Two of Senator Jacqui Lambie’s erstwhile staffers person been ordered to wage the commonwealth authorities astir $100,000 for their unreasonable conduct successful an unfair dismissal proceedings successful which a justice recovered they attempted to smear the senator.
Ex-chief of unit Rob Messenger and his wife, Fern, who managed the senator’s offices, were sacked for alleged serious misconduct successful 2017 aft Messenger sent a missive to the premier curate astir alleged inappropriate workplace behaviour.
After being fired, they launched unfair dismissal claims against Lambie successful the national court.
The Messengers represented themselves successful the case, which took 5 years to resolve. Justice John Snaden dismissed their claims successful June 2022.
The commonwealth government’s attendance implicit the 16-day proceedings outgo it astir $200,0000, and it applied to the tribunal to person the Messengers wage their costs.
The Messengers filed much than 1,000 pages of unnecessary grounds successful 2019, a large bulk of which was irrelevant, the tribunal found.
The tribunal was besides asked by the Messengers to contented subpoenas to a ample fig of imaginable witnesses who had nary transportation with the case, which added to the commonwealth’s ineligible costs.
The authorities claimed it was unreasonable for the Messengers to person spent truthful overmuch clip adducing “irrelevant oregon scandalous” grounds and said they utilized the proceedings arsenic a “broad-ranging judicial enquiry into” Lambie’s quality oregon proceedings by media.
Snaden recovered the Messengers’ behaviour during the lawsuit was unreasonable and ordered each of them wage the commonwealth $47,300.
“I judge that the proceedings was extended unreasonably by the Messengers’ insistence connected exploring matters that bore nary transportation with thing that they had pleaded,” helium wrote successful a judgement connected Wednesday.
“Self-represented litigants are not astatine liberty to discarded their opponents’ (and the court’s) clip by requiring that they sift done and see – and, arsenic here, reason – acres of irrelevant and scandalous material.”
Witnesses subpoenaed by the Messengers included elder governmental figures, journalists and members of Lambie’s family.
The justice said their beingness was sought astatine proceedings to “smear” the senator.
Lambie’s exertion for costs was dismissed, arsenic Snaden recovered the Messengers’ rejection of her connection of six weeks’ wage to resoluteness the lawsuit was not unreasonable.