The chief of political staff received a formal warning from her boss about potentially endangering fellow passengers after she boarded a plane while contracting Covid-19, a court heard.
New details of an alleged workplace dispute between federal political employee Sally Roeg and independent deputy from Koyeong Dr Monique Ryan have emerged in documents first shown in federal court on Friday.
Rogge appeared in Melbourne federal court on Friday for an urgent motion asking the court to prevent her employment being terminated in what is seen as a potentially landmark “test case”.
The court heard Roegge tested positive for Covid while working with Dr Ryan at Parliament House in Canberra in November 2022.
Dr Ryan says Ms Ragg then endangered the passengers by boarding the flight back to Melbourne, according to an affidavit.
Political staffer Sally Roeg (pictured) boarded a plane while contracting COVID-19 last November, the court heard Friday.
She added that she took the incident very seriously and did not believe any doctor would advise someone with Covid to fly.
“Ms. Rogge did not accept the seriousness of what she did,” said Dr. Ryan’s affidavit.
Pediatric neurologist Dr Ryan famously reprimanded the vast majority of opposition MPs for not wearing clothes in Parliament last August.
Ms. Roeg took a stressful leave after falling out with Dr. Ryan and has not returned to work since.
But she is still technically employed by the MP, who ousted then-Treasurer Josh Frydenberg from his seat last May as one of Teal’s independents.
Mr. Rogge’s lawyers argued their client had medical advice to go home before Judge Debra Mortimer indicated she did not recommend boarding.
“You can’t hide from that,” she told the court.
There is no email [advising her to board a flight]”.
An affidavit submitted to the court by Ms. Rogge also alleged that Dr. Ryan had told her, “I want to be Prime Minister one day.”
“You don’t understand, I need to be the best, that’s older than Kooyong.
“I want to be prime minister one day, and I want to know that my staff is ready to work hard for me.”
The MP for Tale Monique Ryan (pictured last month) told the court she had warned her political staff that she could endanger other passengers
Ms. Roeg launched an unfair dismissal suit against Dr. Ryan and the Commonwealth in January, claiming she was threatened with dismissal for refusing to work unreasonable hours.
Dr. Ryan told the court that Ms. Roeg resigned from her position of her own volition, but the employee’s attorney told the court that she pushed or prompted the resignation.
Ms. Roeg alleged in court documents that she would work 70 to 80 hours a week for Dr. Ryan, including working two days during the weekend, writing speeches and other tasks.
She alleged that Dr. Ryan asked her to do more by doing community engagement work, including managing volunteers, projects and events in the Koyeong Constituency in Parliament.
Ms. Rogge said in the affidavit that Dr. Ryan’s tone and facial expressions were extremely angry when issues were raised about Ms. Rogge not performing certain duties due to an allegedly high workload.
The attorney is fighting the case and has dismissed Roeg’s allegations of hostility and tension in the workplace.
A Melbourne Federal Court judge said on Friday that Sally Rogg’s (left) desire to continue working for veteran MP Monique Ryan (right) may simply be impractical.
Rogge’s attorney, Angel Aleksoff, said his client was working as a consultant, not specifically as chief of staff, and was paid $136,000 a year plus $30,000 in parliamentary allowances.
“I can’t do this community engagement work,” Ms. Roeg was plainly saying. “I don’t want you to work any harder,” Dr. Ryan told the court.
Ordinary human experience tells us that a salary of $130,000 with a raise of up to $30,000 does not justify someone working more than 70 hours a week, week in, week out.
“This has test case written all over it.”
He said Ms. Rogge is ready to return to work as an advisor to Dr. Ryan, handling politics and media work, as the dispute continues through the courts.
However, Justice Mortimer said this may be impractical, given the personal working relationship MPs have with staff.
“It seems to me that what the applicant is claiming is to be supervised by the court or is simply impractical,” she said.
The hearing continues.
Sally Roeg (pictured with her attorney) launched an unfair dismissal lawsuit against Dr Monique Ryan and the Commonwealth in January