Anonymous Twitter publications critical of Government policy – Termination was reasonable conduct

A seven-member High Court unanimously held in Comcare v Banerji [2019] HCA 23 that the dismissal of a government employee for publications (9000 anonymous tweets on her ‘LaLegale’ Twitter account between 2006 and 20012) which were critical of Government policy did violate provisions in the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct, including: “an APS employee must at all times behave in a way that upholds the APS Values and the integrity and good reputation of the APS.”  Ms Banerji’s termination was held to be reasonable administrative action taken in a reasonable manner in respect of her employment.  The High Court dismissed her claim for compensation and her argument that her conduct was protected by the constitutional implied freedom of political communication. Kiefel CJ, Bell, Keane and Nettle JJ held:

"As has been emphasised by this court repeatedly ... the implied freedom of political communication is not a personal right of free speech."

Nigel Wilson