Monday 16th of May 2022

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Defence Minister Peter Dutton will receive $35,000 in damages after he won a defamation case against refugee advocate Shane Bazzi, who referred to the politician as a “rape apologist” on social media.

Mr Dutton, 51, who was formerly home affairs minister and immigration minister, sued Mr Bazzi in the Federal Court over a tweet posted on February 25 this year which said: “Peter Dutton is a rape apologist.”

The post linked to a Guardian Australia article reporting Mr Dutton’s comments in 2019 that some women on Nauru “have claimed that they’ve been raped and came to Australia to seek an abortion”. Mr Dutton suggested they were “trying it on” to secure a medical transfer to Australia.

The tweet was also in the context of Mr Dutton’s comments that day that he had not been provided with the “she said, he said” details of the Brittany Higgins rape allegation.


Ms Higgins, a former Liberal Party staffer, alleges she was sexually assaulted at Parliament House in March 2019.

Mr Dutton, who was the only witness called in the defamation case, told the court he was “deeply offended” by Mr Bazzi’s “egregious” tweet, which prompted him to sue for defamation for the first time.

“Obviously as minister for immigration or home affairs, it’s a rough-and-tumble business and there are lots of advocates and a lot of passion in the space where people make comments which are false and untrue, offensive, profane,” Mr Dutton said.

“This went beyond that, and it went against who I am, my beliefs.”


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