Angela Williamson used to work for Cricket Australia (CA) as the manager of public policy and government relations, but she was sacked for tweeting in support of abortion reform in Tasmania. On her own personal Twitter account, she expressed her view on Tasmania’s unacceptable abortion situation. She also spoke confidentially to the Tasmanian government about being one of the first women forced to the mainland to access a surgical abortion after Tasmanian government closed the state’s only clinic. It has been eight months since Tasmania forced women to travel to the mainland to seek such abortions. After that confidential chat, her tweets were combed through, and her employer alerted. Shortly after that, she received her termination notice from Cricket Australia1.
Williamson had referred, on June 13, to the Tasmanian government’s rejection of a motion to re-establish abortion services, and described the Tasmanian Health Minister Michael Ferguson as the “most irresponsible…. gutless and reckless”. In January, she had criticised the government’s position on abortions, calling it “disgraceful”. It was a government staffer who sent this January criticism to CA. However, it was the June criticism that attracted the attention of the state cricket association’s board and they stated that they had lost confidence in her and that her position was untenable2.
As Melanie Tait stated in The Guardian, the real villain is the Tasmanian government, as it has been eight months since Tasmanian women could have an affordable surgical abortion in the state1. It turned out that Williamson is one of a number of women targeted by a former senior staffer of Premier Will Hodgman. The staffer, Martine Haley, who resigned after she was exposed using a fake social media account to troll other women, forwarded Williamson’s tweets to her employer3. There is also an allegation that a member of the Tasmanian government disclosed Williamson’s abortion to Cricket Tasmania. That claim is denied by the Tasmanian government4.
Some time ago Cricket Australia were listed as an Endorsed Employer for Women. It has now been delisted while the Angela Williamson scandal is investigated5. A hearing is scheduled in front of the Fair Work Commission in August. After that, I’d expect there will be a court case and substantial damages awarded against Cricket Australia. Something which would be fair.
Another aspect of this which is interesting, is the fact that when the self-absorbed Andrew Bolt was done for contravening the Racial Discrimination Act, all sorts of right wing nut jobs inside and outside government, came to his defence, pleading the case for his right to free speech. However, when a woman is sacked for engaging in free speech on a topic with little to do with her employment, you hear absolutely nothing from these free speech warriors. This is because it is only conservative speech which is to be free.