Putting the suit in Pesutto

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26 Responses to Putting the suit in Pesutto

  1. C.L. says:

    UK women’s rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen has issued John Pesutto’s entire Victorian Liberal leadership team with defamation concerns notices, giving them 28 days to apologise and pay compensation for making “grossly misconceived, wilfully vexatious, and wretchedly false” claims, or face federal court action.

    In her legal letter sent to the Liberal leader, his deputy David Southwick, upper house leader Georgie Crozier and her deputy Matt Bach on Monday, Ms Keen claims their conduct has seen her become the target of “extreme hate, abuse, harassment, and stalking”, and culminated in her “being physically attacked” and “placed in life threatening danger” at a Let Women Speak rally in New Zealand.

    The new defamation threat – from the activist who has received strong public backing from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling – represents a major escalation in the messy public battle the opposition leader is already fighting with expelled MP Moira Deeming, who last week indicated she is poised to file her own federal court case against Mr Pesutto in coming weeks.

    Ms Keen’s case relates to the Liberal leadership team’s response to Mrs Deeming’s appearance at a Let Women Speak rally in March, which was headlined by Ms Keen, and gatecrashed by Nationalist Socialist Network members who performed the Nazi salute on the steps of state parliament.

    The concerns notice focuses in particular on the motion, signed by all four members of the leadership team, which sought to expel Mrs Deeming from the Liberal Party for attending the march — and was circulated to the Liberal partyroom and to journalists by Mr Pesutto’s office in the days following the event.

    The motion accused Mrs Deeming of “organising, promoting and attending a rally where Kellie-Jay Keen (also known as Posie Parker), was the principal speaker, in circumstances where Ms Keen was known to be publicly associated with far right-wing extremist groups including neo-Nazi activists.”

    Attached to the expulsion motion was a 15-page dossier of ­social media screenshots and media reports – mostly relating to Ms Keen – which purported to justify the claim that she was associated with “far right-wing extremist groups including neo-Nazi activists.”

    Mrs Keen’s lawyers state in their concerns notice that the Let Women Speak rally was hosted by her organisation Standing for Women UK, “which is an advocacy group for the reinstatement of reasonable biological-sex based rights and against the irreversible and harmful medical transitioning practices used on gender non-conforming, autistic and gay minors.”

    They say it was organised by Angela Jones, “a left-wing, pro-gay rights, Jewish woman, who liaised with Victoria Police to arrange a buffer zone between the event and any counter protesters,” and note that permission was officially granted for the event to take place at the foot of the steps of state parliament.

    Citing footage of the protest filmed by independent journalist Rukshan Fernando, Ms Keen’s lawyers argue it is “well apparent from the Facebook livestream that the event was subjected to four counter protest groups: pro-Trans activists, the Victorian Socialists, ‘Freedom/Anti-COVID’ protesters, and Nationalist Socialist Network (NSN).”

    “It is apparent from this footage that none was associated with the event and were each kept separately cordoned by Victorian Police.”

    The concerns notice then turns to the 15-page dossier, making reference to a screenshot of a 2019 article from LGBTQI+ community publication Pink News, regarding Ms Keen’s appearance in a video with a “white nationalist YouTuber”.

    “Were the Pink News article to have been reproduced in its entirety the following would have been apparent to any reader,” Ms Keen’s lawyers wrote, quoting comments in the article from Ms Keen that make it clear she was not aware of French Canadian white nationalist Jean-François Gariépy’s views when she was interviewed by him.

    “I am, of course, concerned at the accusations I have heard since recording the show,” Ms Keen is quoted in the article as saying.

    “White supremacy and the racism that fuels it has no place in a civilised society. I abhor those views and the people that hold them. As a free speech advocate I think dialogue, even with those with the most odious prejudices, is essential. How are we ever to change or challenge them is we don’t engage? These days so many people are called Nazis and far right that the prophetic warning that we will no longer recognise the real ones is beginning to come true.”

    Other allegations included in the dossier include that Ms Keen “posted a photo on the internet” with Hans Jørgen Lysglimt Johansen, a Norwegian neo-Nazi.

