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Australia Post boss refuses to reveal details of $375,000 credit card bill

Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate (pictured) was ordered to stand down

Australia Post's chief executive has refused to say how her office racked up a $375,000 credit card bill since she was appointed to the role three years ago.

Christine Holgate was last week stood down from her role pending a thorough investigation into her spending.

On Tuesday, her office said it could not provide the investigation with details of two separate corporate credit cards because the documents were locked away in the Melbourne head office.

The office was closed when the city was thrust into a second lockdown back in July.

'Melbourne office staff have been working remotely and access to some records has been restricted,' Australia Post said.

The two credit cards that caused the most concern were linked to Ms Holgate's office.

The first racked up a bill of $88,100 in the three years since she was appointed to the role, but it is the second card that raised alarms for Labor. 

The relatively new card was used for $287,000 worth of spending in the last financial year alone.

Spending included accommodation, domestic and international flights, conferences, functions, events, charitable donations, catering, car hire, taxis, gifts, flowers and meals.      

Australia Post's CEO (pictured) has refused to disclose how her office racked up a credit card bill worth $375,000 since she was appointed to the role three years ago 

Executive director for the group, Angela Cramp, told Daily Mail Australia the group is planning to take action on Wednesday by closing their post offices across the country

Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching questioned the excuse provided by Australia Post for not handing over the itemised spending list.  

'They should furnish the Senate with the credit card statements which I had already requested, but I was told that they couldn't provide those statements because employees were working from home,' she told news.com.au. 

The investigation earlier learned Ms Holgate was put up at the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel between October 2017 and July 2018 when she visited the company's head office in Melbourne.  

Ms Holgate, who has a harbourside property in Sydney's Mosman and a $5million holiday home in Pearl Beach on the NSW's Central Coast, reportedly had a 'best room rate' at the hotel, The Australian reported.

It is understood she was often upgraded to an executive suite when she stayed at the Grand Hyatt because she was a regular guest.   

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the watches given as gifts were unacceptable and ordered Ms Holgate to step down

Prices at the Grand Hyatt start at $289 a night for a standard room but can cost up to $2,149 a night in the diplomatic suite. 

Australia Post was granted permission by the Remuneration Tribunal to spend a maximum of $34,500 for Ms Holgate's accommodation for up to six months. 

Ms Holgate's future with Australia Post is already hanging in the balance after Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament 'she can go' if she does not stand aside while there is an inquiry into the watch spending. 

A senior government source told the publication that Mr Morrison has had enough. 

'He was filthy at the waste and the lack of understanding that this was taxpayer money – that infuriated him the most,' he said.

Ms Holgate's future is in doubt after it was revealed that she spent $20,000 of the public company's money on Cartier watches to be given to staff members as a bonus

Ms Holgate, who has a home in one of Sydney's most affluent suburbs, stayed at the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel (pictured) between October 2017 and July 2018 when she visited the company's head office in Melbourne

'It's 100 per cent owned by the taxpayer so your profits are taxpayer profits, yet this culture of excess remains. It's a culture that needs to be eradicated.'   

Ms Holgate was last week stood aside pending a one-month investigation into the gifting of $20,000 worth of Cartier luxury watches to senior executives.

The watches were given to executives as a reward for clinching multi-million dollar deals with three of the 'big four' banks to allow their customers to do their banking at post offices.

While Ms Holgate insisted that was not a waste of taxpayer money because Australia Post generates its own revenue, the mail company is wholly owned by the federal government.

Australia Post boss was grilled over  Cartier watches this week

Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching grills Ms Holgate in cross-examination after revealing top executives were 'awarded' watches. 

Senator Kitching: And what was that award?

Ms Holgate: They got watches.

Senator Kitching: And what were the watches?

Ms Holgate: They were a Cartier watch of about a value of $3,000 each.

Senator Kitching: Four people got Cartier. Do you remember the brand, the type? Was it a Cartier Tank? What was it?

Ms Holgate: I don't recall. I didn't actually purchase them. They were organised through my office on behalf of the Chair and I.

Senator Kitching: OK so just to be clear, the four people who received Cartier watches were Mr Starr. You received one, Ms Holgate?

Ms Holgate: No, I did not.

Senator Kitching: Do you, Ms Holgate, consider it appropriate to use taxpayers' money to buy Cartier watches for already highly-remunerated Australia Post executives?

Ms Holgate: I have not used taxpayers' money. We are a commercial organisation. We do not receive government funding. We are a commercial organisation.

Senator Kitching: It is a government organisation.

Ms Holgate: It was a recommendation from our Chair that these people get rewarded.

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