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Dutton backs PM over ‘unacceptable’ luxury watch gifts

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has backed the prime minister criticism of Australia Post’s boss for spending $12,000 rewarding senior executives with Cartier watches.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has backed the prime minister's criticism of Australia Post's boss for spending $12,000 rewarding senior executives with Cartier watches.

The organisation's Chief Executive Christine Holgate is standing aside as an investigation is conducted into the matter.

Mr Dutton told Today he backed the response of Prime Minister Scott Morrison who has criticised the spending.

"Christine Holgate has come from the private sector. That might be an acceptable way to provide a bonus or reward to staff," he said.

"But in Australia Post where you're talking essentially about taxpayer dollars, the Australian government, the Australian people are the shareholders in Australia Post, it's unacceptable."

Mr Morrison yesterday condemned the $12,000 spending in Federal Parliament.

"I was appalled, it's disgraceful, and it's not on," he said.

But Labor deputy leader Richard Marles told Today while Ms Holgate had questions to answer, the Australia Post board should also come under scrutiny.

"This is a board packed full of Liberal mates. There does need to be action in relation to the board," Mr Marles said.

Chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo announced Ms Holgate's move to stand aside in a statement on the Australia Post website last night, saying the "board and management team will fully cooperate with the recently announced investigation to be conducted by shareholder departments".

"Group CEO and Managing Director Christine Holgate will stand aside during the investigation. During this time, Rodney Boys, Chief Financial Officer will be acting in the role," Mr Di Bartolomeo said.

Ms Holgate's position has come under intense scrutiny after it was revealed in a Senate estimates hearing that four $3000 watches were gifted to senior executives.

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The $12,000 in watches comes on top of already vast executive packages.Ms Holgate was paid $2.2 million, including an $831,000 bonus, in 2019. This year, foregoing the bonus, her take-home pay is $1.4 million.

Ms Holgate's 11-strong executive team will be paid $7 million this year.The organisation also spent $825,000 on plants for its Melbourne HQ over two years.

Source: 9News

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