It’s been nearly eight months since Christine Holgate left Australia Post amid pressure from the government to stand aside over the awarding of four Cartier watches to senior executives in 2018, sparking a wave of indignation and damaging headlines.
At the time, politicians on both sides of the spectrum were quick to condemn the purchases and laid the blame at the feet of the beleaguered CEO.
In the months that followed her shock departure, the war of words between Holgate and the government ramped up with both parties eventually agreeing to take part in mediation scheduled for later this month.
In about a fortnight, the legal team representing Holgate and lawyers from Australia Post will sit down for mediation over the departure of the former CEO.
Now Holgate has spoken to ABC’s Four Corners. The new episode, titled Post Mortem: The story behind the turmoil that’s engulfed Australia Post aired on Monday 28 June and is now available to watch on ABC iView.
In the documentary, reporter Michael Brissenden looks at the events at Australia Post that led to the downfall of its high-profile CEO after she was forced to resign over gifting the four watches, worth $5000 each.
"I think I was thrown under the bus, and the bus reversed back over me," Holgate said in the interview with Four Corners.
"Do I feel it was escalated, because I was a woman? Yes, I do.”
She also claims Communications Minister Paul Fletcher was "unusually very highly engaged" with the running of the public institution during her tenure, much more than his predecessors.
"Minister Fletcher had a very high level of involvement with Australia Post, and that was very different to how we worked with other ministers. We would meet with Minister Fletcher every month. In fact, I think we met with Minister Fletcher more than our own board," Ms Holgate told Four Corners.
"Press releases would need to be approved by the minister's office."
The program also features interviews with Mr Fletcher, who rejects any suggestion that his dealings with Australia Post were in any way outside normal practice, or that gender was a factor in Ms Holgate’s departure.
Licensed Post Office Group CEO Angela Cramp also appears in the programme.
Read Claire Braund’s article Holgate in ‘female friendly’ PM’s blind spot.