Assistant Finance Minister Jane Hume has slammed the “extraordinary hypocrisy” of Labor and Senator Kimberly Kitching who orchestrated a “calculated and calibrated attack” on Christine Holgate in October, but appeared “contrite and sympathetic” on Tuesday.
Senator Kitching’s questions to the former Australia Post chief executive at Senate estimates in October sparked the Cartier watches saga, resulting in an independent investigation and a Senate inquiry.
Ms Holgate admitted during Senate estimates to gifting Cartier watches as bonuses to four senior executives, which saw the prime minister in Question Time immediately demand she step aside for an inquiry.
Minister Hume told Sky News, Senator Kitching’s initial questioning which led to the revelation was not only a “calculated and calibrated attack” but it was “pre-empted”.
“The media moved into the room at the time ahead of the announcement of the Cartier watches, so it was very well stage managed,” she said.
“The irony of course and the hypocrisy of seeing Senator Kitching yesterday appearing at the Senate hearing dressed in suffragette white was just unbelievable”.
The former chief executive faced the Senate inquiry yesterday and claimed she had been “bullied” out of her job.
Ms Hume said the Labor Party had been publicly calling for Ms Holgate to resign at the outset of the saga.
“Was the Opposition out there saying she must go, she must resign? Absolutely,” she said.
“There was Senator Kitching writing an article saying Christine Holgate had been living high on the hog, and then she had the audacity to turn up to a Senate inquiry yesterday looking contrite and sympathetic her plight. All dressed in white, suffragette white, that’s just extraordinary hypocrisy.”