    Ms Keen’s lawyers say that as is evident from the screenshot of the photo, the post of a “selfie” was a made by Johansen, and not Ms Keen.

    “Our client confirms that to this day she has never had a conversation with Johansen and was unaware of his identity the time he imposed upon her to take the selfie with him,” Ms Keen’s lawyers state.

    The concerns notice also addresses a reference to Ms Keen’s use on the social media platform Spinster of a profile picture featuring a Barbie doll wearing a Nazi uniform.

    “Our client instructs us that the profile picture was used on her Spinster account as an ‘in house’ ‘tongue-in-cheek’ retort to a group of left-wing feminists who publicly called our client ‘Nazi Barbie’ in debate on the social media platform,” the lawyers state.

    In an exclusive interview with The Australian last month, Ms Keen gave a similar explanation.

    “I wear make-up and I have peroxide blonde hair, so obviously I was a vacuous, stupid, doll-like woman, and I have views they don’t like so I’m a Nazi,” she said. “I put up the profile picture as a ‘sod you’ to those who had called me that.

    “For anyone to think that that was an indication of my political beliefs is so ridiculous, and for a serious politician to actually include that in a dossier to talk about my political beliefs, I just can’t believe anyone is that stupid.”

    Ms Keen’s lawyers say it should have been apparent “to any fair minded and reasonable person seeking to rely on the material” in the expulsion motion and dossier, that they “contained direct allegations about our client, which were grossly misconceived, wilfully vexatious, and wretchedly false.”

    “Despite the obvious unreliability of the material … despite our client’s public denunciation of the activities of the NSN, and without affording our client any opportunity to comment on the claims made against her, you, in both your personal and leadership capacities facilitated and/ or countenanced the release of the entirety of the expulsion motion and the annexure to the media, without restriction, to be published to the world at large,” Ms Keen’s lawyers say to Mr Pesutto, Mr Southwick, Ms Crozier and Dr Bach.

    “This conscious act, in turn, saw our client become the target of extreme hate, abuse, harassment, and stalking, in both Australia, New Zealand, and more broadly, culminating in her being physically attacked and her being placed in life threatening danger at a Let Women Speak event in Auckland, New Zealand.”

    Ms Keen’s lawyers cite media reports to argue that journalists in Australia and New Zealand have relied upon the expulsion motion’s contents to link Ms Keen to the presence of Nationalist Socialist Network neo-Nazis at the Melbourne Let Women Speak rally.

    They accuse the Liberal leadership of imputing that Ms Keen is “far-right extremist and activist” who “endorses Nazi and Neo-Nazi views and sentiments”, and say it is clear “that no attempt was made by any of you, to fairly inquire into and/ or represent the readily ascertainable and publicly available facts, such that your conduct can only be characterised as recklessly and wilfully indifferent to the truth, and indifferent to the harm that your publications might foreseeably cause our client or those associated with her.

    “The expulsion motion should not have been released. The matters raised therein were misconceived, disingenuous, vexatious, and utterly false.

    “If you had contacted our client in an appropriate manner, investigated the so-called “evidence” relied upon in a meaningful way, or even a cursory way, or conducted yourself in a manner fitting your positions as the leaders of the opposition and the parliamentary party, the expulsion motion should not have been instigated.

    “Instead of a balanced, considered, and fair motion which reflected the facts and events accurately, the expulsion motion promoted a false narrative that the event was fuelled by racist and white supremacist rhetoric and ideology and supported and espoused Neo-Nazi ideology, at which our client was at the centre, and that she herself supported that rhetoric and ideology. This is so abjectly and patently false; it cannot under any circumstances withstand scrutiny.

    “The deliberate release of the expulsion motion to the media, and your failure to provide our client a full and reasonable opportunity to refute the allegations prior to publication or present her version of events in the document, not only created an impression in the minds of readers that Ms Keen is a callous, irresponsible, despicable, racist and white supremacist that supports Neo-Nazi ideology, but also caused her, and her family, to experience vile hatred and abuse, including physical abuse, harassment and stalking and immense hurt, distress and embarrassment.”

