Rolex good, Cartier bad*

By October 26, 2020Australian Politics

A Senate Estimates hearing last week uncovered the fact that the CEO of Australia Post, Christine Holgate, gave four senior executives horrendously expensive (between $3,800 and $7,000 each1) Cartier watches in lieu of cash bonuses. If the bonuses had even been significantly more but in cash, they probably would have passed by without a squeak, as both Michael Pascoe and Matthew Doran have suggested1,2. The ‘bonus’ watches were a reward for putting together a deal with the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and NAB to ensure banking services were available in post offices and that the licensed post office operators were paid appropriately. This deal has apparently saved the licensed post office network, particularly those in rural and regional areas, which used to be paid a pittance after stepping in to provide banking services after local bank branches closed.

The odd thing about this is that it happened two years ago, in November 20183. So why is Prime Minister Scott Morrison making a mountain out of such a relative molehill by waving his arms and stamping his feet about this? This is because it is a useful distraction from all the other corruption going on during his tenure as PM, which is extensive and structural4.

It is ironic that these Cartier watches have created such a kerfuffle, when the Rolex watches received in 2013 by Stuart Robert, Tony Abbott and Ian Macfarlane from a Chinese billionaire Li Ruipeng which were valued at a vastly greater $250,000, caused barely a ripple.

*Apologies to George Orwell

Sources

  1. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-24/australia-post-cartier-watches-controversy-cultural-problems/12807110
  2. https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2020/10/26/michael-pascoe-jumping-the-shark-watches/
  3. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-post-reveals-the-cartier-watches-bought-for-executives-actually-cost-almost-20-000
  4. http://www.blotreport.com/2020/09/23/corruption-galore-5/
  5. http://www.blotreport.com/2020/07/01/corruption-galore-3/

8 Comments

  • Jon says:

    While I applaud their actions wrt Holgate and the outrageous abuse of public funds in ASIC, these are just more examples which highlight the hypocrisy of Morrison and his conservative and country hick parliamentary colleagues. There is one set of standards for his Ministers and mates and another entirely for particular – only particular – public officials. While doling out largesse to Murdoch and others (discussed elsewhere on Blot) he and his mates have been quietly cutting back funding to the ABC and Audit Office: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/audit-office-funding-slashed-renewing-calls-for-integrity-commission-20201026-p568q5.html
    The mantra is obvious – if you can’t control an organisation’s outputs then you can limit their effectiveness and ability to expose financial malpractice and corruption by cutting their funding.

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      As has been said elsewhere, if it had been a bonus in dollars rather than snazzy watches, nobody would have blinked an eye. This is just opportunism from Morrison to suck the unthinking punters as well as the gullible tossers in the media, that he is outraged at a waste of taxpayers’ money. The fact that this is the most corrupt bunch of scabrous charlatans ever to occupy parliament house, doesn’t seem to make an impression on many people.

  • Arthur Baker says:

    I have a wrist-watch which I bought about five or six years ago at Tar-zhay for $35. It’s got a digital display, which is allegedly regarded as pretty naff these days, but I don’t care, and its big digits mean I don’t have to put my glasses on to find out what time it is. Up to now it still hasn’t needed a new battery, and I have to correct it by about two seconds approximately twice a year. Can someone please explain to me why I might need or want a wristwatch costing $3,800, $7,000 or (shudder) a quarter of a mill, even if I could afford it, which I can’t?

    • admin says:

      Arthur,
      I am buggered if I know why anyone would want a $7,000 watch. It doesn’t change what time it is. Mine is a Casio bought some years back (6-8?) and I think I have had the battery replaced maybe 2 or 3 times. Coincidentally, last night, after posting that rant, one of the spindles holding the band in place, somehow jumped out of its hole and the watch fell off my wrist. I finally got the thing back together, and today one of my colleagues said to me ‘it’s time for lunch’. I looked at my watch and said ‘it’s a bit early; it’s only 11:30’ He pointed to the clock on the wall which showed it was actually 12:30. I looked at my watch again and it was 11:35, Friday, January 1st, 2010. Took me about 10 minutes to set the proper time again. Creepy!

  • Jon says:

    Holgate has form – asking low paid employees to work for nothing AND use their own cars to make deliveries, but her biggest mistake is her ignorance of the entity she manages. “I have not used taxpayers’ money. We’re a commercial organisation” she said during Senate Estimate questioning. The fact that she didn’t know the funds she used (and all money in and out of AP) were in fact “taxpayers funds” is astonishing. Ignorance is bliss. Some numpties actually supported her on that very basis in SMH comments.

    Quite frankly the whole AP board should be given notice. As Uhlmann pointed out today in the SMH:
    “Australia Post has a long and sorry history when it comes to the salaries it lavishes on its executives. Its last chief executive, Ahmed Fahour, had his remuneration doubled by the board in his time at the helm and walked away with a $10.8 million payout. And this is the organisation that spent $2.5 million on hospitality for the London Olympics.”

  • Jon says:

    …whole AP board…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Bitnami