EXCLUSIVE: The “MeToo vigilante” Pierce Field has stood by his decision to confront former Liberal MP Craig Laundy over sexual misconduct allegations following a recent ruling by the Fair Work Commission. The Commission found that Field’s dismissal by then-Labor Senator Kristina Keneally following a phone call from Laundy was unnecessarily harsh, and awarded him compensation. Nour Ahmad reports.
Former Labor senator and unsuccessful candidate for the Sydney seat of Fowler, Kristina Keneally, has suffered yet another loss after a Fair Work Commissioner ruled that her decision to sack her staffer Pierce Field via email was “unnecessarily harsh.”
Mr Field, who has been dubbed a “MeToo vigilante” by the government, was fired from his role as an Electorate Officer in October last year. He was fired for texting billionaire pub bloke and former Liberal MP Craig Laundy over Laundy’s alleged sexual misconduct committed against former NSW Liberal candidate Natalie Baini. Mr Field is now a freelance journalist with True Crime News Weekly.
These allegations, which had been outlined in letters written by Ms Baini herself, included that Laundy lied about his marital status to Ms Baini for two years to deceive her into starting a relationship with him. In these same letters, Ms Baini wrote that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Chief of Staff, Yaron Finkelstein, had acted in a sexually inappropriate manner to her.
Finkelstein was so defensive over the allegations that he even sent lawyers to threaten True Crime News Weekly with defamation for conducting an investigation into the matter late last year.
The never-ending saga of powerful and well-connected politicians exercising their power over those more vulnerable than them was a present theme at the recent Fair Work Commission hearing.
Former Liberal MP Craig Laundy, who allegedly lied about separating from his wife to Natalie Baini and sought to limit her political career as payback after she ended the relationship (Image: Supplied / Twitter)
Yaron Finkelstein, who is alleged to have acted in a “sexually inappropriate” manner to Ms Baini after visiting her home twice (Image : Supplied / LinkedIn)
On Friday, 24 June, the Fair Work Commission found that Mr Field messaging Laundy over the allegations was a valid reason for dismissal but also acknowledged that Field was denied natural justice by not being given an opportunity to explain his actions.
This is because, despite Mr Field working there for 18 months, Keneally fired him by email less than five hours after he had sent his last text to Laundy and without allowing for workplace investigations to take place.
In fact, in a termination letter, Keneally cited the text messages as the reason behind the sacking, stating that she had seen the messages and considered Mr Field’s actions to be serious misconduct in his role.
RELATED: KENEALLY’S DIRTY LIBERAL LAUNDY! Sacked Labor adviser Pierce Field speaks out over text messages to billionaire Liberal pub bloke Craig Laundy that Senator Kristina Keneally fired him for as ScoMo’s right-hand man Yaron Finkelstein threatens to sue True Crime over allegations of ‘sexual inappropriateness.’
Mr Field was granted $1,685 in compensation for two week’s worth of lost wages, reduced by 50% as there was “established misconduct.”
This decision follows a hearing against the Department of Finance that occurred in Sydney on Wednesday, 27 April. During the Keneally-less hearing, Commissioner Ian Cambridge questioned why the wealthy Senator found Field’s conduct to be unacceptable.
Commissioner Ian Cambridge, who came to the conclusion that Keneally denied Field natural justice (Image: Supplied / The Australian)
“Isn’t [a man taking up a “Me Too” defence of a woman] something that would be championed by someone like Kristina Keneally?” he asked.
In response, Keneally’s lawyer Mr Rolland Hassall of Sparke Helmore Lawyers, argued that Field’s motives were honourable but that his methods reflected poorly on his employer.
“Mr Laundy … had to deal with, for want of a better word, a vigilante approaching him and saying “I’m out to take this action against you,” Mr Hassall said.
When True Crime News Weekly contacted Sparke Helmore Lawyers for comment they declined to do so.
Pierce Field, who faced a horrible experience after being dismissed by Keneally in October of last year (Image: Supplied)
Pierce Field’s brave decision to try to help Ms Baini, who is also Field’s good friend, resulted in his employer Keneally showing her true colours.
Mr Field told True Crime News Weekly that his unfair dismissal affected him deeply, causing him to endure the worst nine months he had since he was a child.
“I was fired for standing up to someone with a very similar matter to something I had to deal with as a 13 year old,” he said.
“To be treated the way I was, to wake up and read that I’m under federal investigation and no one wanted to help in the Labor party, it was really tough.”
Pierce Field’s text messages to Craig Laundy that left Kristina Keneally scrambling to take action (Image: Supplied)
Mr Field spoke of how he is still suffering from the emotional and financial impacts of the sacking to this day and reiterated the Commissioner’s judgment that he should have had a chance to explain himself.
“I lost a lot of friends, a lot of relationships have been damaged and financially I’m in a mess. Because someone couldn’t be bothered giving me a call and asking for my side of the story,” he said.
When asked what his thoughts were on “misconduct” claims, the Former Labor adviser noted that there was a difference between the Commission ruling that he had committed misconduct and actually being guilty of misconduct.
