Defiant Christine Holgate insists there is NO legal reason she should quit as Australia Post CEO

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Defiant Christine Holgate insists there is NO legal reason she should quit as Australia Post CEO after Cartier watch scandal revealed a culture of corporate back-slapping

Christine Holgate has claimed there is no legal reason for her to be stood down from her role as Australia Post CEO after a week of scandalous revelations.

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Calls for Ms Holgate to resign have mounted after she was stood down this week on her full $1.3million salary pending an investigation into the alleged misuse of corporate credit cards.

But Ms Holgate denies ever being asked to step down by Australia Post, and her lawyer has insisted there is no legal reason for her to do so. 

Christine Holgate has claimed there is no legal reason for her to be stood down from her role as Australia Post CEO

‘Ms Holgate has not had any proper notification that she has been stood down from her role, nor has she been informed as to why she should be stood down,’ the statement from Bryan Belling, partner at employment law firm Kingston Reid says, as reported by Sydney Morning Herald.

‘Legally, in my opinion there are no grounds for Ms Holgate to be stood down, and “optics” not a legally-valid defence.’

Ms Holgate admitted spending $12,000 on four Cartier watches as a reward for four executives, but it was later revealed the true figure was closer to $20,000.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison lashed out at Ms Holgate in parliament last Thursday, calling the gifts disgraceful and appalling.

‘She’s been instructed to stand aside and if she doesn’t do that, she can go,’ Mr Morrison said.

Mr Belling’s statement referenced Mr Morrison’s comments reading it was ‘now exactly seven days since Ms Holgate was the subject of a humiliating answer during Question Time’.

Christine Holgate appears before a Senate inquiry into changes at Australia Post at Parliament House in July

Christine Holgate appears before a Senate inquiry into changes at Australia Post at Parliament House in July

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister declined to comment, while an Australia Post spokesperson said they were providing support to Ms Holgate. 

‘Australia Post has been communicating frequently with Ms Holgate regarding the current situation and ensuring appropriate support has been provided,’ the spokesperson said.

‘The chair stands by his previously made statement on Thursday 22 October that Ms Holgate will stand aside and this was agreed to by both parties in a telephone conversation.’

Ms Holgate’s actions have been defended by Blackmores healthcare millionaire Marcus Blackmore, who believes the besieged boss should be issued an apology.

‘You wouldn’t do this (treatment) to your dog … she might have been out of line but don’t crucify her, for God’s sake,’ he told The Australian.

Christine Holgate and Marcus Blackmore (pictured right) worked together for Blackmores for just under a decade

Christine Holgate and Marcus Blackmore (pictured right) worked together for Blackmores for just under a decade

‘I saw what it did to her, she was crying for days, she was devastated. It was awful.’

Ms Holgate worked for Blackmores as its chief executive before moving on in 2017.

During her near decade-long tenure with the business, company share prices rose significantly as the company capitalised on a consumer boom in China.

Mr Blackmore also said there had been a significant ‘leadership gap’ at the ­company following Ms Holgate’s departure.

‘Quite honestly I think the whole thing was bloody disgusting, the way she was treated,’ he said.

‘It was four watches, for God’s sake. Women like Cartier watches. She likes watches, she wanted to give people something memorable.’

He went onto state that ‘some women are showy’ and ‘most people can’t afford it, so that’s why it (watch) is a meaningful gift.’

Mr Blackmore believes his former protege is unlikely to keep her job at the helm of Australia Post after damning comments from Prime Minister Scott Morrison about the scandal.

‘I am not so concerned about her job, I am more concerned about her reputation,’ he said.

More to come. 

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