Peter Dutton, who is the Minister for Defence and has a long history of blatant corrupt conduct, has won a defamation claim over one message published on Twitter which said he was a “rapist apologist” and has been awarded $35,000.
The problem is that Peter Dutton has said worse about QLD Premier Palaszczuk in 2020, accusing her of “siding with and protecting paedophiles and sex offenders”, which was broadcast to tens of thousands, and he has not apologised or retracted the comments. Yet Dutton claimed on the witness stand under oath that he was “offended and distressed by the Tweet” that Shane Bazzi posted calling Dutton a “rapist apologist”. Does Dutton have one rule for himself and one rule for others?
When looking at all the evidence the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Peter Dutton perjured himself. And by his lack of defamation action for more serious allegations, which includes but is not limited to protecting paedophiles, fraud, benefiting from election fraud and lying about why he left the QLD Police Force, Dutton has confirmed those allegations as being true and correct. I’ve made those allegations on this website, and they are well documented and referenced with evidence as per the below quotes and links, and he has never even sent a threatening letter to me and other media have made some of those allegations as well and to me knowledge he has not threatened them either.
What Peter Dutton did was to sue one person, with limited funds, over one tweet as he wanted to keep it narrow because if it expanded to other allegations against Dutton he would be in trouble and have to walk a minefield of allegations which his political career wouldn’t survive.
Dutton will use the defamation win to claim everything that anyone has ever said about him that is negative is defamatory and he might use it to intimidate others into silence. But the real danger is the government might use the judgment to threaten social media companies to silence social media users regarding their posts criticising the government which Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Deputy Barnaby Joyce did recently by declaring war on social media users.
Below is four paragraphs of the judgment by Federal Court of Australia judge Richard White which covers the key points:
229 Mr Bazzi’s description of Mr Dutton as a person who excuses rape was no doubt a serious defamation, particularly having regard to the Ministerial office held by Mr Dutton at the time. It is understandable that, despite Mr Dutton being accustomed to bearing “the slings and arrows” which are an incident of high political office, he found this statement of Mr Bazzi offensive and hurtful.
230 However, a sense or perspective does have to be brought to the assessment of the seriousness of the defamation. It was not published in any mainstream media and was published to a relatively small number of people only. Mr Bazzi did remove the Tweet shortly after his receipt of Mr Dutton’s concerns letter. The ordinary reasonable readers of the Tweet would not have understood it to be the measured assessment of a serious political commentator. Many of those are likely to have recognised it as a statement reflecting political partisanship and, accordingly, to have not given it the same weight as they would had the statement been made in some other context. Those who did read The Guardian article for which Mr Bazzi provided the link (it seems only a small percentage), would have seen that it did not provide support for Mr Bazzi’s pungent assessment.
231 While I have accepted that Mr Dutton was offended and distressed by the Tweet, it is pertinent that 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. There is no suggestion that the Tweet has affected Mr Dutton in his day-to-day political or Ministerial activities, or in his relationships with other people.
232 In my view, in all the circumstances an award of $35,000 is appropriate compensation and that is the sum I award. (Click here for the full judgment)
Below are three articles that I have written about Peter Dutton and the links to the full articles which give a good overview of the allegations Peter Dutton refuses to sue for defamation and that is because the allegations are well supported by evidence.
On the 24th of October 2020 I published an article titled “Federal MP Peter Dutton covers up $39 million fraud and theft at the Australian Border Force” which starts off:
A corrupt payment of $39 million was made by the Australian Border Force to a company called Austal in 2015/2016 when federal MP Peter Dutton was in charge of Border Force. Two barristers who were meant to be investigating the matter on behalf of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) were sacked by the newly appointed commission chief, Jaala Hinchcliffe this year. (Click here to read the article)
On the 10th of April 2021 I published an article titled “Paedophile protector Peter Dutton MP threatens defamation proceedings against Twitter users for calling him a rapist apologist” which starts off:
Federal MP Peter Dutton is now using lawyers to threaten social media users with defamation to try and silence critics. It’s a bit rich coming from a politician with a long history of corruption with no morals or ethics so in this article we’ll have a look at some of Dutton’s failings which includes but is not limited to protecting paedophiles, fraud, benefiting from election fraud and lying about why he left the QLD Police Force. (Click here to read the article)
On the 28th of April 2021 I published an article titled “QLD Premier Palaszczuk of “siding with and protecting paedophiles and sex offenders” sues a Twitter user for calling him a “rapist apologist”” which starts off:
Peter Dutton has followed through with his threat to sue social media users for defamation by starting proceedings against Twitter user Shane Bazzi for calling Dutton a “rapist apologist”. But there is a video and a Twitter message below of Peter Dutton saying, “QLD Premier Palaszczuk should be shamed into joining a federal push for a public sex offender register” and asking “why Premier Palaszczuk is siding with and protecting paedophiles and sex offenders is just beyond anyone’s comprehension and it is for her to explain”. (Click here to read the article)
The below video has Peter Dutton making the allegations against QLD Premier Anna Palaszczuk and commentary by myself .
I also find it odd that Shane Bazzi’s lawyers didn’t use the common law qualified privilege defence as outlined in the 1997 High Court precedent Lange v ABC and the 2004 High Court judgment Coleman v Power which protect political communication. In Lange v ABC former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange was accused of being corrupt etc by the ABC’s Four Corners show and his defamation case was dismissed because the High Court of Australia ruled it was political communication.
In Coleman v Power, Patrick Coleman, on the 26th of March 2000, stood in the Townsville Mall and handed out leaflets with the following printed on them: ‘Get to know your local corrupt type coppers’, identifying Constable Brendan Power as one of the ‘slimy lying bastards’ the subject of Coleman’s attention. It went to the High Court who found what Coleman said was protected by the implied freedom of political communication in the Australian Constitution.
I believe there is an extremely strong case to argue what Shane Bazzi said was protected by the common law qualified privilege defence as per Lange v ABC and Coleman v Power precedents but unfortunately Bazzi’s lawyers didn’t use it as part of Bazzi’s defence it.
Peter Dutton jumped on the Liberal and National Party bandwagon with the likes of Christian Porter, Andrew Laming and John Barilaro to sue for defamation and at the end of the day I think it has been a huge loss for Dutton. Because what the voters will eventually focus on is not what Dutton won the defamation case for, one Tweet, but for the well documented allegations of corruption he refuses to sue for defamation. And the voters will wonder why he refuses to sue with only one obvious answer which is the allegations are true
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Categories: Peter Dutton