Christine Holgate has won an award for providing a “tenacious and inspirational example for women in leadership”, two years after Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared she should resign as Australia Post chief executive.
Women and Leadership Australia named Ms Holgate the national award winner for “excellence in women’s leadership”.
Ms Holgate was told to “go” from her job by Mr Morrison in parliament in 2020.
His speech came after Ms Holgate came under scrutiny for buying four $20,000 Cartier watches for Australia Post executives after they secured a deal allowing people to do their banking at the post office.
Mr Morrison told parliament during question time, “the chief executive … has been instructed to stand aside, if she doesn’t wish to do that, she can go”.
Ms Holgate said she was political “roadkill” for the government as it sought to distract from other issues of the day, including the ill-fated Robodebt scheme, which it later settled for $1.2 billion, and criticism over paying Liberal donors $30 million for land valued at $3 million.
The “last 12 months had been a very challenging period for many women”, Ms Holgate said on Wednesday.
“Amongst the hardships, we witnessed women come together, stand up and speak out, exposing the harassment, discrimination, and intimidation of women, of all ages, occupations, and beliefs in our country,” she said.
“After years of reviews, committees and promises, we are still not progressing and in many instances the statistics have deteriorated.
“The number of women feeling harassed, the number of women assaulted and the number of women made economically vulnerable have all increased through COVID, and it’s not just the numbers, too often the severity has also increased.”
She urged the government to implement all 55 recommendations from the Respect@Work report, compiled by Kate Jenkins, the sex discrimination commissioner.
WLA said the award recognised women who made “outstanding contributions to the narrative of leadership equality”.
“Christine Holgate amassed widespread recognition for her determination, resilience, and agency shown in bringing gender inequity issues to the forefront of conversations on a national scale.”
Ms Holgate will accept the award at an Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium in Canberra on May 13.
State and territory winners include: Professor Kylie Ward for the ACT, Lisa Cox for Queensland, Professor Nicola Spurrier for South Australia, Shivani Gopal for NSW, Antoinette Baybrook for Victoria, Dr Anne Walters and Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann for the Northern Territory and Professor Kate Warner for Tasmania.