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The turmoil of Australia Post on FOUR CORNERS as Michael Brissenden signs off after a stellar 35 year career with ABC

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Post Mortem: The story behind the turmoil that’s engulfed Australia Post

“They got watches.”  

Then-Australia Post CEO, Christine Holgate

It was a jaw dropping moment. The admission by the CEO of Australia Post that four executives had been given Cartier watches as a reward for a banking deal sparked a wave of indignation and damaging headlines. It came at a time when many Australians were reeling from the crippling impact of the pandemic.  It reeked of an out of touch executive class in charge of one of Australia’s most cherished institutions.

“This government is taking no action against the Liberal-appointed Australia Post board, which spent $12,000 of taxpayers’ money on Cartier watches?” 

Anthony Albanese, Opposition Leader

Christine Holgate (image – The Conversation)

Politicians on both sides of the spectrum were quick to condemn the purchases and laid the blame at the feet of the beleaguered CEO, Christine Holgate.  

“This was not consistent with public expectations about how taxpayers’ money should be spent.” 

Paul Fletcher, Communications Minister 

Within hours, Christine Holgate was gone but the scandal was far from over. On Monday, Four Corners investigates the turmoil inside Australia Post and what brought down its high-profile CEO.

“I think I was thrown under the bus, and the bus reversed back over me.” 

Christine Holgate, former CEO

In the months that followed Ms Holgate’s departure there have been claims and counter claims as each side seeks to take the high moral ground.   

“Do I feel it was escalated, because I was a woman? Yes, I do.”  

Christine Holgate, former CEO 

“I would reject strongly the proposition that in some way the expectations are different as between a male executive and a female executive.” 

Paul Fletcher, Communications Minister  

Four Corners investigates allegations of secret privatisation plans and proposed job cuts, and examines who was really standing up for whom.                           

“Don’t give me that rubbish that they wouldn’t sell anything off. They’d sell their bloody mother if they could.” 

Senator Pauline Hanson, One Nation Party

In interviews with key players, the program asks the decision makers to explain their actions to the people of Australia.

This will be Michael Brissenden’s final story for Four Corners as he signs off from a stellar 35-year career at the ABC.

It is replayed on Tuesday 29th  June at 1.00pm and Wednesday 30th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

FOUR CORNERS: POST MORTEM – Monday 28 June 2021 at 8:30pm on ABC and iview

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