10 political reporter Tegan George has expanded her legal claims against the network, stressing that the company has done nothing to stop political editor Peter van Onselen from “tormenting her” through social media.
George (pictured above) initially filed a claim in federal court against the network back in February, accusing van Onselen for harassing and humiliating her in the workplace, with the company doing nothing to improve the situation when she brought these issues to their attention.
She also claimed that she had suffered “hurt, humiliation and distress”, adding that she had been unable to advance in her career at the network as she was forced to undergo treatment because of the situation. Tegan has not worked since June and was recently in hospital.
Her latest accusations, according to The Guardian, state that she had been further abused after her decision to make use of her legal right to take this matter to the federal court, as van Onselen posted a series of provocative tweets that are tied to the case.
George’s legal representative, Maurice Blackburn, stated that van Onselen made a direct reference to George when he posted a tweet back in March replying to a claim that the -now deceased- former senator Kimberley Kitching had singled out several others in the industry, calling them “mean girls”. More specifically, Van Onselen said: “… accusations are not always accurate. Sometimes they say more about who points the finger without actual evidence. Most of us don’t know enough to form any kind of judgement”.
Van Onselen also tweeted a response in a series of tweets regarding a legal case regarding former defence minister Peter Dutton, which George claims that was directly referring to her: “Frivolous misuses of the federal court really do need to be stamped out …”
Her claim also cites van Onselen’s response to a critical tweet from Brittany Higgins: “Your thoughts of if the hospitalised person is backgrounding journalists? Stoking attention. Very genuine question,” said the Network 10 political editor.
According to the legal claim, Van Onselen violated the company’s policies regarding online harassment by posting these tweets and because of this, George was seeking additional aggravated damages.
“Network 10’s management has been unwilling to rein in Mr van Onselen,” Maurice Blackburn’s principal Josh Bornstein said. “He continued to publicly vilify Ms George after she went to court, causing her immense distress.”
From their end, Network 10 expressed its surprise by Maurice Blackburn’s decision to go public with the news of George’s updated legal claims.
“We are astonished that Maurice Blackburn Lawyers is seeking to prosecute these claims through a press release, pre-empting due process of the court and the proper administration of justice,” said a representative of the network. “In its filed defence, Network 10 has previously denied the claims of victimisation and adverse action. Network 10 intends to seek to strike out the new claims of sex discrimination. The court has established a timetable for that action. Network 10 values and supports all employees. Any inference to the contrary is completely false.”
Van Onselen has yet to make any comments regarding the matter.