A number of investigations into Australia Post public interest disclosures over the year has found instances of misconduct within the postal service, including maladministration and abuse of public office, resulting in staff training and disciplinary action.
Australia Post has had a troubling few weeks following a furore over the purchase of Cartier watches as a bonus for its executive team in 2018, revealed in an infamous exchange between now former chief executive Christine Holgate and Senator Kimberley Kitching.
While the luxury watch bonus revelation, which has resulted in a month-long probe and Ms Holgate's resignation, occurred two years ago, the government company has faced more than 20 investigations into public interest disclosures, as outlined in the Commonwealth Ombudsman's 2019-20 annual report.
Over the course of the reporting period, the ombudsman oversaw 29 public interest disclosures raised within Australia Post, representing about 8 per cent of total disclosures.
Within those 29 disclosures, 72 kinds of misconduct, referred to as "disclosable conduct", were alleged to have occurred, including 22 relating to law breaking, 15 relating to maladministration and three relating to the abuse of public office.
The ombudsman said 22 investigations by Australia Post had been conducted into those disclosures and found 15 findings of misconduct, including three instances of maladministration, two of abuse of public office and three contraventions of the law.
The report doesn't detail the findings of the investigations further than the type of action that occurred but it did provide examples of the actions taken following them.
Australia Post responded to the recommendations by undertaking disciplinary action against the offenders as well as further staff training on ethics, discrimination, bullying, harassment and the postal service's drug and alcohol policy.
It's unclear how many staff members received disciplinary action or ethics and harassment training nor their level of seniority.
Airservices Australia also made an appearance in the ombudsman's public interest disclosure log. Last month, it was revealed nine people, including four managers, had left the agency since June 2020 after bullying or sexual harassment claims.
The ombudsman oversaw 14 public interest disclosures during the reporting period of which 12 were investigated. They resulted in four findings of misconduct and Airservices Australia responded by imposing sanctions under its code of conduct, improving processes and policies as well as offering "behavioural expectation awareness" sessions.
The ombudsman's report said even if investigations don't result in findings, it can be used as a warning system for potential areas of improvement.
"We remind agencies at our regular PID forums that a PID investigation that does not result in a finding of disclosable conduct, may nonetheless identify an opportunity to mitigate potential risks of wrongdoing or improve agency practice and procedure," the report read.
Australia Post was approached for comment but declined to provide one.