Tuesday 21st of September 2021

vicious and nasty...

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison is refusing to apologise to former Australia Post Chief Executive Christine Holgate after she accused him of "bullying" her in the wake of the Cartier watch scandal.

Ms Holgate told a Senate inquiry yesterday that she believed she was forced to stand aside by the chair of the company because the Prime Minister had "instructed" it.

Ms Holgate gave four senior executives the watches, worth around $20,000 in total, for securing a lucrative banking deal for the organisation in 2018.

Yesterday, she told the inquiry she could have given them up to $150,000 in bonuses instead.

Speaking in Question Time last year Mr Morrison said he was "appalled" by the decision to give four Cartier watches to executive staff, and that it "did not pass the pub test".

He said if Ms Holgate did not want to stand aside then "she can go".

She said the comment "humiliated" her and told 7.30 she wanted an apology.

"So maybe if the PM is watching, he could give me a call," she said.

 

"I would love an apology."

 

Speaking on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said he did not intend to offend Ms Holgate.

"The language in the Parliament was very strong," he said.

"It was not my intention to cause distress to Ms Holgate and I regret any distress that that strong language may have caused to her, and indeed did cause to her.

"That was not my intention."

 

But he said he would not apologise for the comments and did not think he needed to call Ms Holgate personally to express that he did not mean to cause her distress.

"I didn't think it was appropriate, I still don't think it was appropriate," he said about the decision to give out the watches.

"It's a government company, it's taxpayers' money and it should be treated with the same level of respect across government organisations."

Mr Morrison rejected Ms Holgate's claim that part of the fallout was to do with her gender.

"This issue was not about gender," he said.

"It was about taxpayer organisations handing out Cartier watches to well-paid executives."

 

Read more about from this nasty vicious hypocrite PM:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-14/scott-morrison-refuse-apologise-christine-holgate-cartier-watch/100068102

 

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scomo's rorters, liars and thieves...

 

By Jack Waterford

 

Perhaps a day will come when the champion rorters, liars, and conscious mis-managers of public resources are before a serious corruption commission and out on their ears.

The political and administrative dominance of the Australian government by non-public-service minders in the minister’s office is now of such long-standing that there is not a senior public servant who has advised ministers in a different environment, with many departmental secretaries themselves having worked as political ministerial advisers.

It is now so much a part of the Australian political landscape, and so much a part of the background of the Australian party system, that most ministers – on both sides of politics – could never imagine working without an (ever-increasing) staff of political operators and minders.

Most do not sufficiently appreciate that it is still a new and controversial (and particularly Australian) feature of government, that virtually all departing departmental secretaries, particularly from the prime minister’s department, criticise the way that it has worked in practice, serving to make government less efficient, less transparent and more, rather than less prone, to pushing a minister into making fundamental political mistakes.

Gough Whitlam, 50 years ago, is usually blamed for introducing the modern system, but what he created bears little relationship to what we now have. Labor was coming to office after 21 years in the political wilderness, and without a single member with any practical experience of government. Many were suspicious, mostly wrongly, of a public service regarded as being increasingly constructed in the image of, and with the mindset of, more than two decades of coalition government. They feared being “managed” by their new public service heads and being told by them that many aspects of progressive Labor policy simply could not be implemented.

But the Whitlam Cabinet caravan of minders was fairly small – in total across his whole ministry a smaller number than the number of people now in Scott Morrison’s office. Many were in any event public servants, experienced in practical government, and with special policy, program and political skills.

Indeed, an early argument against development of the minister’s office was that there were significant dangers in being surrounded by a crowd of people of like mind, ever agreeing with each other, predisposed to groupthink, to confirmation bias and tunnel thinking, and, often to rejecting many practical or principled objections as being biased, or excuses for doing nothing. Better ministers actually encouraged creative tension, but many did not.

The more staff there were, the bigger the problem. Malcolm Fraser was critical, in Whitlam’s period, of the build up of the private office, but he ended his term with one many times bigger. Indeed, some departmental heads, such as Treasury secretary John Stone, were openly critical of Fraser’s minders and advisers secretaries. He particularly disliked advisers without a government background, such as economic adviser, Dr John Hewson.

Public servants have memories and must live with their mistakes. Minders don’t

Perhaps because public servants had a continuing responsibility to provide advice and stay on and live with the consequences, they tended to “have longer memories than the more meretricious players who flit across the private ministerial advisory stage,’’ he said.

The numbers of minders increased under Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, under John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, and, to no one’s surprise under Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and, now Scott Morrison. So did some other features.

