Australia Australia News Preview Australian Minister Wins Defamation Case Over Tweet
Gunnar Christensen was on holiday and very drunk when he sent an email to former colleagues early in the morning, apparently drunk, which appeared to belittle Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s leadership.
He was ordered to pay costs of about $45,000 after the case but could get an immunity certificate to protect future political statements if he agrees to a public interest defence in future civil action.
The cases, involving high-profile Australian federal politicians, cover an old weapon, until now not used in Australia – the defamation suit.
The case focused on a comment written on Twitter by Christensen to colleagues including Scott Ryan and Matt Canavan: “You tell him, @ScottMorrisonMP…” and appeared to suggest the death of John Howard, soon after he announced his retirement from politics, should have led to a leadership ballot.
Christensen, who said he had intended to support Scott Morrison, was disqualified as a senator for being drunk and interfering with Parliament. He has since been elected to the lower house of the Parliament and to the Abbott cabinet but was replaced by Alan Tudge.