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What About The Religious Public Servant?

Public servant, Michaela Banerji, was sacked for criticising government policy even though she did it under a pseudonym. In the past week, the High Court has ruled that the sacking was correct because the public service needs to be apolitical.

Of course, I immediately thought of Israel Folau. Not in a sinful way, but I wondered if this had any implications for his case, but before I could fully form my thoughts a friend told me that the cases were entirely different, because this was to do with people working for the government and their need to be seen to have no opinion about government policy.

“So does that mean that they can’t be supportive of government policy either?”

“Well,” said my intelligent friend, “I suppose it does, but what government would sack someone for supporting their policy.”

“They wouldn’t, but what if there’s a change of government? Remember how Tony Abbott sacked Martin Parkinson because he implemented government policy? I mean, are we going to have public servants saying that they can’t write press releases that are positive about government policies because it looks like they are taking a political stand?”

I was told that I was taking things to an absurd level, which made me wonder if I should join the Liberal Party because clearly I’m a potential minister.

Anyway, I decided not to pursue the point with my friend because he has a tendency to get frustrated by what he considers my stupid questions. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about Israel Folau and the whole idea of legislation to enshrine religious freedom.

So let’s imagine that they get some sort of legislation that protects my religious freedoms. And while we’re imagining that, let’s imagine that I’m a Commonwealth public servant who worships at Father Rod Bower’s church and I take my conduit to God very, very seriously and I feel the need to tweet:

Scott Morrison is going to Hell over his treatment of asylum seekers!!

Does the religious freedom legislation trump the public service legislation? Can I argue that even though I have no political freedom of speech, I do have a religous freedom of speech which allows me to denigrate the government in a spiritual, but stil apolitical way?

Remembering A. Bolt keeps referring to the Green Religion, could that be used as evidence in a court case where someone is trying to argue freedom of religion to justify their attack on the government for their love affair with coal?

Love affair? No, that’s not quite right. When I think about the way they all handled that lump of coal that Scottie passed around, it seems more like a fetish…

Ok, I’m sure that Scottie and his mates would argue that some religions are too political and any religion that has a view that they disagree with, isn’t a religion but a political stand… Still, it is really hard to right legislation that asserts only religions that never disagree with anything that a Coalition government proposes are valid.

Yeah, all I can do is plead with people to stop asking the question: How bad can this government get? I mean, we all read it as a rhetorical question… They seem to think it’s a request to show us!

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  1. Aortic

    Rossleigh, they demonstrate their sheer incompetence on a daily basis. Commissioner Hayne called it correctly when he said people have lost all confidence in politicians and there is no one, particularly on the government side, that I can see to come up with the vision needed to right the on going wrongs that have beset us for so long. Take a leaf from Prime Minister Ardern and Premier Andrews on the vision thing and get your thinking out of the political survival ethos and provide for the common good. LNP went to the election with no policies and won and have continued in the same vein. Time for a Mark Dreyfus perhaps as Albo, with all his good intent I don’t think is going to cut through.

  2. Wam

    When you discuss (laughable in context) with those friends who voted for scummo, you find they consider the last 6 years as a success in stopping the boats, punishing the dole bludgers, creating jobs and rescuing the economy from labor.
    They consider everything you say as lefty bullshit. They loathe the loonies with a passion and think Pauline speaks openly and honestly about the dangers of Islam and immigration.
    These are workers and their women. Most of whom benefit under labor but think they do better under the lnp because they see the layer under them doing worse..
    The rich men and women just cannot bear the thought of welfare nothing should be free they should be made to work.
    The top man with these attitudes, and extras like why should everyone get the NBN these simpletons will never use it.and, for good measure, Aborigines get too much money and resources. He got $5m from dad and more from mum.
    They are all climate change is natural people who consider the leftist plot against commerce. Thanks bobby for the last 10 years of neglect still 3 years to go.
    We could be lucky and see NZ glaciers do a Greenland this summer and drown a couple of islands. Where will those refugees go??

  3. Peter F

    @Wam – Well, we wouldn’t want those Islanders coming here by boat, would we ! ! ! ! Unless, of course, they came to cut sugar cane., as in our glorious past.

  4. John Lord

    And I thought Aussie rules was a religion.

  5. New England Cocky

    “Scott Morrison is going to Hell over his treatment of asylum seekers!!”

    Probably. However, Hell is a 16th century religious idea so that may save him because it is not in the much edited 1607 King James Bible.

    “So let’s imagine that they get some sort of legislation that protects my religious freedoms.”

    Please Mr Rossleigh; my father is a member of the Church of Political Skepticism that meets every three years to pray to God that the politicians elected by Australian voters will be better than their predecessors. He worries that his religion will be proscribed because their catechism states that Australian Parliaments represent the best interests of Australian voters. Should I advise him to ignore the teachings of his church?

  6. wam

    Haha, Peter, remembering Dutton’s raucous laughter at the pacific island situation, I have no doubt outrigger canoes and rafts count as ‘boats’?
    When we were spending millions saving bullimore in 1997, a couple of Indonesian fisherman had survived a cyclone and drifted for days without water or food before landing on shore totally exhausted. There was no praise nor congratulations on their survival. Instead, they were immediately gaoled as illegal immigrants.
    So the Pacific Islanders would be similarly treated or accommodated in the camps?
    Nearly had a heart attack this morning when someone on the ABC described Andrew Hastie as a future PM. If ever a politician deserved questioning on his beliefs it is that twit.

  7. Terence Mills

    Gosh ! I’m going to miss the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) !

    I’m going to miss hearing Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin and Craig Kelly and some loud mouthed Fox News commentators who make their living by calling Hillary Clinton names – yes they are still doing that.

    I’m going to miss the star act, Nigel farage, evidently Kym Kardashian was too expensive.

    Perhaps I’ll be able to catch up with the happenings on Sky-after-Dark who have been all over CPAC like a cheap-suit.

    Why can’t I make CPAC after all there are plenty of available seats ? Because my wife wants to go grocery shopping and it’s a question of priorities.

  8. wam

    Beauty, waltz of the cuckoo!!
    Coverts Playing At Christians had the lying rodent speaking and, with the mute on, he looks so deliciously awful.

    ps if Farage cost nothing it was too expensive.

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