Senator Jacqui Lambie’s notorious feedback about liking males who’re wealthy, silent and have “a package deal between their legs” had been the place to begin of her alleged workplace misconduct, together with office bullying, fixed profanity, sexual references and a glib perspective to security, her former high staffer has instructed a courtroom.
The sudden remarks in mid-2014 got here three weeks after Ms Lambie had entered parliament, and catapulted the brand new Tasmanian senator into the highlight.
Her chief of workers on the time, Rob Messenger, didn’t discover them humorous, the Federal Court docket heard on Tuesday.
He and his spouse, Fern Messenger, who additionally labored for Ms Lambie, have taken the senator and the Commonwealth to courtroom for unfair dismissal.
They allege they had been sacked in 2017 as reprisal for his or her quite a few complaints about Ms Lambie’s conduct.
The Messengers declare her inappropriate workplace behaviour included swearing, sexual references, consuming alcohol, not taking security issues significantly and anticipating unreasonable workloads from workers.
Ms Lambie, now a Senate powerbroker, is defending the proceedings and anticipated to provide proof in the course of the two-week listening to.
It began with the radio phase on July 22, 2014, Mr Messenger instructed the courtroom.
Throughout the interview with Kim and Dave on Coronary heart FM, Ms Lambie mentioned her preferrred man “should have heaps of money they usually’ve acquired to have a package deal between their legs, let’s be trustworthy … and I don’t want them to talk.”
She then requested a listener who had referred to as in: “Are you well-hung?”
Mr Messenger instructed the courtroom: “She made sensational feedback about her sex life and her private hygiene. That’s most likely the nicest manner of placing it.”
After the feedback, Ms Lambie’s workplace workers confronted a deluge of abusive calls from “offended Tasmanians”, he instructed the courtroom.
Mr Messenger mentioned he instructed Ms Lambie the feedback had been an issue for workers and steered she apologise, however she instructed him she was “proud” of her feedback and wouldn’t retract them.
“It was mainly from that time onwards the place Senator Lambie began exhibiting wild temper behaviours that affected myself, my spouse, and different workers,” he mentioned.
He made complaints to the senator on a each day or weekly foundation after that incident, he claims.
Mr Messenger additionally accused Ms Lambie and the Commonwealth of delivering a “negligent” response to the Burnie voters workplace after they acquired a focused demise menace that referenced Islamic State and gave the impression to be a response to the senator’s feedback on Islam.
Requires bulletproof glass and a “correctly functioning” door went unheeded, leaving workers within the workplace “very fearful”, Mr Messenger claims.
“One of many feedback the workers made that resonated with me was that we had been like sitting geese,” he mentioned.
“I feel we joked about it in a darkish humour kind of manner, that one shot might take out 4 folks due to the seating preparations.”
He instructed the courtroom he felt unsafe and like Ms Lambie’s “de facto bodyguard” throughout a go to to a Melbourne highschool through which college students grew to become “tense, offended and abusive” in the course of the senator’s speech.
Mr Messenger claims he and his spouse finally wrote to then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2017 following an “completely terrifying” altercation Ms Messenger had with Ms Lambie.
Ms Messenger cried as her husband recounted the incident in the course of the distant listening to.
“We felt that the one possibility left to us to make sure that our complaints had been correctly actioned was to organize a doc that in a really detailed method knowledgeable the prime minister and different applicable excessive workplace holders of Australia that there was some critical points happening,” he mentioned.
The couple are representing themselves in courtroom.
Mr Messenger was reminded on a number of events by Justice John Snaden to testify concerning the complaints he made about Ms Lambie, not about her alleged behaviour.
“I’m in 100 states of confusion for the time being about what it’s you say you complained about and when,“ the decide mentioned at one level.
The distant listening to was initially marred by technical difficulties.
Mr Messenger instructed Justice Snaden he and his spouse had skilled an influence outage at their residence and had been counting on a generator, which can run out of gasoline.
At one level the couple needed to maintain up a bit of paper that mentioned “TRYING TO UNMUTE” on it to the digital camera.
The listening to continues.