Holgate falls victim to PM’s grandstanding

Here’s the facts: Christine Holgate has been asked to step aside “or go” by our Prime Minister over an expense of $19,950. This is the total sum spent by Holgate who, along with the support of the board and chair, chose to reward four executives for their work in clinching the Bank@Post deal.

The rewarded executives worked in securing the deal that led the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and NAB paying a total of $66 million for enabling their customers to bank at Australia Post. The deal not only saved money for the company, but it also helped small business owners, with post office licensees earning a boost in transaction payments by up to 50 per cent.

For an organisation whose total economic contribution is $6 billion, $19,950 in reward, or 0.03 per cent of the total size of the deal, is more than deserving. The optics of rewarding high income earners shouldn’t be the issue here either.

This year, 33,000 Australia Post staff received bonuses of around $600 each as “thank you” payments for their work during the peak of COVID-19.

There is no double standard. There is however a very different kind of optics we should be opening our eyes to. Our Prime Minister grandstanding in Question Time, declaring his disgust with Holgate’s actions, adding that she must step aside, or go. It seems the PM would like for you to see is that he is tough on the use of taxpayer’s money and is taking swift action.

The fact that no taxpayer money was actually used to purchase the watches seems not to matter in the political sphere.

The same seems to apply to his lack of similar action with $33 million land purchase worth only $3 million dollars.

So before pointing the finger at Holgate, ask yourself: What are we truly, at our core, unhappy with here? Was it the fact that the watches were Cartier that we’re so “appalled and disgusted?”. Do we no longer believe in a good old reward for hard work? Or are we being led down the all too easy path of chopping down the tall, flashy, watch-wearing poppy.

Shivani Gopal is the Chief Executive of The Remarkable Woman, a mentoring, money and leadership membership for women.

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