Prime Minister Scott Morrison tried to publicly bully, intimidate and defame journalist Samantha Maiden at a press conference on Tuesday the 23rd of March 2021 at Parliament House. Morrison said at the press conference a News Corp employee was being investigated for bullying another staff member in a women’s toilet, and while Morrison did not name Samantha Maiden, it was been revealed on Wednesday (31/3/21) in an article by AFR journalist Aaron Patrick that it was Samantha Maiden who Morrison was talking about.
Samantha Maiden, at the very least, should demand an apology from Scott Morrison but I would like to see her sue Scott Morrison for defamation and get fair and reasonable compensation from Morrison’s own pocket.
What is ironic is that Morrison tried to put a hit on Samantha Maiden at the press conference last week (23/3/21) but failed and ended up having to apologise to News Corp because he got the facts wrong. And Wednesday (31/3/21) Aaron Patrick tried to finish the job Morrison started and also tried to put a hit on Samantha Maiden but all he has achieved is that he has lined Scott Morrison up for an open and shut defamation case by Samantha Maiden.
What is even more ironic is that it is now widely known because of the Christian Porter v ABC and Louise Milligan defamation case that you don’t have to name a person to be sued for defamation as long as what you said means that at least one person can identify the person who you said the alleged defamatory remark about. Porter is suing the ABC and Milligan even though they didn’t name him because he claims that people would have been able to identify him from Milligan’s story about a cabinet minister accused of rape.
In Scott Morrison’s defamation of Samantha Maiden, we know other people could identify Samantha Maiden from what Scott Morrison said because Aaron Patrick confirmed that fact in his article.
A News Corp article as per below from the 23rd of March gives a lot of the background and also shows some of the inferences that were drawn from what Scott Morrison said:
News Corp Australasia chairman Michael Miller has completely rejected Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s “simply untrue” claim that an employee had been the subject of an internal sexual harassment complaint.
Mr Morrison made the extraordinary claim during a tense exchange with Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell at a press conference on Tuesday, where the PM addressed the sexual harassment and assault crisis engulfing the government.
But Mr Miller said the PM’s claim was “wrong”.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison was wrong today to claim an investigation is under way into a complaint accusing an employee of harassment against a woman in a female toilet,” Mr Miller said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
“No complaint has been received and News Corp and Sky News are not dealing with a complaint. News Corp and Sky News take seriously any issues raised by staff and our utmost priority is to respect their privacy and confidentiality. This is standard business practice and because of this, we do not normally comment on private matters.
“However given the Prime Minister’s extraordinary public claims made at a press conference broadcast live across the nation, I want to put to rest any suggestion that an employee of our company is being investigated for conduct suggested by Mr Morrison.”
During today’s press conference, Clennell questioned whether Mr Morrison had “lost control” of his ministerial staff after revelations on Monday of lewd behaviour by Coalition staffers, including one who performed a sex act on a female MP’s desk.
“Your job would probably be in a bit of jeopardy wouldn’t it?” Clennell asked. “Doesn’t it look like you have lost control of your ministerial staff?”
The PM hit back by suggesting people in “glass houses” should “be careful”.
“I will let you editorialise as you like, but if anyone in this room wants to offer up the standards in their own work places as comparison I would invite you to do so,” he said.
Clennell replied, “They seem better than what is in yours.”
Mr Morrison said, “Let me take you up on that. Right now, you would be aware that in your own organisation that there is a person who has had a complaint made against them for harassment of a woman in a women’s toilet. And that matter is being pursued by your own HR department.”
“I am not aware of it,” Clennell said. (Click here to read more)
Below is the video of Scott Morrison at the press conference clashing with Sky News reporter Andrew Clennell over sexual harassment claims 23-3-21
At the end of the press conference, the public did not know who Scott Morrison was talking about with his story of an HR complaint at News Corp, but it turns out that at least a few journalists in Canberra did.
Scott Morrison apologised to News Corp later that night in a written statement because he was wrong but he should have also apologised to Samantha Maiden which he didn’t. (Click here to read more)
The AFR hit piece by Aaron Patrick
On Wednesday (31/3/21) published an article titled “PM caught in crusade of women journos” which started off:
When Scott Morrison inexplicably threw back a false account of sexual harassment at a Sky News reporter last week, his unlikely target was sitting a few metres away: a woman making a professional comeback by holding the most powerful man in the country to account. Him.
