Former Australia Post chief executive, Christine Holgate, has lodged an explosive submission to the Senate inquiry into her sacking for the decision to award executives Cartier watches as bonuses.
“It is almost five months since the events of October 22nd, 2020, when, for no justified reason, I was humiliated in Parliament and then unlawfully stood down by the Australia Post Chair from a role I was passionately committed to,” the submission begins.
In the submission, Holgate doubles down on her claim she never voluntarily stood down and accuses Australia Post chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, of unlawfully standing her down and alleged “he lied repeatedly to the Australian people and to their parliament about his actions”.
”Time after time he has made statements that I had agreed to stand down when I had done no such thing.”
Holgate said she offered to resign, but alleged Australia Post then leaked the letter to the media, before sending a counter-offer which is “itself confirmation that no agreement had been reached”.
Holgate said the gift of Cartier watches was “legal, within Australia Post’s policies, within my own signing authority limits, approved by the previous chairman, expensed appropriately, signed off by auditors and the CFO, [and] widely celebrated within the organisation”.
Holgate accused Di Bartolomeo of “seriously misleading” evidence to the Senate on 9 November, including about his knowledge of a BCG report into the incident.
Travel agents and hotel operators have welcomed details of the two way travel bubble with New Zealand, but have warned “there will be very little real benefit” for the sector in the short term.
This is because most of the initial travellers from 19 April are expected to be low-spending tourists visiting family and friends, as Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive, Margy Osmond, told the Guardian.
Accommodation Association of Australia has backed that prediction up, with its chief executive Dean Long reigniting calls for post-jobkeeper wage support for CBD hotels in Melbourne and Sydney that are still reeling from a drop off in international tourism and business travel.
The Association said Sydney is currently the worst performing city market in Australia with revenue declines of 67% and forward booking rates of less than 10% for the next 90 days and that Melbourne is similarly decimated.
The opening of the trans-Tasman corridor is a very welcome step in the right direction but the reality is while it’s good news for the travel sector, given most travellers will be catching up with friends and families there’s very little immediate benefit for our tourism sector or our hotels and motels. With the end of jobkeeper and given the massive holes in the market especially in Australia’s international hubs of Sydney and Melbourne, the flow on benefits for our hotels and motels, and the many small businesses who supply them is negligible. There’s no doubt it will be a big kick along for consumer confidence but it doesn’t erase the need for tailored support for our accommodation sector. The reality is it’s great news for our travel sector but not so good for tourism.
Australian Federation of Travel Agents chair Tom Manwaring said many of his members were already seeing “increased interest in booking NZ albeit primarily to visit friends and family”.
It’s not a massive increase in business and our sector still desperately needs support but it is a much needed step in the right direction.” However, we urge both the Australian and the New Zealand governments to do all they can to ensure now the corridor is open that it stays open. This is important both in terms of consumer confidence in booking travel and from a workload perspective for travel agents who are still working hard on repatriating the outstanding $4bn still owed to Australians by airlines, hotels and tour operators on Covid-impacted travel and managing re-bookings and cancellations as a result of state restrictions.