No freedom of speech in Australia
The High Court has upheld a government decision to fire a public servant who used a pseudonym to criticise government immigration policy on Twitter. The Court unanimously ruled that Michaela Banerji’s dismissal was not unreasonable.
Banerji used the Twitter handle LaLegale to send more than 9000 tweets in six years while she was employed by what was then called the Department of Immigration and Border Protection from 2006 and 2012. The tweets were often critical of government policies, such as banishing refugees who attempt to reach Australia by boat to camps on the poor Pacific island nations of Papua New Guineas and Nauru.
A tearful Banerji said outside court that she pursued the case “to affirm the role of this freedom of speech for public servants and we failed. It’s not just a loss for me, it’s a loss for all of us and I’m very, very, very sorry,” she told reporters.
Her lawyer Allan Anforth said outside court that he expected the decision would entitle any employer to fire an employee for criticising the boss’s stance on a political issue. “The logic of it does not stop at the bounds of the public service,” Anforth said. (Source: ABC)