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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