Scott Morrison and Christine HolgatePrime Minister Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison’s constructive dismissal of Christine Holgate is a multi-million-dollar lawsuit still waiting to happen

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be the star witness in any legal proceedings former Australia Post Christine Holgate could institute at any time against Australia Post and the federal government for her constructive dismissal. The videos below with admissions by Scott Morrison and Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo about who decided to get rid of Christina Holgate and the manner it was done show that Holgate would have an open and shut case for “constructive dismissal”.

The evidence for a constructive dismissal claim is so watertight, and it’s all on video, that Scott Morrison and Australia Post would have no choice but to settle any reasonable claim that Christine Holgate is likely to institute once the Senate inquiry publishes their findings.

A quick overview of what a Constructive Dismissal is as per Wikipedia:

In employment law, constructive dismissal, also called constructive discharge or constructive termination, occurs when an employee resigns as a result of the employer creating a hostile work environment. Since the resignation was not truly voluntary, it is, in effect, a termination. For example, when an employer places extraordinary and unreasonable work demands on an employee to obtain their resignation, this can constitute a constructive dismissal.

The exact legal consequences differ between different countries, but generally a constructive dismissal leads to the employee’s obligations ending and the employee acquiring the right to make claims against the employer.

The employee may resign over a single serious incident or over a pattern of incidents. Generally, a party seeking relief must have resigned soon after one of the constructive acts. (Click here to read more)

In the below video, 22/10/20, Scott Morrison makes several admissions that would be very damaging to any defence of a constructive dismissal claim by Christine Holgate.

In the above video, Scott Morrison said, very aggressively, that Christine Holgate had been instructed to stand aside or she can go and that it did not matter if she wished to stand aside or not because she had been instructed to. But the Australia Post Chairman told the Senate last week (13/4/21) “In his statements and evidence before the Senate committee on Tuesday, Di Bartolomeo maintained Holgate agreed to stand aside while an investigation was carried out.” which contradicts the video evidence of Scott Morrison above saying that Christine Holgate was not given a choice about whether to stand aside but she was instructed to stand aside or “she can go” which means she would have been sacked if she hadn’t stood aside.

Scott Morrison also says in the above video that the decision to instruct Christine Holgate to stand aside was made at a meeting with the Minister for Finance (Simon Birmingham) and the Minister for Communications (Paul Fletcher) and Morrison made it very clear they were in charge, that they had set up an independent investigation and they would decide what to do after the investigation had reported back to them. Morrison also said that he decided that within the hour of learning of the $20,000 purchase of 4 watches.

Given what Scott Morrison said in the video a court would have no choice but to find that Morrison was personally in charge of Christine Holgate’s employment at Australia Post. Morrison is now ducking and weaving and claiming the matter has nothing to do with him but the above video says it all.

At the Senate hearing last week (13/4/21):

Holgate said she had told the board she did not believe she should be standing aside, given how close it was to Christmas – which, given the pandemic travel restrictions, was expected to be busier than usual. She also said her personal belief was “it’s very difficult when a leader has stood down to have them return” later.

“I didn’t want to, and I think it’s evident by the prime minister’s remarks that he knew I didn’t want to,” she said.

Holgate said she received a letter from the Australian Post chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, that “effectively” said she was being stood aside under instruction from the government. (Click here to read more)

The below video is Australian Post chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, at the Senate hearing (13/4/21) where he throws Scott Morrison and the government under a bus and says Christine Holgate has been treated “abysmally” and he points the finger at the government several times regarding Christine Holgate’s treatment.

As a side note, I have no doubt Scott Morrison was faking anger in parliament in October 2020 in relation to Christine Holgate to take attention away from the far greater frauds such as the $200 million Sports Rorts and the $30 million Leppington Triangle land purchase fraud. At the time there was also alleged fraud valued at almost $200,000 at the top of ASIC. “The ASIC scandal directly involved ASIC chair James Shipton (appointed under then Treasurer Scott Morrison) and deputy chair Daniel Crennan QC (appointed under Treasurer Josh Frydenberg)” (Click here to read more)

It doesn’t matter whether you agree or not with the treatment of Christine Holgate but it was worth looking at her legal prospects given she has said that she might take that option and other media haven’t looked at the matter from that viewpoint.

