Melbourne, Feb.26 : A dumped female Australian journalist has filed a 560,000 American dollar suit against the Nine Network television channel for discussing female journalists as "sex objects".
Christine Spiteri submitted documents with the Federal Court yesterday that revealed the network's head of news, John Westacott allegedly told female journalists: "To make it in this game, women have to be f...able."
According to news.com.au, Spiteri, 40, was told while on maternity leave her contract, which expires next month, would not be renewed.
She lodged a complaint last December with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, alleging she was the victim of discrimination on the grounds of sex, race and her parental responsibilities.
She also began action in the Federal Court, claiming Nine engaged in deceptive or misleading conduct in breach of the Trade Practices Act.
The Los Angeles correspondent is pursuing damages of 522,497 dollars or about two years' salary. Nine has a month to file a defence to the claims.
Spiteri, a Nine reporter since 1994, says she was told she was "one of the stars of the network".
However, she says after she accepted a position presenting Nightline, it was offered to Michael Usher.
In the court documents Spiteri, who gave birth to son Ethan last March, outlines allegations of sex discrimination, including remarks allegedly made by Westacott.
Spiteri alleges that, while discussing her future with Westacott, he told her: "You should work for SBS, you certainly have the name for it."