Teal MP Monique Ryan’s chief of staff will not keep job


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Monique Ryan’s chief of staff will not be able to work for the independent MP while she sues her, after a judge dismissed her attempts to avoid termination.

Political staffer Sally Rugg had applied to the Federal Court for an urgent injunction to stop the teal MP from ending her employment, after lawyers allege she pushed her into resigning.

She wanted to continue working as an adviser, undertaking policy and media work for the federal MP for Kooyong.

However, Justice Debra Mortimer dismissed her interlocutory application on Tuesday morning.

“There is no real working relationship left between Ms Rugg and Dr Ryan, and it is unlikely to be restored during the trial process,” Justice Mortimer said in her judgment.

“I am far from persuaded Ms Rugg really wants to go back to work supporting and assisting Dr Ryan.

“I do not consider the situation is likely to be tolerable, let alone productive and workable, for either of them.”

She ordered for a timetable to be agreed to by both parties for when the matter will head to trial, and said a case management hearing should be held before March 20.

Justice Mortimer stressed that Tuesday’s ruling did not have any reflection on Ms Rugg’s broader legal case.

Ms Rugg has lodged an unfair dismissal claim against the MP and the Commonwealth, which includes allegations she was asked to work more than 70 hours a week on a salary of $166,000.

At a hearing on Friday, Dr Ryan and the Commonwealth both argued against Ms Rugg keeping her job, saying their relationship had broken down and likening the legal fight to “trench warfare”.

The MP disputes Ms Rugg’s claims that she dismissed her, effective January 31, after she refused to work unreasonable hours for the member for Kooyong.

Ms Rugg is seeking compensation and pecuniary penalties from both parties, and has added serious contraventions of the Fair Work Act against the Commonwealth to her dispute.

Neither Ms Rugg nor Dr Ryan were in court on Tuesday.

-with AAP

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