Scott Morrison has been chastised for announcing the hiring of a new Australia Post CEO as Christine Holgate prepares to testify about her contentious departure.
Five months after Ms Holgate resigned over a luxury watch expenses controversy, Australia Post has appointed Woolworths supply chain boss Paul Graham as its new CEO.
Over the past 40 years, Mr. Graham has worked in digital marketing and retail in Australia, Europe, and Asia, including as a senior executive at Deutsche Post DHL.
On Monday, Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo said, “Paul has a demonstrated track record of achieving results in big, complex organisations and is an established leader leading large teams.”
In September, Mr. Graham will take over the role.
His annual salary has been set at $1.46 million, with the possibility of incentives doubling his pay.
The announcement comes just days before Ms Holgate and Mr Di Bartolomeo are set to testify before a Senate enquiry into Australia Post.
Michelle Rowland, a Labor communications spokeswoman, said the prime minister and communications minister had “lost their collective marbles” by making the announcement on the eve of the enquiry.
“Why was a hastily announced appointment made today when the new CEO won’t start until September 2021?” she asked AAP.
“The timing is not only disrespectful to the new CEO, Mr Graham, but it also demonstrates that Scott Morrison is completely consumed by short-term political management.”
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said the timing was an unmistakable disrespect for the process in a scathing statement.
“The prime minister and two of his most senior ministers’ utter arrogance is on display today with the announcement of a new Australia Post chief executive and managing director,” Senator Hanson said.
“Scott Morrison is attempting to destabilise witnesses ahead of the Senate enquiry tomorrow.”
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young of the Greens, who chairs the Australia Post enquiry, has also entered the fray.
“While the issue of Ms Holgate’s termination is under investigation by the Senate, the selection of a new CEO is unacceptable and seeks to hinder the Senate enquiry process,” she said.
The nomination was warmly received by shareholder ministers Simon Birmingham and Paul Fletcher.
“We have confidence in Mr Graham’s ability to provide good guidance and leadership as Australia Post continues to deliver record numbers of parcels despite border closures and continuing logistical challenges,” they said.
“As Australia Post continues to invest in supply chains that bind Australian companies to customers in new markets around the world, his experience in developing global logistics operations will be invaluable to local exporters.”
Ms Holgate was also praised for her contribution to Australia Post.
Ms Holgate says she has been humiliated and “thrown under the bus” as a result of the Cartier watch controversy.