Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has threatened defamation action against Greens Senator Larissa Waters over a rape slur.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has threatened defamation action against Greens Senator Larissa Waters over a rape slur.

Dutton threatens lawsuit over Senator’s comment

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has sent a legal letter threatening defamation action against Greens Senator Larissa Waters for calling him a "rape apologist".

Senator Waters' comments were made on Twitter in February in reaction to a news article in which Mr Dutton referred to not knowing the "he said, she said" in the Brittany Higgins rape allegations which have rocked parliament.

The legal action comes as the Morrison Government faces criticism over its handling of explosive sexual assault and harassment allegations, while Attorney-General Christian Porter has begun defamation action against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan for reports on a historical rape claim.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton during Question Time this week. Picture: NCA NewsWire Gary Ramage
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton during Question Time this week. Picture: NCA NewsWire Gary Ramage

Senator Waters posted the comments in a tweet on February 25, while also repeated the claim in a press release in which she condemned a "culture of silence".

"WOMEN DO NOT LIE ABOUT BEING RAPED (Peter Dutton) YOU INHUMANE, SEXIST RAPE APOLOGIST," she posted.

Mr Dutton is understood to have sent the legal letter on Friday afternoon, threatening defamation proceedings against Senator Waters.

The letter said Mr Dutton argued the statements were "clearly false and defamatory" and is seeking a "unreserved public apology", as well as removal of the statement online and payment of his legal costs. He demanded a response by March 23.

The post in question was still online as of last night.

Senator Waters has been outspoken on the issues regarding the rape, sexual assault and cultural issues which have engulfed parliament for the past month, also taking part in the March4Justice in Canberra on Monday.

Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters faces possible defamation action from Peter Dutton. Picture: Brendan Radke
Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters faces possible defamation action from Peter Dutton. Picture: Brendan Radke

On February 25 Mr Dutton told reporters that he had not told Prime Minister Scott Morrison about the alleged rape of Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins on parliament grounds before it went public because he wasn't provided with "the 'she said, he said' details of the allegations", but he did pass "high level" details on to the PM's office.

The following day Mr Dutton defended the comments saying the rule of law needed to apply and that sexual assault and harassment were among the "most abhorrent acts that a man could ever perform".

Senator Waters had criticised Mr Dutton for being "the fifth government member who knew about the allegation, but apparently didn't bother to pick up the phone to the PM".

Senator Waters and Mr Dutton declined to comment.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Dutton threatens lawsuit over Senator's comment


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