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Holgate report super-charges political backlash

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Lead Editorial

3 February 2020
Vol. 23. No. 05

By forcing the Morrison government to release the Maddocks Lawyers report on Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate’s purchase of Cartier watches, the campaign to reinstate Holgate has broken the scandal wide open, with a rush of prominent figures jumping to acknowledge the injustice against her. The political backlash it has super-charged against the Morrison government is building momentum, which creates an opportunity to achieve the ultimate win-win solution for Australia Post and the Australian people—an Australia Post “people’s bank”.

(Watch the Citizens Party's new four-minute YouTube ad: Christine Holgate is innocent! Fight for an Australia Post bank!)

The Maddocks Report was released at 4:00 PM on Friday before the Australia Day long weekend, to minimise public scrutiny. The release was coordinated with another round of tabloid media attacks on Christine Holgate’s alleged “spending spree” at Australia Post, put out by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s boosters in Murdoch’s Herald Sun and the British Daily Mail Australia the following Monday, to obscure the report behind a smokescreen of further accusations. On 27 January the Citizens Party released a detailed examination of the report, revealing to the public that a) it cleared Christine Holgate of any actual wrongdoing; and b) its one token finding against her is based on the ridiculously specific premise that she was wrong to buy watches because she was not authorised specifically to buy watches. We also exposed the implausible testimony of the spineless Australia Post directors, who were all appointed by the Liberal Party and many of whom are senior Liberal Party members, who threw Christine Holgate under a bus to support Scott Morrison.

By the weekend, the issue was blowing up! Leading media started condemning Scott Morrison for his mistreatment of Christine Holgate, saying the government will find it hard to recruit the right people to run public corporations given how they treated her. The most withering blast came from pro-Liberal columnist Janet Albrechtsen, a commercial lawyer who has a PhD in juridical studies. In The Weekend Australian, Albrechtsen excoriated the PM and the fixed finding of the report:

“The report’s findings expose Scott Morrison’s willingness to play low-rent populist politics to bring an end to a person’s career to boost his own,” Albrechtsen charged. “The report also reveals a woeful board culture at Australia Post, laced with incompetence and cowardice. Most troubling, it inadvertently lays bare some dark truths about a society that departs from the rule of law and allows those in power to apply fuzzy, unknowable and arbitrary rules for their own purposes”—referring to the contrived “pub test” the government ordered the inquiry to apply.

The clearest sign the tide has turned is the behaviour of the Labor Party, which instigated the whole saga through Senator Kimberley Kitching’s appalling ambush of Christine Holgate and Australia Post in Senate Estimates on 22 October. Labor is now trying to beat the government to the exit to try to distance itself from the incident and blame it on Morrison. The 30 January Australian Financial Review reported: “Labor said the … departure of Australia Post boss Christine Holgate, who also did nothing wrong, would make it difficult for the government to attract high-calibre people from the private sector. ‘It’s monumental incompetence,’ said shadow assistant treasurer Stephen Jones. [Mr Frydenberg] and Scott Morrison have destroyed trust with corporate Australia over their … confected outrage at waste by senior executives at Australia Post.” AFR felt compelled to add: “It was Labor who first complained about Australia Post.”

When the government joined Labor in the vicious premeditated attack that drove Christine Holgate out of Australia Post, it did not expect this would blow up in their face. Yet it has, because people have learned the truth. Christine Holgate’s case has the potential to expose the bipartisan corruption that serves the banks instead of the people, and thus defeat the vested interests who would oppose a public postal bank.

Join the fight to reinstate Christine Holgate and establish an Australia Post bank!

Share on social media and to your friends the latest YouTube ad: Christine Holgate is innocent! Fight for an Australia Post bank!

Call and email the following Ministers and MPs and demand they retract the baseless attack on Christine Holgate and reinstate her as CEO of Australia Post.

PM Scott Morrison:    (02) 9523 0339
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham:    (08) 8354 1644
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher:    (02) 9465 3950

ALP leader Anthony Albanese:    (02) 9564 3588
ALP Communications Minister Michelle Rowland:    (02) 9671 4780

Call and email all National Party politicians and demand they stand up for their rural and regional communities, which are so dependent on Australia Post’s services, and tell Scott Morrison to replace the board and reinstate Christine Holgate:

Click here for the Nationals MPs

Click here for the Nationals Senators

Click here to sign the petition: An Australia Post ‘people’s bank’—a win-win solution for the nation

In this week's issue:

  • Save responsible lending laws from the asset-strippers!
  • A ‘bipartisan’ plot to privatise Australia Post?
  • Stop the rot! Solve Australia’s farm labour crisis
  • What’s really behind the GameStop play?
  • Save commercial banks!
  • Biden moves quickly to adjust foreign policies
  • Watch out Scomo, Holgate delivers!
  • In Memoriam: Kelvin John Heslop

Click here for the archive of previous issues of the Australian Alert Service

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