‘Not on’: Scott Morrison defends ‘humiliating’ outburst
Scott Morrison has doubled down on his outburst over Australia Post spending thousands on watches for senior executives despite its former chief executive accusing him of "humiliating" her but regrets any distress he may have caused Christine Holgate.
"It was not my intention to cause distress to Ms Holgate and I regret any distress that that strong language may have caused to her and indeed did cause to her," he said today.
"That was not my intention.
"But this issue is about ultimately - all of us who serve in senior positions, whether it's Prime Minister or minister or chief executive or manager of a company, we all have responsibilities.
"This issue was about the way taxpayers' money-funded companies are run.
"Ms Holgate decided not to remain with Australia Post and they are moving to appoint a new chief executive and any remaining issues sit between Christine Holgate and the chair."
The former postal service boss let rip on Mr Morrison and Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo on Tuesday during a Senate inquiry into her controversial departure.
Ms Holgate quit as chief executive in October following revelations senior executives were gifted expensive Cartier watches - prompting the Prime Minister to blast the purchase as "disgraceful" and say she had been instructed to stand aside.
One Nation senator Pauline Hanson said Mr Morrison should "of course" apologise to Ms Holgate, accusing him of "speaking before he engaged his brain".
"I don't think the Prime Minister really understood what it was about, he heard in Senate estimates that she bought these watches," Senator Hanson said.
"I think that he spoke before he engaged the brain, and he wasn't advised properly with it."
The comments come after Ms Holgate called on Mr Morrison to apologise for his role in her ousting, which she said made her position untenable.
"Everybody makes mistakes sometimes," Ms Holgate told Today.
"If he was to call me and apologise, I would welcome that apology. That's all I want."
Originally published as 'Not on': PM defends 'humiliating' outburst