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Whistleblower Nurse Fights Queensland Health Over Right To Speak To Media

Whistleblower nurse fights Queensland Health over right to speak to media

A whistleblower nurse wants an injunction to stop Queensland Health sacking her for speaking to the media.

The nurse argues as a union delegate, she is entitled to make public comments on behalf of her members. 

Furthermore, she claims she has a legal human right to speak to the media about nursing training standards.

The Industrial Relations Commission is considering the application.

If successful, a “show cause” process currently underway will be stopped.

Whistleblower nurse protected by new laws

Margaret Gilbert is a senior nurse manager with 40-years experience.

She spoke to The Sunday Mail as a Nurses’ Professional Association of Queensland (NPAQ) delegate.

The NPAQ is a rival union to the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union (QNMU).

As a result of the newspaper article, Queensland Health issued Gilbert a “show-cause” Notice.

The Notice alleged a number of breaches, including of the department’s media policy.

Consequently, Worker Law applied for an injunction on behalf of Gilbert to stop the show cause process and prevent Queensland Health sacking her.

New Human Rights laws

Worker Law argues Gilbert has a legal right to represent the NPAQ under existing IR legislation.

Additionally, it claims her right to freedom of expression and freedom of association is protected under the state’s new human rights laws.

Miles Heffernan, spokesperson for Worker Law, says:

“Human Rights Act for Queensland only came into proper effect on 1 January 2020 and may have the unintended consequences of greatly expanding smaller unions to compete with the major unions.

“In other words, this is a good thing and is a human right.

“We believe Queensland Health has treated Ms Gilbert unfairly, and furthermore, we believe the state government has contravened its own human rights laws.”

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