Hawke, aware of the indiscipline of the Whitlam government, created a committee of advisors to vet and determine which Labor “tree people” – the sort of people who turn up for jobs, often from a state government immediately after a Labor victory – would get jobs. The committee also determined where they worked. Subsequent regimes have maintained the same controls, but have in the process created divided loyalties – people in the minister’s office effectively answering to, or dobbing in, to people in other offices, particularly the prime minister’s office.

The Members of Parliament (Staff) Act sets conditions for minders, but does not set standards, enforceable codes of conduct, or much affect the general principle that a staffer’s term is at ministerial whim, and certainly ends when the minister goes unless she or he can jump to another ship.

Increasingly, in the modern regime, one has to be a true believer, a fervent ideologue in one faction or other of the party (not necessarily the minister’s faction), predisposed to the policy mantras of that faction, or its organs, such as, in the case of the Liberals, the Institute of Public Affairs.

These moral vacuums spend their whole careers on the public payroll – before, during and after snaffling a seat

A good many have their own personal ambitions to make it into representative politics and seem to end up on the career track without ever developing the expertise or experience, or the character, the personality, the people skills or the empathy, with which they can become politicians with a brain. In the Labor Party, the scores of people flitting between union research jobs, Labor-oriented think tanks, consultants and law firms, and spells working for Labor politicians in both state and federal government – have been called suits – bloodless folk without abiding ideas or ideals, or anything in common with those they seek to represent. The Liberals have different, but similar bloodlines – in party patronage jobs, think tanks and party and political offices.

What they generally have in common is a background of always having worked, one way or another, from publicly-funded payrolls, owing political debts to party power brokers, and being precisely the sort of transaction-focused risk-averse moral vacuums whose increasing dominance in politics is a prime source of public apathy, despair about and suspicion of, politicians. The culture, including the approach to respect for women on the coalition side, is suffused with privilege and private-school backgrounds; Labor has similar problems but from a different stream.

Also alarming is an increasing tendency of all of these folk to expect that they will be sucking on the public teat forever. Politicians who retire expect handsome appointments to government boards and diplomatic posts; those defeated to sinecure jobs, such as on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, from which they cannot be sacked and are generally unqualified. Others jump in consultancies and lobbying industries, prostituting their insider knowledge, access to mates and cronies, and what if anything remains of their reputation and moral credit for the right to earn millions in commissions from deals with government.

The more key decisions being made in the minister’s office – by whatever system these have – public servants are less responsible for blatant rorting and abuse of power. But having them as bystanders does not improve the quality of decisions, or outcomes. It is allowing inordinate influence to mates and cronies, sometimes cases where ministers seem to act in their own interests, or in the interests of colleagues.

 “Just an unfortunate part of modern government,” some might say, ostensibly holding their noses, or others, such as Gladys Berejiklian, a significant offender, saying defiantly without apparent fear of political consequences.

As ever, but more so, the ministerial private office, particularly the Morrison one, is an accountability vacuum. No one knows what information is passed to the minister, and what he can pretend he, or she, didn’t know. Or took care not to know even when he should have. Records, whether they are kept at all, are said to be totally exempt from FOI or legal production, and, increasingly, public servants collaborate in the breakdown of old principles of accountability, transparency and disinterested action in the public interest.

Without the modern minder system we would not have most of the present problems of the Morrison government. They are, of course, at the heart of the sexual assault, abuse and respect scandals that have so becalmed the administration over the past two months. But the vaccination crisis and the scandals of doling out money to mates without transparency or accountability come from the same system. The vaccination crisis did not come from Morrison accepting the independent views of health experts, but from following the advice of consultants rather than public health officials with experience. Coordinated work between ministerial offices has permitted most of the expenditure rorts – though these have been potentiated by the way that some senior public servants have not done their jobs.

Perhaps a day will come when the champion rorters, liars, and conscious mismanagers of public resources are before a serious corruption commission and out on their ears. At the moment that pre-supposes the election of a Labor government. One can confidently expect that those in charge of this will not hesitate to re-employ Labor tree people in much the same style of bad administration.

 

Read more:

https://johnmenadue.com/morrisons-minders-at-the-heart-of-his-doldrums/

 

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bogan boofhead central scomo...

 

 

In just under 50 words late last October, Prime Minister Scott Morrison set an improvised explosive device for himself while thinking he was kicking goals for his natural constituency – that being white males who drive RAM trucks, carry a lick of grievance and love their sports.

Confronted with the freshly exposed “fat cat largess” of $5000 Cartier watches handed out to Australia Post executives by chief executive Christine Holgate, Morrison could not have been in higher dudgeon.

