Senator Sarah Hanson-Young announced her defamation win against former MP David Leyonhyelm. She will donate her awarded damages of $120,000 to Plan International and the Working Women’s Centre in South Australia.
Senator Hanson-Young tweeted:
“When men do the wrong thing, they should apologise. Most men do. But when they don’t, they should be called out. It’s for every woman & girl who’s been told or made to stay silent in the face of harassment and disrespect that I took legal action. Today’s ruling is a win for them.” 4.30pm 25 Nov, 2019
Hanson-Young sued Leyonhjelm for comments he made in a media statement in 2018, following a personal attack in parliament during a discussion on legislation to prevent violence against women. Leyonhjelm had commented “stop shagging men” in a response, based on a belief he held that he had heard Hanson-Young commenting, “all men are rapists”.
Justice Richard White found Hanson-Young had never made such comments. His findings were that it is likely that Leyonhjelm was predisposed to hear such comments as he held a pre-existing opinion of Hanson-Young, and that Leyonhjelm had no defence. He also accepted that it was an act of malice, and that Leyonhjelm intended to make his comments public to a mass audience with intent to publicly shame her.