    Ms Keen’s lawyers argue the expulsion motion and its publication in the media have caused “serious harm” to her reputation, noting in particular the seriousness of accusing someone of being a Neo-Nazi or having links to such people.

    “Imputations alleging a person is a Neo-Nazi are amongst the most serious allegations against a person’s character that can be made in modern society and, if believed to be true, will cause much of the public to shun, avoid and refuse to engage with or do business with that person,” the notice states.

    “Your roles as the leaders of a major political party in Australia, the Liberal Party, making such allegations means that readers have believed, and were likely to believe, that the imputations are true, irrespective of their falsity. This is particularly the case as you used the allegation to support the the extraordinary and drastic step of expelling Mrs Deeming from the parliamentary party, because of her association with our client.”

    The lawyers also foreshadow a further concerns notice to be issued to Mr Pesutto personally, noting that he has “widely discussed” the “false allegations” against Ms Keen “on occasions too numerous to list here”.

    They indicate Ms Keen will seek aggravated and exemplary damages.

    “Your conduct was so lacking in good faith and was so improper and unjustifiable, was in such contumelious disregard for the truth or our client’s reputation, and has so aggravated the harm our client has sustained, an award of damages commensurate with such aggravation and moral obloquy is warranted,” the lawyers state.

    “It is important that you understand that aggravated and exemplary damages may be awarded not only in respect of your conduct prior to and at the time of publication but also in respect of your ongoing conduct since publication, which is all relevant to the serious harm suffered.”

    The notice gives each of the Liberal leaders 28 days to issue written public apologies, pay compensation to Ms Keen, and cover her legal costs.

    “In the unfortunate event that the above requests are not agreed to, we are instructed to commence proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia without further notice after the lapse of 28 days from the date of this letter. In any such proceedings, damages will be claimed, and this correspondence will be relied upon on the questions of aggravated and exemplary damages, and costs, including indemnity costs,” the notice states.

    The lawyers note that Ms Keen could make herself available in person to attend mediation in mid September, should the Liberal leadership team be willing to attempt to resolve the dispute without resorting to litigation.

    Mr Pesutto’s office has been contacted for comment.

    Ms Keen won a legal battle earlier this month, forcing journalist Patrick Strudwick to apologise and retract from an article in British newspaper The i, claims that Ms Keen had “staged a mass Nazi salute” at the Melbourne Let Women Speak rally.

    The latest concerns notice represents the second defamation threat Dr Bach has faced in as many months, after he was forced to apologise and pay legal costs in July over an Age article in which he accused Brisbane lawyer, think-tank director and senior LNP member Dan Ryan of “odious race-baiting”.


    Rachel Baxendale in The Australian

  2. C.L. says:

    I like the Michael Corleone thinking here.

    Take out the whole crew.

    Meanwhile, in the ABC’s report on this…

    Keen – women’s rights hard-charger and victim of one of the most frightening mob attacks on a female seen anywhere outside of Iran or the Hindu badlands of India – is referred to as an anti-trans rights activist.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Prosciutto or Prosecco? Decisions, decisions.
    Is he a pig in a poke or is he fizzy wine?

    As I said on the Cat it’ll be fun to see how the newest Vic Lib will go. Ms Werner is a Pentecostal youth worker, who I hazard to say isn’t quite clued into the current woke vibe. Stay tuned for fireworks.

  4. Lee says:

    I wouldn’t mind betting that the few Nazis who did turn up (and were let through by police; how convenient) were actually part of a leftist false flag operation.

  5. jupes says:

    What do you think Dan Andrews thinks about all this? He has been gifted with a Liberal Party leader who is stupid and craven beyond belief. I hope Posie Parker burns the SFL Party to the ground.

  6. Lee says:

    Meanwhile, in the ABC’s report on this…

    Keen – the women’s rights hard-charger and the victim of one of the most frightening mob attacks on a female seen anywhere outside of Iran or the Hindu badlands of India – is referred to as an anti-trans rights activist.

    The ABC really is partisan, disgusting filth, as well as shameless liars.

  7. Lee says:

    What do you think Dan Andrews thinks about all this?

