accused Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo of "producing lies" over her departure, insisting she never agreed to resign.
Mr Di Bartolomeo will appear just hours after Ms Holgate.
"The simple truth is I was bullied out of my job. I was humiliated and driven to despair," she said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison in October declared the watches "disgraceful" and said Ms Holgate had been instructed to stand aside.
"If she doesn't wish to do that, she can go," he told parliament.
She said she did not know why the Prime Minister made that intervention, but said it made her position untenable
"I was thrown under the bus of the chairman of Australia Post, to curry favour with his political masters.
"But I'm still here and I'm stronger for surviving it."
Mr Morrison has refused to remove Liberal MP Andrew Laming from the Coalition party-room despite allegations of bullying and harassing women.
Former attorney-general Christian Porter remained in the cabinet despite an historical rape allegation levelled at him.
Ms Holgate lashed the Prime Minister for treating her differently to male members of his government accused of misconduct towards women.
"He has people … members of parliament who have been accused of the most terrible atrocities to women, proven with one of them, and they're allowed to stand and still remain in their jobs and represent our country," she said.
The former CEO said she was subjected to a "biased" investigation and intimidated with threats of further allegations.
Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie described her departure as a "tragedy", agreeing the former CEO had done an "amazing job" for her regional constituents.
"She not only ensured the financial sustainability (of thousands of businesses), but also delivered $70 million to the taxpayer as well, which really turned Australia Post around," she told ABC Radio on Tuesday.
"I think it's quite a tragedy that she's no longer the CEO."
But Ms McKenzie was hesitant to criticise Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who in October described the gifts as "disgraceful" and told parliament Ms Holgate had been instructed to stand aside.
Mr Morrison has since claimed Ms Holgate quit of her own volition.
"Was that wrong to do, given there was no dishonesty here?" host Fran Kelly asked.
Ms McKenzie, who is on the committee, said those "sorts of questions" would be explored during proceedings.
"But what do you think?" Kelly asked.
"I think it's important that we allow Ms Holgate to put her side of the story on the public record, so that everyone can be availed of the facts," Ms McKenzie replied.
The Nationals senator insisted Ms Holgate's removal was a decision taken by the Australia Post board.
"(But) it would be a brave board that just didn't do anything when the Prime Minister says 'if she doesn't stand aside, she can go'," Kelly said.
"Her submission raises some significant questions around the whole process and that's what is so good about having a public hearing today," Ms McKenzie replied.
Mr Holgate claimed in a submission to the inquiry she had been unlawfully stood down by Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo, who she alleged misled parliament by describing the departure as voluntary.
"Time after time he has made statements that I had agreed to stand down when I had done no such thing," she wrote.
"I feel I have been bullied and humiliated by the chair, forced to stand down from a role I loved and by evidence was successful in."
Originally published as Holgate lashes out: PM bullied me