He was clearly loving himself, riding his elevated steed.

 

“I was appalled,” he snarked when asked what he thought of Holgate’s performance gifts to four executives who had saved small post offices from parlous times.

“It is disgraceful and it’s not on.”

Morrison turned his blokey anger on Holgate: “If the chief executive wishes to stand aside, well not wishes to stand aside, she’s been instructed to stand aside and if she doesn’t wish to do that, Mr Speaker, she can go.”

That “she can go” was delivered with the junkyard puffed-up attitude we have seen before, although it’s been absent lately as the Prime Minister musters whatever he can from the right side of his brain, dressed often in soft purple and mauve shirts.

 

Not the uniform for a “she can go” or “any day of the week” lashing from the dispatch box so the tone is being adjusted for newly scheduled transmission.

Now it’s respect and inclusion although those “here, let me explain these things” habits are hard to shake, as we saw when he sat between his chief female ministers, Marise Payne, in charge of “women” and Amanda Stoker, who has the job of assisting.

In almost exquisite timing, Morrison was heading his new “women’s cabinet” at almost the very hour former Australia Post chief Holgate dropped a 154-page submission to a Senate committee looking at her very contentious ouster.

 

During what Holgate called “the 10 most difficult and disappointing days of her career” – beginning with the Senate estimates committee exposure of the watches bonus and the Prime Ministerial demand she “go!” – the experienced senior executive sought medical help and was prescribed medication for her distraught state.

While Holgate lays the predominance of blame for what she says was unlawful treatment at the feet of Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo, it’s clear the Australia Post ex-executive feels she was treated shabbily by the federal government, in particular Morrison and her portfolio minister, Paul Fletcher.

Holgate also names Senate leader Simon Birmingham, his deputy and Women’s Minister Marise Payne, and Health Minister Greg Hunt when saying she was “disappointed in the lack of open support from the many ministers whom I had worked with”.

Holgate has a very valid point and one that passes the “pub test” she says she was subjected to, and made to fail.

First, if Morrison had not unleashed his tirade against Holgate without knowing – or thinking to ask about – any of the details of the case, she would not have been “bullied” out of Australia Post, as she claims.

Absent Morrison’s unbridled outburst, Di Bartolomeo could have handled the issue internally, had a review and released the very report that was actually issued, saying Holgate did nothing wrong.

Instead he had pressure from a Prime Minister who doesn’t like not getting his way. It was unsustainable for Di Bartolomeo and he buckled. His weak behaviour could be lost in a “he said/she said” Senate report due out late this month. It shouldn’t be.

Tweet from @tegangeorge

Second, Morrison may well have acted the same against a male government agency chief who handed out seemingly generous gifts to executives.

The counterfactual is not available but the Prime Minister was keen on that day in October to divert attention from the government’s negligent handling of aged care and his careless comment that “if you’re good at your job, you’ll get a job”.

Holgate became collateral damage in self-preservation. However, it has had a ripple effect since.

Many – but not all – senior business executives have been appalled, a few publicly, many privately, about Morrison’s treatment of Holgate.

A couple of key, very senior and usually centre-right media figures have been vigorous defenders of the ex-Australia Post executive.

Most noted have been experienced News Corp journalists Robert Gottleibsen and Terry McCrann, as well as radio and television host Alan Jones, who says Morrison “bullied” Holgate out of her job.

Of these, McCrann is most notable. A confidant of Rupert Murdoch, who has long sought the political and economic advice of the Melbourne Herald Sun veteran, McCrann now calls Morrison “ScoMo from Bogan Boofhead Central”.

In a column this week, McCann doubled down on his prediction for Morrison’s electoral fate: “There is no way, no way, the federal government is going to win the next election. What ‘won it for ScoMo’ in 2019 was not his inherent brilliance or doggedness but Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer, with a little help from Bill Shorten.”

This kind of shouting from the conservative bleachers is why Morrison is pretending he had nothing to do with Holgate’s demise.

Asked this week about the issue, Morrison said without a blink of embarrassment: “This is a matter now that is substantively between Ms Holgate and Australia Post and that’s where I note the predominance of her comments have been directed. Ms Holgate decided to leave Australia Post. That’s just a matter of record.”

Morrison never takes ownership for any mistake or misstep, error or egregious behaviour, action or attitude.

In anything but his scripted self-congratulatory announcements he is the Prime Minister who wasn’t there.

 

Read more:

https://thenewdaily.com.au/opinion/2021/04/09/dennis-atkins-holgate-morrison/

 

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scomo's self-removal better than apologies...

