An ANU student has alleged he was forced to resign from his job after he heckled Opposition Leader Tony Abbott during an event held at a local business last week.
Steven Bailey, 28, approached Mr Abbott during a workplace visit to CRT Building Products, accusing him of not caring about low-income earners and saying he had contempt for the Australian Parliament and therefore the Australian people.
Mr Bailey, who has been working at the building supply company for about six months, said he was forced to resign the next day after being told what he did was ''wrong'' and ''selfish''.
But managing director of the company Tim Wilson said Mr Bailey resigned because he wanted to change his work hours from five days a week to four.
''I approached him after his little outburst and I said that is not an appropriate way to treat a guest at our establishment, no matter who the guest is or what your opinion of them is, it's not really appropriate,'' Mr Wilson said.
''He had no real comment so I told him to go back to work. He said, 'I can't work five days a week. I can only work four' and I said, 'We've been through this - it's a five-day-a-week job and that is the way it is.''
Mr Bailey said he was told he could not work if he did not work five days a week, despite being contracted to work for four.
A spokesman for Mr Abbott referred The Canberra Times last night to what the Opposition Leader said at the business last Thursday.
''I accept that you come to a business with 50 or 60 employees and maybe one or two of them, maybe more than one or two of them, won't agree with you,'' Mr Abbott said. ''But I was certainly very pleased with the reception I got here and people are entitled to take a different view.''
''This is a free speech employer and they appreciate that their employees have their own political opinions and [they are] perfectly free to express them.''
Mr Bailey said it was no coincidence he was forced to resign the day after voicing his opinions to Mr Abbott. He believed the incident was a catalyst for the termination of his employment.
''He [Mr Abbott] only has to walk into a workplace and someone loses their job - imagine what he would do as prime minister.''