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

Christine Holgate has threatened to sue Australia Post unless the federal government agrees to mediation talks over her controversial sacking by Wednesday.

The former Australia Post chief executive claims she was unlawfully terminated in November after revelations senior executives were gifted Cartier watches, collectively worth about $20,000.

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 her departure.

On Monday she warned that 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 was in the court” of Australia Post and the government.

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“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,” her legal team said in a statement.

“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 chief executive in November after it was revealed senior executives had been gifted the watches.

She claimed that 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.


The revelation came just hours before Australia Post executive and former Liberal Party federal director Tony Nutt claimed the furore surrounding Ms Holgate’s exit had descended into a “high farce”.

Appearing before a Senate inquiry on Monday, Mr Nutt claimed Ms Holgate was an “outstanding” Australia Post chief executive and would still be in the role were he in charge.

But he 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.

But One Nation senator Pauline Hanson exploded at Mr Nutt, telling him his explanation for Ms Holgate’s departure “doesn’t add up”.

Ms Hanson on Monday grilled Mr Nutt over whether Ms Holgate told him she had agreed to resign.

Ms Holgate insists she never agreed to quit.

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.

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.


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