There’s still no apology from Senator David Leyonhjelm over comments he made about Senator Sarah Hanson-Young in the Senate last month, as well as in later media interviews.
Now Hanson-Young is delivering on her promise to sue, with her lawyers launching defamation proceedings against Leyonhjelm in the Federal court.
According to court documents, the legal team will argue that Leyonhjelm damaged Hanson-Young’s reputation by implying she is a “slut” who “hates men”.
“It was always my preference that Senator Leyonhjelm apologise and acknowledge how hurtful, defamatory and damaging his comments were, however he refuses to do so,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
She has pledged to donate any damages awarded to Plan International and the Working Women’s Centre SA.
Both Hanson-Young and Leyonhjelm have crowdfunded their legal campaigns, although Hanson-Young is well ahead having raised over $60,000 compared to Leyonhjelm’s ‘Fight the Greens’ campaign that has raised $27,000.
Hanson-Young’s GoFundMe page was set up by author and commentator Jane Caro and Simon Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman AO.
Hanson-Young recently told Women’s Agenda that the fight against Leyonhjelm would be one for women across Australia.
She said at the time she felt encouraged by the response she had received to calling Leyonhjelm’s comments out. “Lots of women have been in touch also lots of men are saying they are particularly moved by what’s going on and they want to get involved and lend their support.”
She also said the strong support for the crowdfunding campaigning has strengthened her resolve.
“I do feel like I have a responsibility to stand up and call it out. The messages of support particularly from women has made this very clear. This is not just my fight. It’s a fight for women across Australia.
“When I put this on the record I didn’t know I’d get the reaction I did but I knew it would create some conversation because the moment you name it and stop being silent things do change,” she said.
Hanson-Young has been inundated with messages from women telling her their own experiences. “I think the fact my story has been public has given people an opportunity to tell me their own stories,” she said.
“Women across the country in a variety of different workplaces have been in touch saying ‘This is my story. This happened to me too’.”