A Greens-backed website has launched a crowd-funded campaign to pay for the defense of an employee sued by Peter Dutton for defamation, raising several thousand dollars in a matter of hours.
Mr. Dutton’s lawyers have filed a defamation suit against refugee activist Shane Bazzi, claiming on February 25 that the man had claimed on social media that the minister was a “rape apology seeker”.
Mr. Bazzi’s legal team said they would “defend himself loudly” by demanding “honest opinion”.
Crowd fundraising pages went online on Thursday morning, and by 2.30pm on the same day, they receive more than $13,000 in donations from more than 300 people.
The office of NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge’s has confirmed that the politician created the page and that his office is managing it.
Its description states that it is a war of “freedom of speech”.
The site stated that “Freedom of speech must be strong enough to protect public opinion based on what politicians say. Politicians must expect strong criticism and commentary as part of their work.”
“The use of costly legal challenges to block opinions must be resisted. Shane Dutton stands up to the threat, but he needs our support.
Currently, Shane is unemployed and has had his Centrelink payments cut off due to the government’s recent policy changes.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters Senator Waters apologized “unreservedly” after calling Mr. Dutton a “rape apologist” in February.
He said that they are out there and putting all these statements and tweets there, obviously, defamatory.
“I’m going to pick some of them to sue, because we need a respectable public debate.”