The Australian politician who was forced to resign because she was pregnant. Yes, really.
Amber-Jade Sanderson is a Western Australian politician.
She’s a Labor member of the WA Parliament’s upper house, the Legislative Council.
She is also pregnant. And while most women can just take maternity leave while they take time off to have their baby, Ms Sanderson has been forced to resign from two Parliamentary committees — all because of one outdated rule.
On Thursday, Ms Sanderson told the state Parliament she was “disappointed” she had to resign from the Public Administration and Uniform Legislation committees, which are made up of Legislative Council members who undertake certain tasks on the Parliament’s behalf.
As she explained, she had to quit because the current Parliamentary rules don’t easily allow committee members to be replaced part-way through an inquiry.
That means a member has to resign in order to be replaced.
Quitting the role carries a financial cost. But just as importantly, appears to discriminate against pregnant women in a way that’s otherwise unheard-of in 21st century Australia.
“I am sad to say that it is with some disappointment and frustration that I take leave of this place to have my baby,” Ms Sanderson said in the statement.
The Member for the East Metropolitan region of WA added that while other Australian workplaces can’t legally force a resign from a position because of her pregnancy, the Parliament hadn’t kept up.
“I am deeply disappointed that this chamber has failed to grasp an opportunity to inch into the twenty-first century,” she continued.
“In the broader community… the requirement of a woman to resign from a position is not only deeply offensive, but also illegal.”
A few social media reactions to Amber-Jade Sanderson’s resignation (post continues after gallery):
If the fact that an Australian politician was forced to resign because of pregnancy seems unbelievable, so does the fact that the Parliament specifically rejected a simple rule change that could have ensured a much happier outcome.
As Ms Sanderson explained in her speech, a rule was drafted back in May that would enable committee members to be easily replaced while they took leave.