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Multiple defamation actions against John Pesutto to be heard together

Three separate defamation actions filed against Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto will be heard together in a single trial.

British women’s rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen, Former Liberal MP Moira Deeming and Victorian activist Angie Jones have all filed claims against Pesutto in the Federal Court. All three women campaign against transgender women being recognised beyond the gender they were assigned at birth.

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Each argue that the Victorian Liberal leader damaged their reputations when he made comments about a group of Neo-Nazis who appeared adjacent to the Let Women Speak rally in Melbourne’s CBD in 2023.

The event was part of Keen’s seven city tour of Australia. Jones was one of the organisers of the Melbourne gathering, while Deeming spoke at the rally and escorted Keen to the event.

At each of Keen’s Australian appearances her supporters were significantly outnumbered by protesters. At the Melbourne rally the Neo-Nazi group performed salutes and held up offensive signage directed at those protesting against Keen’s group.

Deeming, Keen and Jones say Pesutto defamed them in the aftermath of the event when he moved to expel Deeming from the parliamentary Liberal party, and they allege that he suggested that they were associated with far-right extremists and Neo-Nazi groups.

Pesutto has said that he will vigorously defend the claim against him.

At a case management hearing this week Justice Michael Wheelahan said all three claims could be heard together and a trial date was set for 16th September. The trial is expected to take three weeks.

Earlier this week the ABC settled a claim against them from Keen and published a clarification on an interview that aired on their program 7:30.

OIP Staff

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