Samantha Maiden’s run of scoops had left Morrison’s government, and the Prime Minister, in disarray.
The article is a hit job on Samantha Maiden and even talks about her school days trying to defame her but it also mentions other female journalists in a paragraph where Patrick says:
Angry coverage that often strayed into unapologetic activism came forth from a new, female media leadership: Laura Tingle and Louise Milligan on the ABC, Katharine Murphy and Amy Remeikis at The Guardian, Lisa Wilkinson on Channel Ten, Karen Middleton in The Saturday Paper and a cameo by Jessica Irvine on the Nine Network.
The theme of the article is that Morrison is a victim of nasty female activist journalists with Samantha Maiden being the main target. But the article is also designed to send a message to all journalists that if you write articles criticising Scott Morrison, he will use his friends in the media to attack you personally.
But the article is not just an attack on Samantha Maiden and the female journalists named it is also an attack on Australian democracy if the Prime Minister can get away with using a grubby journalist like Aaron Patrick to attack journalists who he feels undermine his position as Prime Minister. And if it is an attack on Australian democracy it is an attack on all Australians.
Journalists on social media have hit back criticising Aaron Patrick but they have missed the fact that Patrick has also inadvertently thrown Morrison under a bus for being a bully and defaming Samantha Maiden at the press conference on Tuesday the 23rd of March which should now be the main focus of the media. What is so important about the press conference is that it shows Scott Morrison personally getting his hands dirty trying to bully and defame people and he can no longer hide behind his staff doing the dirty work for him and then claiming he doesn’t know about it when in fact he is the one directing them to defame people, to conceal crimes and possible crimes such as Brittany Higgins alleged rape.
Aaron Patrick confirms some key facts that Samantha Maiden could use in a defamation case against Scott Morrison such as:
Having arrived too late to get one of the few seats, Maiden sat on a ledge on the far right of the room, vying with the ABC’s Andrew Probyn for Morrison’s call.
If Maiden realised the Prime Minister was referring to her, she didn’t show it.
Within hours of the news conference, News Corp Australia’s executive chairman, Michael Miller, issued a rare and detailed written response. There was no toilet incident. Sex was not involved. Two journalists had exchanged words, and one was later ticked off by the human resources department.
After a few days, word filtered through the press gallery. The Prime Minister had messed up the details, but was referring to a confrontation at the end of 2020 between Maiden and Jade Gailberger, a young reporter in Canberra on News Corp’s internal wire service.
Morrison and his aides resented that they were being criticised by someone with her own blemished record, according to a source.
(The first account of the confrontation was published in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald CBD column. Gailberger and Rose didn’t respond to requests for comment. Maiden wouldn’t discuss what happened.)
What those details show is:
- That Samantha Maiden was at the press conference and she might not have known what Morrison said was about her but others did.
- That what Scott Morrison said was false and people believed he was talking about a sexual harassment complaint which didn’t happen.
- Scott Morrison and his aides “resented that they were being criticised by someone with her own blemished record” and were therefore unhappy with Samantha Maiden for writing about the Brittany Higgins rape allegation and the Christian Porter rape allegation. This shows motive and malice by Scott Morrison for telling the lies that he did at the press conference and defaming Samantha Maiden and that he knew he was talking about Samantha Maiden even though he didn’t name her.
The first published account of journalists identifying who Scott Morrison was talking about at the press conference was published by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald journalists Samantha Hutchinson and Stephen Brook, as per the above link in Aaron Patrick’s article, on the 24th of March which is the day after the press conference. Samantha Hutchinson and Stephen Brook would be key witnesses at any defamation trial if Samantha Maiden does sue Scott Morrison.
If Samantha Maiden decides to sue Scott Morrison it is not a case of if she wins but a case of how much she will get and her star witness is Aaron Patrick.
I could write a lot more but will leave it at that for the moment and see what unfolds over the next few days.
With their performances as outlined above Scott Morrison and Aaron Patrick should be the new stars of the next Dumb and Dumber movie.
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