Sarah Hanson-Young wins $120,000 defamation award in David Leyonhjelm case

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has won her defamation case against former senator David Leyonhjelm who's been ordered to pay $120,000 in damages.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Source: AAP

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has won her defamation lawsuit against former senator David Leyonhjelm who's been ordered to pay her $120,000 in damages.

Senator Hanson-Young sued her then colleague over comments he made in a press release and in interviews with Sky News, Melbourne radio station 3AW and the ABC's 7.30 program between 28 June and 2 July in 2018.

Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale hugs Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young after a censure motion against Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm.
Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale hugs Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young after a censure motion against Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm. Source: AAP


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In the Federal Court on Monday, Justice Richard White found the material portrayed her as a hypocrite and misandrist, ruling those meanings were defamatory.

He rejected Mr Leyonhjelm 's defences and will consider the issues of costs and interest on 17 December.

Former Senator David Leyonhjelm arrives at the Federal Court in Sydney.
Former Senator David Leyonhjelm arrives at the Federal Court in Sydney. Source: AAP


In the material, the then Liberal Democrat elaborated on his comment to her on the floor of parliament to "stop shagging men" amid a debate on legislation seeking to prevent violence against women.



Senator Hanson-Young said the material portrayed her as a hypocrite and misandrist - in that he stated she used words in parliament that were "tantamount" to claiming all men were rapists but she "nevertheless had sexual relations with them".

The Greens senator told the Federal Court she did not use those words which would be an "absurd" statement.

The defamation ruling coincides with a new survey released by Plan International Australia.

Polling data collated by the charity for girls' equality has found that 90 per cent of girls and young women polled believe female politicians are not treated fairly compared to their male counterparts.

37 per cent of men surveyed agreed with this sentiment.

Plan Chief  Executive Susanne Legena believes Ms Hanson-Young's legal victory is a "watershed moment" in the fight to rid politics of sexism.

“It’s deeply concerning but not surprising that most Australian girls think women politicians aren’t treated equally in this country, given the dreadful sexist behaviour they see in our Parliament,” Ms Legena said.

“We are sorry that Senator Hanson-Young had to relive the awful slurs thrown at her through this process, but the silver lining is that (it)....sends a strong message that sexism must never be tolerated, in the Senate and out in the wider community."



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Published 25 November 2019 at 4:43pm
Source: SBS