A former Cricket Australia (CA) employee, sacked over a series of social media posts criticising the Tasmanian government over the availability of abortions in the state, has taken the matter to the Fair Work Commission.
Angela Williamson, who had worked as CA’s government relations manager in Tasmania since 2016, was informed via formal letter on June 29 that her employment had been terminated after the Cricket Tasmania Board lost confidence in her ability to do the job due to a succession of tweets about the inaccessibility of abortions, most recently on June 18.
In that message, Williamson criticised the state’s health minister Michael Ferguson, describing him as “most irresponsible … gutless and reckless” for helping the government reject a parliamentary motion to return access to abortions in public hospital. In a report published by Fairfax Media, Williamson revealed she had been compelled to fly from Hobart to Melbourne on the mainland to have a surgical abortion in February this year.
“We can confirm that Cricket Australia ended its employment arrangement with Ms Williamson in late June,” a CA spokesman said. “The circumstances surrounding that decision are now the subject of legal proceedings and it would be inappropriate for Cricket Australia to publicly comment on Ms. Williamson’s specific circumstances any further.
“We will continue to follow and respect the current process. Cricket Australia respects an individua’s right to their opinion. However, it expects that employees will refrain from making offensive comments that contravene the organisation’s social media policy.”
Williamson’s lawyer, Kamal Faroque, outlined their concerns about events. “Our client raised an important and personal view about the need to ensure that women in Tasmania have access to appropriate reproductive health services, and that she was disappointed in how the relevant government [official] had dealt with the issue in Parliament,” he told Fairfax Media.
“Those views, and her raising them, have nothing to do with Cricket Australia or Cricket Tasmania, they have nothing to do with the work that she was performing and the question needs to be asked about why she has lost her job for this. In our view the actions of Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania have gone too far. Political opinion is a protected attribute under the Fair Work Act, but in this instance an employer is seeking to constrain that opinion, with a person losing their job as a result.”