Australia Post chief queries investigation

Australia Post chief Christine Holgate says she has not been told she's been stood down.
Australia Post chief Christine Holgate says she has not been told she's been stood down.

Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate says she has not been told she's been stood down from her role or given any information about an investigation into watches bought for executives.

But the chairman of the government-owned business, Lucio Di Bartolomeo, says the decision for her step aside was mutually agreed on October 22.

Australia Post is being investigated by two government departments over its gift and expense culture after watches worth almost $20,000 were handed to senior executives.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament last week the gifts were disgraceful and appalling, as he demanded Ms Holgate step aside.

Ms Holgate's lawyer Bryan Belling, from Kingston Reid, said she would support a fair investigation.

"However, it is now exactly seven days since Ms Holgate was the subject of a humiliating answer during Question Time," Mr Belling said in a statement on Thursday.

"In that time Ms Holgate has not had any proper notification that she has been stood down from her role, nor has she been informed as to why she should be stood down."

As well, she had not received any communication regarding the investigation.

Mr Belling said there appeared to be no legal grounds for Australia Post to stand Ms Holgate down.

"'Optics' is not a legally-valid defence," he said.

A spokesman for Australia Post told AAP it had "communicating frequently" with Ms Holgate and ensured she received support.

"The chair stands by his previously made statement on Thursday, October 22, that Ms Holgate will stand aside and this was agreed to by both parties in a telephone conversation."

Australian Associated Press