Christine Holgate before the Senate inquiry (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Crikey readers have had a lot to say about both former Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate and the government’s apparent mistreatment of her, with many pointing out the Morrison government’s hypocrisy on the matter. Elsewhere, readers had their say on the government’s bizarre attempt at a consent awareness campaign (milkshakes and all), and reacted to a new lawsuit that has seen the Commonwealth deny its duty of care on climate inaction.

On Christine Holgate

Denise Robyn Robertson writes: The Christian Holgate issue is a prime example of the bully-in-chief in this country at work. I am astonished that you suggested Christine Holgate staying in good hotels and getting hair and make-up done for media events is a problem. She was after all the CEO of a huge company and women are judged in this country by their dress, hair, nose shape and size of their bottoms! Plus, what does it have to do with the way she, as a highly competent CEO, has been treated? A great example of how even women at the very top are treated as poorly as women who have no power.

James Philips writes: I have retired from Australia Post and therefore have no fear of the management’s attitude towards the people working there. Therefore I say that the hypocrisy of giving expensive gifts to management individuals at the same time that Australia Post was asking for volunteers to sort or deliver unpaid is staggering but not surprising. Holgate’s comment she wasn’t using taxpayer’s money displays a perspective that is supported from top to bottom by management — also not a surprising comment from AusPost management, which thinks it owns it. She is not a martyr.

Helen Booth writes: I don’t agree with running public service departments like businesses, but this has been happening for years. Although Australia Post is a statutory authority, it has a central retail function, so it makes sense to apply efficient business principles to the way it is run. The most disturbing thing about the Christine Holgate Senate inquiry is not the watches, which actually substantially reduced the size of possible bonuses, it’s the hypocrisy of Morrison’s uproar about wasting taxpayers’ money when his government has wasted so much more taxpayers’ money on ferrying Mathias Cormann around the world, paying way over market price for land, and dishing out undeserved grants to win votes.

The revelations about secret plans to further privatise Australian Post and close post offices, which Holgate disagreed with, shows this strategy was really nothing to do with watches. The strategy, cooked up and implemented by the boys’ club, was to use the media to create public uproar about the watches and then use Parliament to bully, humiliate and gaslight a woman they wanted to get rid of because she disagreed with their plans.

Matt Harvey writes: Janine Perrett points to Christine Holgate’s gilded life as CEO of Australia Post, but that does not disqualify her from being a victim. For better or worse, Australia Post is a business and the watches were not out of proportion for the deal these executives had secured. The board was aware of the gifts. They are very small beer compared to the largesse of her male predecessor.

The estimates hearing last year was a blatant hatchet job, all the more effective for being taken up by Labor. The Prime Minister’s performance in Parliament was an absolute disgrace. Holgate had done nothing wrong but provided the government with a diversion they direly needed.

Samantha Graham writes: Good God. I sat down with my 14-year-old son — who will be receiving a day of “consent training” this Thursday, the school tells us — and said: “Check this out. It’s hopefully what you won’t be getting on Thursday.” Honestly, we both just looked at each other and said WTF?

What a travesty and a complete waste of money. It should be pulled down ASAP. Nonsensical. Utter rubbish. Sexist. Stupid. Ridiculous. Should I go on? Beggars belief.

Rosemary Jacob writes: I grew up in a non-conformist household but am now an agnostic. I would not want any children to be exposed to as biased and inaccurate a source of information about consent as this video represents.
I was a volunteer in establishing a branch of the Family Planning Association in the NT from 1973 till 1984 and have talked to adult and student groups about contraception and sexuality, as well as the dangers of stereotypes. Children are far more aware than too many adults realise, and education about sexual issues must not be warped to suit the dangerous sensitivities of ‘believers’!

On duty of care in climate inaction

Peta Terry writes: Of course the government has a duty of care to children, as it has to all citizens. If the constitution doesn’t charge the government with a duty of care for the health, well-being and continued existence of the people and our land, then what is the purpose of the constitution?

I find it astonishing that the government admits that climate change is real and is having enormous impacts on every aspect of the country — the life of its citizens and the support of the biosphere that underpins our very existence — but refuses to see this as a paramount concern and retreats into narrow legalistic considerations, because the problems of climate change are effectively too big, too widespread to be contemplated. What is the point of the government if it is not to have a duty of care towards its citizens — including present and emerging generations — and to act in accordance with that duty of care? As a paramount and overriding consideration, irrespective of the narrow legal terms set out by individual pieces of legislation.

Roger Clifton writes: There is no tolerable “rate”.  Any emission kills. Today’s emissions kill tomorrow and will continue to kill endlessly into the future.

Marian Arnold writes: Surely in a “democracy” the government that we, the people, elect, has an implicit duty of care. If there is not a collective duty of care to the electors and other citizens, are our elected “leaders” all acting in their own self-interest? The answer to that is yes, in some cases, which are then pointed to repeatedly as aberrant.

Has something in our pages got you fired up? Let us know by writing to [email protected]. Please include your full name to be considered for publication in Crikey’s Your Say section.

Peter Fray

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