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InvestmentsAustralia defence minister awarded $25,000 over defamatory six-word tweet By Reuters

Australia defence minister awarded $25,000 over defamatory six-word tweet By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Australian Minister of Defense Peter Dutton speaks throughout a information convention with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (not pictured) on the State Department

By Byron Kaye

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s defence minister gained a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday in opposition to a refugee advocate who described him as a “rape apologist” in a tweet, a small advance within the conservative authorities’s effort to curb damaging commentary on social media.

Peter Dutton, an outspoken cupboard minister, skilled “hurt and distress” when proven the Feb. 25 Twitter (NYSE:) put up by a workers member, though his public profile would have meant most individuals considered it as opinion reasonably than a reality, a federal court docket choose dominated.

The lawmaker was awarded A$35,000 ($25,000) in damages, a fraction of the utmost quantity doable, after the choose discovered that Dutton had been defamed however his day-to-day life was not impacted by the now-deleted tweet.

The ruling marks one other milestone in a marketing campaign by the federal government to rein in what it has referred to as a “coward’s palace” of vindictive shared on social media. Earlier this yr, former legal professional common Christian Porter settled a defamation motion in opposition to the Australian Broadcasting Corp over Twitter posts a couple of historic rape allegation which he denied.

Dutton’s lawsuit in opposition to activist Shane Bazzi was over a midnight tweet on a day when the politician, who was then immigration minister, defended in media appearances his dealing with of a criticism about sexual assault inside parliament home.

Bazzi tweeted a hyperlink to a 2019 article during which Dutton prompt some refugees claiming to be rape victims had been “trying it on” to be allowed into Australia, coupled with the sentence “Peter Dutton is a rape apologist”.

Dutton was accustomed to the “rough-and-tumble of politics” however “deeply offended by the tweet”, noting that Bazzi’s account had a blue tick, indicating that he was a verified consumer, stated the choose, Richard White in his printed ruling.

The “description of Mr Dutton as a person who excuses rape was no doubt a serious defamation” however “he did not claim to have suffered more serious consequences by reason of the publication of the Tweet or even that his hurt and distress had continued to the date of trial”, the choose added.

A consultant for Dutton was not instantly out there for remark. Bazzi stated in a tweet that was he “very disappointed with the outcome” and would take into account his choices.

($1 = 1.3847 Australian {dollars})

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