Australian woman allegedly fired over abortion tweets

Angela Williamson says her former employer fired her for expressing controversial political opinions across social media.
By: | August 6, 2018

An Australian woman has taken legal action against her former employer, who she says fired her for tweeting about abortion legislation.

During her employment with Cricket Australia, Williamson made several tweets criticising a recent legal decision in her home state of Tasmania, which mandated that public hospitals would not be allowed to provide abortions.

Williamson spoke from a personal perspective – she herself had to take time off work to travel to Melbourne to receive the procedure, because Tasmania’s only abortion clinic closed in February this year.

“I flew to Melbourne, alone and scared. I was away from my partner and kids and had to take a week off work, so the trip ended up costing me thousands. I wouldn’t have had to do this if abortion was accessible in Tasmania like it is every other state,” wrote Williamson in a petition against her termination.

“On my way home on the plane I was so upset I decided I couldn’t stay silent about this injustice. I took to Twitter — on a personal account — describing the turmoil I went through as a “disgrace”.

“Then, because I spoke up for women across Tasmania, Cricket Australia fired me,” she added.

Williamson is taking her case to Australia’s Fair Work Commission, with the claim that Cricket Australia breached the country’s Fair Work Act by firing her.

“She lost her job and was obviously shocked by that,” said Williamson’s lawyer. “It raises an important public issue around how employers should not sack their employees in circumstances where they have expressed a political opinion.”

“Cricket Australia respects an individual’s right to their opinion. However, it expects that employees will refrain from making offensive comments that contravene the organisation’s social media policy,” said a spokesperson for Cricket Australia.