RELATED: WITNESS: Billionaire pub bloke & former Liberal MP Craig Laundy engaged in “coercive control, domestic violence, and stalking”
“The Fair Work Commission doesn’t judge whether I committed misconduct or not, it judges whether my employer believed that it had a reasonable analysis that I had done so,” he said.
“The decision clearly states the call to Craig had damaged the relationship between Keneally and I.”
The Former Labor adviser then stood by his decision to confront Mr Laundy, regardless of any affect it might have had Keneally’s reputation.
Speaking of Kristina Keneally’s distinguished reputation, Keneally, along with Labor senators Penny Wong and Katy Gallagher were accused of ostracising and bullying Labor senator Kimberley Kitching, who died in early March of a suspected heart attack, aged 52. Kitching had reportedly referred to the three as the “mean girls,” a term that many media outlets ran with.
In an ironic twist, Katy Gallagher is now a Minister for Women, Minister for Finance and Minister for Public Service.
Keneally also faced scrutiny in the recent federal election when she was parachuted into the Sydney seat of Fowler, taking the opportunity away from an actual local – Vietnamese lawyer Tu Le. Keneally ended up losing against Independent candidate Dai Le, making it the first time Labor had lost the seat since its creation.
True Crime News Weekly contacted Independent candidate Dai Le for her thoughts on the recent ruling but she did not wish to comment, citing it is a private matter between Keneally and her former staffer.
Other than the ‘mean girls’ and election controversy, there was the issue of Keneally’s cop son Daniel Keneally lying about innocent man Luke Brett Moore making death threats to police.
Luke Brett Moore, who handed out flyers at the recent federal election dissuading Fowler locals from voting for Keneally (Image: Supplied)
Her son’s actions resulted in Mr Moore spending three weeks in solitary confinement, yet Keneally and her businessman husband Ben Keneally hired defamation lawyers to threaten True Crime News Weekly for breaking the news in October last year.
RELATED: KRISTINA KENEALLY’S CORRUPT SON LIED ABOUT DEATH THREATS & GOT INNOCENT MAN WRONGLY JAILED, JUDGE SAYS! Constable Daniel Keneally set to cost NSW Police HUGE compensation payout after man spent 3 weeks in solitary confinement following Fixated Persons Unit raid.
When speaking to TCNW, Field stated that Keneally is one of those politicians that are notorious for treating their staff poorly.
“She has engaged in bullying, misconduct, and the covering up of sexual harassment. It’s a systemic issue on both sides of politics. Neither have the guts or capability to deal with it,” he said.
“All I can say is thank god for Independents for getting elected and wanting to clean the place up because the Labor Party cannot walk and chew gum at the same time, they’re incapable.”
At the hearing, Mr Field was represented by Adero Law lawyer Tom Hakkinen.
Mr Hakkinen told True Crime News Weekly that Keneally showed where her sympathies lied by immediately and without any due processes terminating Mr Field’s employment.
He revealed that he took the case because it was such a clear case of injustice.
“It was clearly procedurally unfair if nothing else,” he began.
The lawyer also addressed Mr Field’s text messaging misconduct claims, stating the judgment set somewhat of a precedent for staffers.
“I think the Commissioner did consider Pierce’s conduct as misconduct but I think it was largely his reasoning and it’s quite interesting in that respect.”
“The Commissioner disagreed that this was ‘out of hours’ conduct … as far as the Commissioner is concerned, for political staffers, there’s not much freedom – your job is your life,” he said.
Senator Keneally’s chief of staff Chris Owens alleged in an affidavit that it was agreed upon not to seek Field’s response before taking action as her reputation would be damaged if she did not immediately demonstrate her disapproval of Mr Field’s actions.
Kristina Keneally’s Chief of Staff Chris Owens, who wrote the affidavit that sought to explain why Keneally took immediate action (Image: Supplied / LinkedIn)
Tom Hakkinen: Lawyer who took on the case and won (Image: Supplied)
Mr Hakkinen referred to this as “astonishing” since Labor and Liberal are meant to be on the other side of politics.
“This indicates just how strong the sense of feeling between other members of parliament and former members of parliament,” he said.
When asked if he believed other politicians would take this case as an opportunity to follow in Keneally’s footsteps, Mr Hakkinen said he did not believe so.
“Keneally took this action to defend the reputation of a former MP over and above any ordinary due process … the Commissioner’s ruling shows it was the wrong decision,” he said.
It is also unusual for cases like this to reach a hearing at the FWC.
According to the FWC 2021-2022 Annual Report, there were 13,281 claims of unfair dismissal made in 2021-2022. Of these, 10,522 claims were heard at conciliation conferences in a median of 21 days. The majority of conciliations are conducted by telephone.
“The Commission are quite efficient at mediating and resolving these matters so very few actually go to the hearing,” Mr Hakkinen said.
Mr Field made it known that he was satisfied with his lawyer’s performance at the hearing.
“Thank God I have a brilliant lawyer,” he told TCNW happily.
In terms of the future, Mr Field said that he was glad the hearing was over and a decision made in his favour but that there was still much to be done.
“We still have a way to go in terms of civil action and other options at clearing my name which is really important.”
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