The spending, which the bulk of it is “organisational spending” could be the key to Holgate holding onto her role of CEO, regardless of whether or not the spending was legitimate under Australia Post policies.
Insiders say that the terms of inquiry were established with references to her “personal expenses” that “sets up” Holgate and asks that a judgement be made over Aus Post executives adhering to “high standards regarding the expenditure of money”.
Holgate has a personal corporate credit card for her own use that racked up a surprisingly low $88,100 since she was appointed to her role as CEO three years ago.
However, it's the second relatively new card that's been used for $287,000 in this financial year alone that has caught the attention of the Labor government.
Australia Post has offered odd excuses as to why a line-by-line breakdown of spending can't be provided, including the former “work from home” requirements in Melbourne.
“Australia Post’s Melbourne Headquarters have been closed for several months, due to the COVID-19 lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne. As a result, Melbourne office staff have been working remotely and access to some records has been restricted,’’ Australia Post said.
Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching told news.com.au that Australia Post’s explanation as to why it won’t provide an itemised list of spending does not make sense.
“They should furnish the Senate with the credit card statements which I had already requested, but I was told that they couldn’t provide those statements because employees were working from home,’’ Senator Kitching said.
After the previous chairman of Australia Post, John Stanhope, left the organisation in 2019, the “Office of teh CEO” took responsibility for any previous charges and the card that racked up the $287,000 bill was used to purchase flowers, catering, car hire as well as being used for travel expenses.
“The Group Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director has not been issued with a travel charge card,’’ Australia Post said.
“However, there is one credit card in the name of the ‘Office of the CEO’ used to pay for various organisational expenditure, including travel expenses. Organisational expenditure paid with this credit card totalled $287,063.44 for the 2019/20 financial year.
“The credit card was used for a wide range of organisational expenditure, including in relation to the Group Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, the Board Chair, the Executive Team, the Office of the CEO, and the Extended Leadership Team.”
So far, Australia Post is refusing to provide a breakdown of expenses, saying it would involve an “unreasonable diversion of resources”.
“There is one credit card in the name of the Group Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director,’’ Australia Post said.
“An itemised breakdown of the charges over this period (almost three years) would involve an unreasonable diversion of resources.”
A report will be provided to the Morrison Government within four weeks of the investigation commencing.
This article originally appeared on Over60.