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Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto settles two defamation cases

Victoria Liberal leader John Pesutto has settled two of the three defamation cases he was defending.

The politician has settled claims brought by activist Kellie-Jay Keen and Angie Jones, but still looks set to head to court to deal with a defamation action brought on by exiled MP Moira Deeming.

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The claims arose after Keen, a British provocateur who appears online under the moniker Posie Parker, toured Australia with her Let Women Speak event. The public mike event is almost entirely focused on women speaking out against transgender rights.

Keen’s seven city tour of Australia drew protesters at each of its stops with protests significantly outnumbering supporters at each location.

When the event was held in front of the Victorian parliament a Neo-Nazi group appeared adjacent to the space when Keen was holding her open-mike session. The held up offensive signs and made Nazi salutes at the pro-trans rights protesters.

Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto

The following day Pesutto began moves to remove Liberal MP Moira Deeming, who had spoken at the event, from the Liberal party room. While the first attempt to remove Deeming saw her suspended for nine months, her colleague banished her from the party room in a second motion not long after.

Deeming filed a defamation action against Pesutto over comments he made to the media and colleagues, and Keen and Victorian based activist Angie Jones followed suit.

In a statement posted to his website Pesutto said both Keen and Jones were passionate advocates who valid points about women’s safety and access to single-sex spaces.

“Kellie-Jay Keen and Angela Jones are passionate women’s rights activists with long histories of advocacy in Australia and internationally. I agree with them that genuine community concerns regarding women’s safety and access to single-sex spaces, services and sport warrant meaningful public discussion.”

The Liberal leader also said he never believed that either of the women had connections to the Neo-Nazi movement.

“I recognise that there have been times when my comments could have more clearly differentiated between the organisers of the 18 March 2023 Let Women Speak Rally and the Neo-Nazis who attended the steps of Parliament House on that day.” Pesutto said.

“It has never been my intention to convey that I believed Ms Keen and Ms Jones to be Neo-Nazis, or that they were members of Neo-Nazi groups. As far as my comments may have been misunderstood as conveying that I believed this to be the case, I apologise for any hurt, distress or harm that has occurred.”

Pesutto is still scheduled to head to court in September to defend an action brought by Deeming.

Kellie-Jay Keen says it’s massive step forward for her movement

In a live video address Kellie-Jay Keen said she had accepted the apology describing it as sign that it was becoming safer for Australian women to speak out about issues they are concerned about.

“I think what this apology will do it it will give women just a morsel of comfort that do have a right to speak about this quasi-religious authoritarian cult known as transgenderism, otherwise known as gender identity, progressive politics, LGBT – whatever you want to call it.” Keen told her followers.

Keen said the acknowledgement from the Liberal party and their leader that their was validity to the issues they were raising was a “massive step forward.”


Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / qlife.org.au (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife are a counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DISCHARGEDinfo@discharged.asn.au / discharged.asn.au
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 / lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 / www.beyondblue.org.au

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