    He is almost certainly laughing to himself at Pesutto foolishly scoring an own goal, instead of prudently keep his mouth shut.

  8. Cassie of Sydney says:

    You go girl……

    The Ballad of Posie Parker (aka Kellie-Jay Keen)…


    At CPAC last week I had lengthy conversations with my fellow TERFS and heroines….Sall Grover, Kath Deves, Rachael Wong, and Moira Deeming, (and I gave Moira a big hug)!

    I love Kellie-Jay Keen. As Kellie-Jay Keen says……”I promise you, we will win”.

    Message for little Johnny Pesutto, you reap what you sow. All you had to do was to be a man and say sorry.

  9. NFA says:

    It highlights that The Liberal Party of Australia are a false flag operation.

  10. C.L. says:

    Prosciutto or Prosecco?

    Andrew Bolt scolded Michael Danby tonight for calling him Mr Prosciutto.

  11. NFA says:

    John Pesutto is another Australian politician and lawyer.

  12. Pat Mac says:

    Hahaha, I hope she wins, he has to be a liebor implant.

  13. Entropy says:

    At least the article correctly calls them the national socialist network, before later on identifying them as ultra right.
    You would think there would be a cognitive moment as they wrote it all down, but no.

  14. Perfidious Albino says:

    Happened past Pesutto on the street in town yesterday, small in stature and character, but definitely had a spring in his step following the weekend by-election.

  15. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “had a spring in his step following the weekend by-election.”

    A by-election Labor didn’t run in. The result was not an endorsement of little Johnny.

  16. Rohan says:

    Entropy says:
    29 August, 2023 at 6:31 am
    At least the article correctly calls them the national socialist network, before later on identifying them as ultra right.
    You would think there would be a cognitive moment as they wrote it all down, but no.

    That would break the narative. We can’t have that.

  17. Fat Tony says:

    It highlights that The Liberal Party of Australia are a false flag operation.


  18. Buccaneer says:

    Pesutto highlights how lazy our society has become, a man who is supposed to be the opposition leader in his state, didn’t seem to bother to check whether or not the statement he was making was fact or just the vibe.

    It’s as bad as being a big government statist and not bothering to read the additional 25 pages of a document that you say underpins your proposed change to the constitution.

  19. NFA says:

    what Buccaneer says: 29 August, 2023 at 9:38 am

  20. Dr Faustus says:

    Pesutto highlights how lazy our society has become, a man who is supposed to be the opposition leader in his state, didn’t seem to bother to check whether or not the statement he was making was fact or just the vibe.

    Postmodernism written large; variable meanings and moral relativism are excused as features, not bugs.

  21. Buccaneer says:

    Meanwhile in NSW, serious government is a fantasy too.

    The New South Wales transport secretary, Josh Murray, made a donation to Jo Haylen’s campaign before she picked the former Labor staffer to lead her department.

    Limited details of the $500 donation were contained in emails that were released to parliament between members of Haylen’s team discussing talking points related to the appointment of the secretary.

    Documents revealed that in response to the question “have Josh and [redacted] made any donations to your campaign?”, Haylen, the state’s transport minister, said, “yes, but they were of a non-declarable value”.

    Two “donations we know of” were listed. One was a $500 donation from Murray in September 2022 and a second from a person understood to be linked with Murray for an unknown amount the following month.

  22. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “Meanwhile in NSW, serious government is a fantasy too.”

    So. where’s ICAC? Or has it gone to sleep because Labor is in power here inNSW?

  23. Buccaneer says:

    ICAC is doing its job, waiting for the right political master to want their enemy knobbled.

  24. A reader says:

    Sliced prosciutto if this goes right. I love how a whole bunch of people now refer to him as seasoned sausage. It just rolls off the tongue of Rita Panahi, Sophie Elsworth, Michael Danby and the like. I think that says he is ummm cooked prosciutto.

  25. Texas Jack says:

    I hope Posie Parker burns the SFL Party to the ground.

    I’m with Jupes. Hear, hear.

  26. Entropy says:

    NSW ICAC is too busy with another liberal investigation apparently.

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