Being the boss of a large organisation like Australia Post not only requires a certain toughness because of the environment in which it operates but a certain savviness because it is a highly political organisation. The major shareholders are the ministers for Finance and Communications, which means the board and the bosses need to understand the political environment in which they operate.
Christine Holgate who, despite her accent is no stranger to Australia, should have known that an essentially government-run enterprise whose every move is under the scrutiny of rural Australians sick of seeing their services cut, cannot be seen to give largesse to already well-remunerated people.
A $3000 watch may be no big deal in her world, but it is to country Australia and almost all taxpayers.
This is a shocking, appalling lack of judgment.
And make no mistake, at CEO level, when her pay last financial year was more than $27,000 a week (making her the highest-paid person on the public payroll) and who wears a $48,000 Bulgari watch herself, judgment is the key – some would say sole – employment criteria.
Which is why the Prime Minister reacted so angrily.
He is being blamed for her current situation – and in the business pages of the country’s newspaper, journalists like Terry McCrann and Robert Gottleibsen smacked the PM hard.
But the PM doesn’t serve the same constituency. The PM can’t defend someone earning over a million smackers a year spending 3k on a watch for people also earning some good coin while seeking votes from people doing it tough.
The PM had to stand up for commonsense, which Holgate did not have. Which doesn’t make it right, but it is understandable. And every other prime minister would have done the same thing.
- NBN Co executives and employees got $77 million in bonuses in back half of 2020.
- Australia Post boss Christine Holgate earning $27k a week while stood down.