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Morrison wastes millions yet crucifies Holgate over gifts

 

For all Scott Morrison’s outrage over Christine Holgate’s spend, $20,000 is a drop in the ocean compared to his government’s misuse of taxpayers’ money (‘‘Government hits back at Holgate’s claims over exit’’, April 15). Where does one start? The Christmas Island reopening photo opportunity; the $50 million spent on keeping the Murugappan family incarcerated on said island; the sports rorts scandal; robodebt; community grants; repeated inquiries, investigations and finally a royal commission into age care; and the multiple positions on climate change.

Rhonda Seymour, Castle Hill

 

I am waiting for Morrison to express the same level of concern about the multiples of $20,000 spent on flying the former finance minister around in pursuit of an overseas appointment. We have only been informed that it cost ‘‘about $4000 an hour’’ for the flights, not the total cost of this jaunt to the ADF, also an Australian-owned ‘‘company’’.

Peter Funnell, Newport

 

The Coalition and the NSW state government use pork barrelling as a way of governing, awarding Liberal districts with thousands upon thousands of dollars while denying Labor areas. This dwarfs rewarding deserving postal employees for saving jobs with a $20,000 watch.

Larry Woldenberg, Forest Lodge

 

Coming from the man who has directed the allocation of millions of dollars of public money to Coalition electorates, Morrison’s self-righteous anger at Holgate is hard to stomach. By comparison, her largesse is but a tiny speck. It seems to me that Holgate’s greatest sin was assuming she had the same rights, responsibilities and protections as a male CEO.

Irene Buckler, Glenwood

 

Holgate’s replacement has been gifted a salary north of $1.4 million plus potential performance bonus of the same amount (Letters, April 15). The culture of entitlement at the top end of town, epitomised by these mind-boggling amounts of money, shouldered by taxpayers, are the root of the problem. I wonder if the Prime Minister will be calling out Paul Graham’s emoluments in Parliament. As they’re both members of the pale, male club, I’m not holding my breath.

Elisabeth Goodsall, Wahroonga

 

When the Australia Post watches story broke I formed an opinion of wrong-doing on the part of Holgate. Watching her evidence to the Senate inquiry, I am now ashamed of that ill-informed view. Holgate’s view of the events contrasts starkly with the disgraceful tone and confected outrage of Morrison. I now know who I choose to believe – it’s not the PM.

Tony Heathwood, Kiama Downs

 

Reading about the Australia Post episode, I can’t help but think of my father, who spent his entire working life with what was the PMG. Over the years he gained promotions till he was working at what would be called an executive level today. I’m sure he never received a lucrative bonus or a huge salary. He just got on with it.

Joan Brown, Orange

 

What use is a Cartier watch apart from trying to convince others that you are better than them? My phone probably does a better job of telling the time. What a waste.

David Gibson, Bungendore

 

 SMH, 16/4/2021

 

Yes David, my phone is bigger than yours...

 

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beware of the breadth of support...

 

Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, juggling a couple of committee engagements, hadn't planned to attend Tuesday's hearing at which former Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate appeared.

But party elder Ron Boswell was insistent, telling Canavan he must be there, in the room, fighting for Australia Post's small business licensees.

Boswell, himself a former senator, retains one of the best political "noses" in the business. He'd spoken to Canavan soon after the Holgate affair blew up last October, warning the issue was trouble and needed to be fixed.

Canavan was initially sceptical, thinking people would react against the Cartier watches she'd given four executives as a reward for a deal with banks to shore up Post's licensee network.

But he's come round to Boswell's thinking.

 

The government has been somewhat dismissive of the campaign the licensees have waged in support of Holgate.

But Canavan judges the many small post office businesses in regional areas could pack quite a punch in next year's election campaign if they chose. And in these areas in Queensland the Nationals are competing with One Nation.

At Tuesday's hearing, Canavan wasn't backward. It was he who put to Post's chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo the pointed question: "Given that, as you say, Miss Holgate has a lot of support amongst your employees and important clients and suppliers, and given that Miss Holgate this morning has called for your resignation, would it not be better for Australia Post if you were to leave now, as well?" It was a reasonable proposition, but the chairman said he wasn't going anywhere.

