Sunday, 17 April 2016

Special Broadcasting Services Corporation (SBS) not trailing clouds of glory on settlement of unfair dismissal dispute

mUmBRELLA, 11 April 2016:

Multicultural broadcaster SBS has reached a confidential settlement with its former sports reporter Scott McIntyre after he launched legal action against the broadcaster claiming it did “not follow due process” when it fired him…..

Asked what he meant by the phrase “vigilantes & hypocrites” Bornstein accused former Communications Minister and now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, News Corp columnist Chris Kenny and former Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson of seeking to “crush” free speech.

“The vigilantes & hypocrites who sought to have Scott sacked and his freedom of speech suppressed after the event included (then Communications Minister) Malcolm Turnbull, (News Corp columnist) Chris Kenny and (Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner) Tim Wilson,” said Bornstein.

“These are people who speak loftily about freedom of speech and when it is inconvenient to them ditch it and try and crush someone whose views they disagree with. They should be ashamed of themselves.”…..

11 April 2016

SBS and Mr McIntyre have now resolved their dispute over the termination of his employment on 26 April 2015.

SBS acknowledges that Mr McIntyre was a well respected sports reporter with SBS for a period spanning over a decade, and SBS is disappointed that it was unable to continue with his services following his Tweets.
Mr McIntyre acknowledges that the views expressed in his Tweets on 25 April 2015 were his views and that they were contentious. Mr McIntyre regrets any attribution of his views to SBS and acknowledges that SBS was drawn into controversy following the expression of his views.


McIntyre v Special Broadcasting Services Corporation [2015] FWC 6768 (1 October 2015) – Fair Work Commission Decision:


[43] In this instance the respondent employer, SBS, has made a challenge to an application for unlawful termination of employment which was taken under s. 773 of the Act. The applicant had made a previous general protections application under s. 365 of the Act. The challenge to the application made by SBS relies upon the purported operation of s. 723 of the Act.
[44] I have concluded that in the particular circumstances of this case, s. 723 of the Act does not operate as a jurisdictional bar to the application, as the applicant is not a person who is entitled to make a general protections court application in relation to the conduct that he complains of. Further, I have decided that exceptional circumstances exist such that the time for the making of the application should be extended and the application permitted to proceed accordingly.
[45] My conclusions have been broadly drawn from a purposive interpretation of the Act cognisant that it is beneficial legislation. In simple terms, I believe that the Act, and s. 723 in particular, should not be interpreted in a manner which would deprive an individual of access to a fair hearing or, as may be euphemistically described, a person’s “day in court”. In the circumstances of this case the applicant does not seek multiple proceedings or remedies but simply seeks to have his day in court.
[46] It is perhaps sadly ironic that many members of the Australian Defence Force lost their lives in the earnest pursuit of the protection of rights and freedoms such as the access to a fair hearing which the applicant is entitled to obtain.
[47] The jurisdictional objection raised by SBS is dismissed, the extension of time for the application to have been made is granted and a certificate shall be issued pursuant to subsection 776 (3) of the Act.


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