If Holgate does sue the first 4 witnesses she calls will be Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham, Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher and Australian Post chairman, Lucio Di Bartolomeo and their evidence will be all that is needed to make out Christine Holgate’s claim.

Scott Morrison thought he was smart attacking Christine Holgate to take the media attention away from other government fraud scandals but now she is a massive landmine of his own making. One more wrong step by Morrison in how he treats Holgate, and the matter will blow up in his face and maybe it is too late as I have no doubt Holgate will launch legal action as soon as the Senate hand down their report on the matter.

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13 replies »

  1. Hi,
    I have been wondering if Christine Holgate was fired as part of the quest to sell AP. This would explain why the Board Chairman did not want to stand down because he would have lost his share of the bounty when the board was financially rewarded for arranging the sale. This is really becoming an issue, but I think Scomo has underestimated the strength of the rural residents voting power (unless he thinks that the Shooters, fishers & whatever party always tread the conservative line anyway..)
    This latest move by AP to refuse to ship ´´perishables´´ is another issue to: there seems to be a city-centric view of the needs of country residents there. There are country residents that either need to sell locally produced goods, or need to receive goods ordered (remembering that often the ONLY parcel service to rural residents is the post)

    So, I think the cost of a couple of watches will pale into insignificance when the snouts hit this trough in the next few months.

    Please keep AP in Public ownership!

  2. Thanks for keeping us all apprised of this sordid example of bullying and bad behaviour. You give details never seen on other websites. I have no sympathy for Holgate (she of the 1%) but she has definitely come off second best in this episode.

    • I have great deal of sympathy for Christine Holgate. AP is a government agency expected to operate as a corporate, commercial operation, Ms Holgate has an exemplary commercial record with major corporations and had fought very hard to ensure the viability of local AP agencies and to ensure traditional postal services were preserved. That’ why the AP agencies have all been on her side. Following corporate incentive practices she was allowed to pay up to $150,000 in bonuses to the 4 executives who helped achieve all this, a common practice in corporate Australia. Instead, she limited the bonuses to 4 glitzy watches at $20,000. There was no bad faith, no fraud, no incompetence. She should have gotten a medal for her exemplary performance. Instead, she has been publicly vilified for just doing her job and doing it well.. I hope she sues the bejeezus out of the people who did all this to her. I’m sure corporations with their heads screwed on right will snatch her up.

  3. Perhaps an appropriate time to bring a lawsuit would be soon after Morrison declared an election. That would reinforce Christine Holgate’s position but also contribute to the dismissal of the Morrison government, and the sooner that happens the better for Australia.

  4. Scomo’s handling of almost every issue lately has been poor. He seems to lack common sense & is steadily eroding any support he had. The scandals are becoming far to numerous & he appears powerless to act constructively to right the situations as they develop.

  5. The government appoints the adjudicator. A Prime Minister will never be implicated in cases like this. There will be a finding that Christine Holgate should not have done what she did. Whatever the outcome, the taxpayer will foot the bill and a law firm will make their million. But before that happens, Christine Holgate will be put be put to test. I don’t think PM Scott Morrison is going to lose sleep over it.

  6. From what I have gleaned, Holgate has not committed any legal error so the future looks very interesting for all concerned.

  7. Whether or not one feels Miss Holgate is treated abysmally, it does not take away the fact that she did not do her job. I refer to several accounts of identity theft and fraud, that citizens wanted resolved, some for years and years, that she totally disregarded and never took action upon! Neither did any of her predecessors, for that fact…

    No sympathy for those who don’t do their job right, especially at the expense of others, and this goes in first place for politicians!!

    • Fraud and identity theft is a serious and pervasive problem for many private businesses and government agencies. I’m not sure that AP has the responsibility or the resources to solve these problems. Perhaps the AFP. Certainly the banks should be able to shut down financial fraud using their accounts. But AP?

  8. Christine Holgate has now engaged Rebekah Giles to act for her in respect of a contract breach claim.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/apr/22/christine-holgate-engages-leading-lawyers-over-australia-post-dispute

    Rebekah Giles is looking like the celebrities’ lawyer these days. She must offer something, or does she know how to play the media to get her client’s case front and centre to embarrass the other side and thus enhance the chances of a favourable settlement.

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