What has been notable, as Holgate lashed out at Prime Minister Scott Morrison for "bullying" her with his parliamentary tirade and Di Bartolomeo for not backing her, is the breadth of her constituency of support. It includes business figures and respected financial journalists, as well as the licensees.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-16/morrison-holgate-australia-post/100073004

 

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This reminds me of Stupid White Men, by Michael Moore. In his introduction to the second edition, he explains how the first edition had been accepted, had been printed and stored in a warehouse, about to be released, when 9/11 happened. The publisher, a second fiddle to Harper Collins in the Murdoch stables, refused to release the books, asking Moore to rewrite half the book for a new printrun, possibly lauding the glorious White Male of the moment: George W Bush who Moore had cut to pieces shitlessly. Moore refused and went into a dark patch. Going to another publisher was not possible due to a watertight contract. There were 50,000 copies, languishing in the warehouse, about to be PULPED.  Though Moore saw the funny side in the “recycling”, he was in a bad mood. By December 1, he was doing public speeches about his new book to small groups of aficionados, but only could sign his older books to the fans. Amongst the crowd was a LIBRARIAN. She got to spread the word around the LIBRARIAN community that the publisher was involved in censorship and suddenly hell broke loose. Here is Michael Moore explaining the publisher's reaction:

 

“we’ve got it off the Internet . Some Librarian is spreading the whole story. AND NOW WE’RE GETTING HATE MAIL FROM LIBRARIANS!”

Hum, I thought, librarians are certainly one terrorist group you don’t want to mess with.

 

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Same caper with the Post office business owners. They got SAVED BY HOLGATE from destruction fomented by the previous governments’ idea of “privatisation”. The guy who was running Australia Post before was robbing them (and the public, and the government) blind! While doing bugger all, for a shitload of money...

 

The Aussie Post Small Businesses love Holgate. Memo to government: It’s a group YOU DON’T WANT TO MESS WITH… Cavanan saw this… Scumdog Morrison, blind as a bat and full of his own hubris about himself-self, missed the boat. HOLGATE SHOULD BE REINSTATE And Di Bartolomeo sacked. Under attack from the LIBRARIANS the publisher released the book forthwith.

 

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due apology...

A contested report into the demise of Christine Holgate’s reign at Australia Post has called for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to apologise and the board’s chairman to resign over her treatment in the Cartier watches saga.

In a major reversal of her position, Ms Holgate is now seeking a $700,000 payout from Australia Post and her legal fees paid, despite insisting last year that she wanted no financial compensation when she resigned as chief executive from the company.

As Ms Holgate revised her demands, a Senate committee dominated by Greens and Labor Senators delivered a damning report into the circumstances surrounding Ms Holgate’s exit over her decision to reward employees with $20,000 in Cartier watches in 2018.

 

 

Read more:

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/senate-inquiry-calls-for-pm-to-apologise-to-christine-holgate-and-aus-post-chair-to-resign-20210526-p57vbi.html

 

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scomo should pay...

Australia Post has agreed to pay its former chief executive Christine Holgate $1 million as a termination payment, after mediation before a former Federal Court judge.

Key points:
  • Christine Holgate will receive a million dollar termination payment plus $100,000 in legal costs from Australia Post
  • Australia Post is not admitting any liability and Ms Holgate will drop all further legal claims against it
  • Ms Holgate was pushed to resign late last year after political controversy over her award of Cartier watches as bonuses

The federal government-owned company will also pay $100,000 towards Ms Holgate's legal costs.

Ms Holgate left Australia Post last year after controversy over her award of Cartier watches as bonuses to four executives in 2018.

In a statement about the settlement, Australia Post said it "acknowledges that it has lost an effective CEO following the events on the morning of 22 October 2020."

"Australia Post regrets the difficult circumstances surrounding Ms Holgate's departure from her role as CEO."

However, the company said it was making the payments without any admission of liability and Ms Holgate has released Australia Post from all legal claims.

Australia Post added that it "wishes Ms Holgate the best in her future endeavours".

Those future endeavours include taking business away from Australia Post.

In May this year, Ms Holgate was appointed to head Global Express, a courier company that rivals Australia Post in the profitable parcel segment.

Despite now leading a rival firm, Ms Holgate expressed her appreciation for the staff, partners and licensees of Australia Post.

"Ms Holgate wishes the employees, partners and licensees of Australia Post her best wishes as they strive every day to provide a vital and affordable service to all Australians no matter where they reside," the statement noted.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-04/christine-holgate-million-dollar-payout-from-australia-post/100348412

 

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ScoMo should pay out of his own pocket as it was his crap (yet again) that created the situation... This PM is a menace to common sense and a fluffy boon to advertising hubris... He should resign forthwith for all the crap he has beein dishing out to the good folks of Australia for to long, including the un-christian misery inflicted on migrants. May his soggy ship sink in the middle of Lake Burley Griffin...

 

 

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