Cricket Australia’s sacking of Angela Williamson over abortion tweets ‘should face inquiry’


Updated

July 31, 2018 12:38:16

There is a call for an inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s role in Cricket Australia’s sacking of Angela Williamson over tweets about the state’s abortion services.

Ms Williamson took to social media to criticise the Tasmanian Government’s closure of abortion services, and was soon after sacked from her government relations role at Cricket Australia.

She has alleged a senior member of the State Government had disclosed to her employer the fact she had had a pregnancy terminated.

Ms Williamson has lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Commission, fighting against what she claims is an unfair dismissal.

At times nearing tears, Ms Williamson said she believed her dismissal was unfair because her political opinion had nothing to do with her work.

“You can’t terminate a position based on political opinion,” she said.

“It’s really clear that the political opinion I was expressing on my personal Twitter account had nothing to do with my job, and everything to do with my personal experience.”

She said she felt the need to post her opinions on social media during the public debate over abortion services in Tasmania in January of this year, when the last private provider of the termination services closed, as she felt it important to restore the services in the state.

“There was a lot of trust in this process,” she said.

Upper House member calls for inquiry

MLC member for Murchison Ruth Forrest wants an inquiry into the Government’s role in Ms Williamson’s sacking.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson has already said the Government was not responsible for decisions made by Cricket Australia.

Mr Ferguson said the Government had not discussed any private material “that wasn’t already in the public domain” with Cricket Australia.

Ms Forrest described Ms Williamson as a “brave woman”.

“It’s just disgraceful that her reputation is being dragged through the mud over a personal experience she dared to share,” she said.

“The Government’s and Cricket Australia’s actions continue the shaming and stigmatisation of women, regarding their sexual and reproductive health.”

‘Stressful debate’ at a difficult time

Ms Williamson had to travel to Victoria for an abortion.

“I think when you’re sharing your deepest thoughts, and how you feel, and how dark it can get, or how lonely or afraid — I’m an educated woman with the financial means to do what I did, and I just thought there were a lot of voices in Tasmania that didn’t have that access,” she said.

“I was also pregnant at that time, and I was making a decision about a termination right then and there.

“I’d be watching the news or looking at Twitter, and hearing federal and state ministers telling me what’s available, and it was not what I was experiencing at all. I felt invisible.

“There was no personal story or evidence to put colour or light or feelings to a really important issue and instead it was black and white writing, and language that was hard to swallow.

“It was really confronting to hear the language being used by the Government — they were using words like ‘abortion on demand’ and ‘hospitals are there for saving lives’, and this language just really didn’t match with what was needed.”

She said she believed the decision over her dismissal had a lot of input from both Cricket Tasmania and Cricket Australia.

“I believe that they felt that by me expressing my views, my political views and my experiences on this particular issue, that I’d compromised my relationship with Government,” she said.

She claimed the social media policy cited as the reason for her dismissal did not say anything about her personal opinions.

“The social media policy allows you to talk about personal matters and issues. It’s very much focused on if I were to say negative things about cricket or cricketers or colleagues,” she said.

“So I felt that my surgical termination and my situation and political opinion had nothing to do with being able to look at who to invite to a cricket match, or how to collaborate on important cricket matters or issues.”

Topics:

cricket,

government-and-politics,

health,

abortion,

sport,

tas

First posted

July 31, 2018 12:04:02





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