Australia Post has revealed the Cartier watches purchased for senior executives as a reward for closing a deal with the major banks actually cost $20,000, rather than the $12,000 it originally thought.
Australia Post chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo said on Friday that he had been made aware of “further details of the purchases”, and wanted to confirm the new price “as a matter of urgency”.
Di Bartolomeo said the four watches were purchased in November 2018 at a cost of $7,000, $4,750, $4,400 and $3,800 totalling $19,950.
Aus Post chief executive Christine Holgate originally told a Senate estimates committee on Wednesday that the watches cost $12,000.
While Holgate said taxpayer dollars were not used to fund the purchase, she has been ordered by the Prime Minister to stand aside.
“We are the shareholders of Australia Post on behalf of the Australian people,” Scott Morrison said in Thursday’s Question Time. “She [Holgate] has been instructed to stand aside. If she doesn’t wish to do that, she can go.”
Also read: Australia Post’s bizarre request to staff
ASIC chairman told to stand aside
The chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), James Shipton, was also ordered to stand aside amid a $188,000 payment scandal.
Shipton was made aware by the auditor-general of concerns about $118,000 in payments made on his behalf relating to tax advice, and $70,000 to deputy chairman Dan Crennan relating to house expenses.
The auditor-general found the total remuneration to both officials "may exceed the limits set within the relevant Remuneration Tribunal determinations".
The chair and deputy chair have agreed to repay the amount.
“Whilst I believe that I have acted properly and appropriately in this matter, I hold myself to the highest possible standard,” Shipton said.
Prime Minister lashes agencies
The Prime Minister has since put all government-owned businesses and agencies on notice over spending, saying a broad examination of pay and bonuses in Government isn’t out of the question.
"Let's see. But I think there wouldn't be a board member of a government agency or a CEO of a government agency that did not get my message yesterday," he said.
"I think they got it with a rocket. And so my advice to them is to get it."
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