Senator Pauline Hanson has taken Australia Post to task over ousting Christine Holgate. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Senator Pauline Hanson has taken Australia Post to task over ousting Christine Holgate. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

‘Doesn’t add up’: Hanson explodes

Pauline Hanson has exploded at an Australia Post executive, telling him his explanation for Christine Holgate's controversial exit "doesn't add up".

The One Nation leader's attack came just hours after the former Australia Post CEO threatened to sue the business over her controversial exit unless the federal government agreed to mediation talks by Wednesday.

Ms Hanson on Monday grilled Australia Post executive and former Liberal Party president Tony Nutt over whether Ms Holgate told him she had agreed to resign in October.

Ms Holgate insists she never agreed to resign and says she was unlawfully terminated over revelations senior executives were gifted Cartier watches, collectively worth about $20,000.

Australia Post chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo told a 6pm board meeting at the time that Ms Holgate quit of her own accord, a claim the organisation has reiterated since.

RELATED: Morrison accused of 'calculated set-up' against Holgate

Senator Pauline Hanson grills Australia Post executive and former Liberal Party president Tony Nutt. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Senator Pauline Hanson grills Australia Post executive and former Liberal Party president Tony Nutt. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

But Mr Nutt, who acted as a go-between for Ms Holgate and the board, conceded he received emails from her either side of that meeting, saying she intended to take two weeks' leave.

"So her supposedly having this conversation with the chair, saying that she would agree to stand side, doesn't add up," Ms Hanson said.

"Why would she still send an email to you at 6.41pm saying that she will take two weeks' annual leave?

"You have not answered my question. Did she actually tell you she would stand aside: yes or no?"

Mr Nutt conceded Ms Holgate had not told him she would resign, but had relayed that message to Mr Bartolomeo.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young responded: "Well, you believe she told the chair that."

Mr Nutt said he felt their conversations had "gone about as far as they could go" and told Ms Holgate she should speak to Mr Bartolomeo, which she did "within 30 seconds".

What Ms Holgate and Mr Bartolomeo discussed was a matter of contention, Mr Nutt said.

Mr Nutt insisted Ms Holgate was an "outstanding" Australia Post CEO but said the watches would not have been gifted had he been directing events.

"This episode has now morphed, at least in part, into high farce. Straightforward facts, events and actions have been distorted," he said.

Ms Holgate's legal team in April gave the federal government a two-week window to agree to mediation talks, to minimise the "ongoing harm" caused by the furore around her departure.

Christine Holgate says she will sue Australia Post unless the government agrees to mediation talks. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Christine Holgate says she will sue Australia Post unless the government agrees to mediation talks. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

The former Australia Post CEO on Monday warned she would have "no option" but to sue once that deadline expired at 5pm on Wednesday.

She stressed suing was not her "preferred option" in dealing with the controversy but said the "ball is in the court" of Australia Post and the government.

"We have been advised the government requires more time to consider the offer to mediate and that Australia Post will not be able to meet the deadline," it said.

"Given there appears to be an absence of agreement to mediate this matter expeditiously, Ms Holgate will now have no option but to consider her legal options after the Senate communications and environment committee's report into these matters is released on May 17."

Ms Holgate left her role as CEO in November after it was revealed senior executives had been gifted the watches.

She claimed she was "humiliated" by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who publicly said she had been stood aside over the "disgraceful" gifts, before being bullied out of her role by Australia Post.

High-profile defamation lawyer Rebekah Giles has been picked to run her legal campaign, and claims Ms Holgate was unlawfully terminated.

"It is very disappointing to Ms Holgate that it appears neither the government nor Australia Post have been able to prioritise an amicable resolution to this matter, particularly as they are very aware of the ongoing damage this matter causes my client," she said.

Originally published as 'Doesn't add up': Hanson explodes

Australia Post director Tony Nutt was peppered with questions over the ousting of Christine Holgate. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Australia Post director Tony Nutt was peppered with questions over the ousting of Christine Holgate. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage


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