Lambie sacked Messenger over complaints to PM about her
TASMANIAN Senator Jacqui Lambie sacked chief of staff Rob Messenger after he wrote to the Prime Minister to complain about her behaviour, court documents reveal.
Mr Messenger, who left Senator Lambie's office along with wife Fern in May, has taken the senator to the Federal Court for unfair dismissal.
Mr Messenger is the former LNP and independent member for Burnett.
A statement of claim outlines several complaints were made by Mr Messenger to Senator Lambie and the Prime Minister's office about her conduct.
In March 27 this year, he sent a letter to Malcolm Turnbull, Senate president Stephen Parry and Leader of the House Christopher Pyne raising health and safety issues.
Senator Lambie found out about the correspondence on the same day, saying it represented a breakdown of employer-employee trust, the claim states.
She gave Mr Messenger a deadline of March 29 to outline why his employment shouldn't be terminated.
Mr Messenger sent further complaints to the office of the prime minister before Senator Lambie gave a second ultimatum of May 1.
Mr Messenger then wrote to Senator Lambie saying he was being denied procedural fairness and enough time to respond.
He was sacked two days later for "serious misconduct”.
At the time, Senator Lambie said his dismissal was because he did not agree with the direction she was taking.
The broad statement of claim touches on workplace issues outlined by Mr Messenger, including having to field telephone calls from war veterans without appropriate training or skills.
He said he was working an unreasonable number of hours a week, many outside regular hours.
Mr Messenger worked long periods unpaid prior to being employed as chief of staff, the claim reads.
He lost superannuation and suffered anxiety and distress as a result of his dismissal.
Mr Messenger has previously claimed the industrial dispute with Senator Lambie could have been resolved by confidential mediation.
"However, the Prime Minister's office deliberately leaked our letter to the media on June 2, 2017, and made our private matters public,” he said.
"This illegal leak of our correspondence has caused my family harm.
"It means we will have to take costly public legal action to clear our names and seek justice.”
The AFP looked at Mr Messenger's complaint but found there had been no breach of commonwealth laws.
In June, Senator Lambie's spokesman said Mr Messenger was a disgruntled employee who was lashing out for reasons only he understood.
"He might want to damage Senator Lambie's reputation, but Senator Lambie does not want to damage his. She wishes him good health and good luck into the future,” the spokesman said