Australia Post chief Christine Holgate’s corporate credit card spending under Labor scrutiny
Australia Post chief Christine Holgate’s corporate credit card spending under Labor scrutiny

AusPost boss ‘living high on the hog’ as spending revealed

Australia Post's millionaire chief executive has spent tens of thousands of dollars on her corporate credit card and relies on a private car service to chauffeur her around.

But Christine Holgate, who is paid $1.5m to lead the government-owned business, has refused to hand over her spending records to the Senate, prompting Labor to demand them and accuse her of "living high on the hog".

The Herald Sun can also reveal Australia Post coughed up $3100 a day during the COVID-19 crisis for advice from a "reputation management firm", amid public frustration about delivery delays and revelations about whether senior executives would be paid bonuses.

Australia Post chief Christine Holgate. Picture: Annette Dew
Australia Post chief Christine Holgate. Picture: Annette Dew

From November 2017 to June this year, Ms Holgate spent $88,099 on her credit card, while $287,063 was spent in the last year on a card used by her office, including for the car service she used to travel between her home, office and meetings "often at early or late hours".

The spending also included flowers, gifts, professional development and travel expenses, but Australia Post told the Senate it would be an "unreasonable diversion of resources" to provide a breakdown, particularly as its Melbourne headquarters was closed during the pandemic.

Domestique, the communications consultancy hired by Australia Post, is headed by Ross Thornton, a fixer who worked on AMP's response to the financial services royal commission and for building materials company James Hardie.

Australia Post paid Domestique $119,178 between June 23 and July 31 for advice "on issues as they emerge", with further bills expected as the consultants remain on-board.

Opposition government accountability spokeswoman Kimberley Kitching said it was a "small fortune".

From November 2017 to June this year, Ms Holgate spent $88,099 on her credit card
From November 2017 to June this year, Ms Holgate spent $88,099 on her credit card

"Australia Post needs more communication and less crisis," Senator Kitching said.

"Australians are reliant on Australia Post to deliver their mail and instead of concentrating on her day job to make sure this happens, Ms Holgate appears to be living high on the hog."

From January to July this year, Ms Holgate and her executives splurged almost $70,000 on functions, entertainment, gifts and expenses, including for a bonding day and dinner.

An Australia Post spokesman said credit card spending was "regulated by a strict policy and subject to approvals".

Over the last three years, Ms Holgate and another executive took a $38,367 trip to Switzerland, while bosses took six trips - including one involving Ms Holgate and a senior colleague - to the United States, costing another $110,993.

Upon her appointment in 2017, the Sydney-based chief executive was paid an allowance of more than $30,000 for accommodation, although she now covers her own accommodation costs in Melbourne and Sydney.

tom.minear@news.com.au

Originally published as Claims AusPost boss 'living high on the hog' as spending revealed



MISSING: Have you seen Nathaniel?

MISSING: Have you seen Nathaniel?

Police are concerned for the 13-year-olds' welfare

Woman can’t sleep after housemate trapped her under table

Premium Content Woman can’t sleep after housemate trapped her under table

THE incident allegedly occurred over an argument about a $2 iTunes purchase.

Norco’s six new ‘delicious and decadent’ ice-cream flavours

Premium Content Norco’s six new ‘delicious and decadent’ ice-cream flavours

A Northern Rivers dairy co-op has released a sensational new prestige ice cream...