Senator David Leyonhjelm”s flimsy defence of his defamation of Sarah Hanson-Young deserves to be dismissed.

The Age reports: Lawyers acting for Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm say his “stop shagging men” comment was “much more likely” to benefit Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s re-election prospects than to damage her reputation, as he fights a defamation case filed against him in the Federal Court.

Leyonhjelm”s comment was made in the belief that Hanson-Young had said that all men were rapists, in which case, apparently, Leyonhjelm”s view was that was that she should stop shagging them.

Hanson-Young was clearly not impressed. Nor were ex-PM Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten both of whom condemned Leyonhjelm”s comments and called on him to apologise and withdraw them.

Leyonhjelm’s defence of his behaviour appears to be that “bad publicity is better than no publicit”. More subtly, that the incident has given Hanson-Young the opportunity to  portrayed himself as as a defender of a women’s right to avoid being slandered by misogynistic and sexist men.

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It’s hard to understand why Leyonhjelm did this.

Like him or loathe him, he is a smart  political operator. He realises that he was elected to the Senate by mistake (most voters thinking, erroneously, that he was standing for the Liberal party) and must now  maintain his political profile if he to have any chance of re-election.

As a Libertarian, he has been remarkably consistent: introducing private members bill to support same-sex marriage and opposing restrictions on the sale of cigarettes and firearms. He also attracted criticism after he suggested women’s sport was not “interesting enough” to receive government funding (Wikipedia).

His political stance is not without its ironies. “Leyonhjelm supports the removal of the words “offend” and “insult” from Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, arguing that “offence is always taken, not given”. Upon being described as an “angry white male” for seeking to amend Section 18C, Leyonhjelm lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, arguing that this is a breach of 18C.” (Wikipedia).

Notwithstanding this, he is probably the kind of thorn that every government needs to have  in its side.

20160222001231562504-original-960x540.jpgSource The New Daily

 

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