There's an Australian politician who was forced to resign because she was pregnant.

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off to have their baby, Ms Sanderson has been forced to resign from two Parliamentary committees — all because of one outdated rule.

Amber-Jade Sanderson. (Photo: Facebook)

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.

Related: 12 life lessons you learn during maternity leave.

“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.


“A standing order was drafted and proposed that would have enabled a member to be granted leave from Parliament and by extension a committee, and for that member to be replaced for the period of leave,” Ms Sanderson said.

“This seems like an entirely inoffensive proposition to me and my colleagues.”

But despite months of discussions, the government would not agree to that Parliamentary rule change. Instead, Ms Sanderson was told just three weeks before her due date that she would have to resign, according to

“[R]ather than embracing the opportunity to inch Parliament closer to current community expectations, we have seen months of procrastinating, obfuscating and frankly politicking on an issue that is quite competently and frequently dealt with in the broader community,” Ms Sanderson explained.

Amber-Jade Sanderson was told just three weeks from her due date she would have to resign. (Photo: Facebook)

It’s an outcome that’s not only deeply offensive, but is likely to put women off entering politics.

“That Parliament requires my resignation from a committee is a throwback to the days when married women were not permitted to work,” Ms Sanderson said.

“The harder we continue to make it for women, the harder it will be to attract more to Parliament,” she added on Facebook.

Hopefully, Ms Sanderson will be allowed back on those committees next year. But for now, she has had to leave her job in circumstances we wouldn’t wish on any woman.

We truly hope Ms Sanderson’s powerful speech to Parliament prompts it to take action.

And we applaud Ms Sanderson for standing up for a right all Australian women should have.

Related content: The pregnancy discrimination report we almost can’t believe is real.

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