There has been enormous expression of public outrage about a comment made by Senator David Leyonhjelm to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young when he said to her during a division in the Senate chamber on Thursday, June 28, “You should stop shagging men, Sarah”.
On Sunday, July 1, Leyonhjelm expanded on his remark on Sky News during an interview with Rowan Dean and Ross Cameron, which resulted in a highly offensive and quite possibly defamatory discussion about Senator Hanson-Young.
Senator Hanson-Young has commenced private defamation proceedings against Leyonhjelm.
In her press statement she said:
“It is a sad reflection on society that even in 2018, attacks like these occur to women after they have spoken out about sexism, sexual harassment and abuse in their workplace and daily lives
.Last week I confronted Senator Leyonhjelm for comments he made to me in the Senate chamber. It is greatly disappointing and it sends a damaging message to our community that Senator Leyonhjelm has been given multiple platforms to continue making these harmful remarks.As a woman, a sister, and a mother, I have a responsibility to stand up against this treatment. I will not be intimidated or bullied by offensive and sexist slurs on my professional reputation.”
The costs of this action, should her action fail in court, will be borne by her. The risk of such costs can be a huge deterrent to those seeking redress in defamation cases.
If you share our disgust at Leyonhjelm’s words and want to help Sarah insulate herself from what can be considerable legal expenses, please join us in contributing to a legal support fund* in this matter.
Should, as we trust, she win her action and the court orders Leyonhjelm to pay all court and legal costs, all funds collected will be divided evenly between two charities:Plan International Working Women’s Centre, SA
Jane Caro, author and commentator
Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman AO
*Please note, Senator Hanson-Young is required to list all donations above $300 on the Senator’s register of interests.