Moira Deeming lodges defamation suit against John Pesutto

Victorian MP Moira Deeming has followed through on her threat to sue her former leader John Pesutto for defamation, filing a suit in the federal court.

The Victorian Liberal leader moved to have Deeming excluded from the parliamentary Liberal party after she attended a Let Women Speak event organised by British provocateur Kellie-Jay Keen in March.

Keen’s tour around Australia drew large groups of counter-protesters and at the Melbourne event a neo-Nazi group appeared adjacent to where the Let Women Speak event was taking place on the stairs of the parliament house.

Pesutto’s first attempt at removing Deeming from the party saw her suspended from the party room for nine months, but after she threatened legal action, her colleagues voted to remove her permanently from the parliamentary party.

Since then, she has remained a member of the wider Liberal party, while sitting on the crossbench in the Victorian parliament.

In the court documents Deeming alleges that she was defamed by the Liberal leader when he led the push to have her removed from the parliamentary party.  In the statement of claim Deeming alleges that Pesutto’s comments implied that she was neo-Nazi and white supremacist, and that she sympathised with those movements.

Pesutto has consistently denied ever calling Deeming a Nazi sympathiser, and has indicated her will “vigorously defend” himself. Deeming is seeking an apology, reinstatement to the party, and aggravated damages.

Deeming’s claim argues that the Liberal leader’s actions led to damage to her reputation, vandalism of her electoral office, retraction of official MP invitations from community functions, social media reactions, threats, jibes, hatred, harassment, abuse, contempt and ridicule through emails, letters and voicemails to Deeming and on social media.

Kellie-Jay Keen, the organiser of the Let Women Speak tour has also indicated that she too plans to launch defamation proceedings against Pesutto.

Graeme Watson 

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