Australia Post Chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo has confirmed he spoke to Communications Minister Paul Fletcher who told him to consider standing aside Christine Holgate hours before the prime minister blasted her in parliament.
Mr Di Bartolomeo appeared before the Senate Environment and Communications Committee’s inquiry into Australia Post’s Cartier watch scandal hours after Ms Holgate made damning claims that the chair “bullied” her out of her job.
The saga began when Ms Holgate admitted to Senate Estimates on October 22 that she had gifted Cartier watches to senior executives.
Hours after her Senate estimates appearance, Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded Ms Holgate step aside during Question Time.
Mr Di Bartolomeo said he spoke to Minister Fletcher twice before Question Time on October 22, and revealed Minister Fletcher “wanted us to look at standing Christine down” during the first phone call.
The Australia Post chair said the minister told him at 1:30, during the second conversation, that he had a “conversation with his fellow shareholder ministers” who agreed she should be stood down.
“It certainly wasn’t a direction, but clearly a strong desire on the shareholder ministers’ part,” he said.