“Obviously, being the Secretary of Immigration or Home Affairs is a rough business and there are a lot of advocates and a lot of passion in the space where people are making comments that are false and untrue, offensive and profane,” Mr Dutton said.
“But that’s part of the rough stuff, if you will. This went beyond that, and it went against who I am, my beliefs.
“Some people don’t use constructed arguments. Even given the passion, whether because of the limitation of their vocabulary or their intellect, they resort to insults or comments that are profane and beyond reasonable limits. This went to another level.
“That’s why I was most offended by it, because I thought it was defamatory. I thought it was hurtful, and I made a special exception.”
Mr Dutton said he had arranged for a legal letter to be sent to Greens Senator Larissa Waters for a similar tweet, also on Feb. 25, in which he referred to Mr Dutton as an “inhuman, sexist apologist for rape”.
The tweet followed Mr Dutton’s comment at the press conference about Ms Higgins that he was “not provided with the ‘she said, he said’ details of the accusation”.
Mr Dutton said he took offense at Ms Waters’ comments and Mr Bazzi who repeated them. Ms. Waters publicly apologized earlier this year.
Mr Bazzi’s attorney Richard Potter, SC, said an ordinary reasonable reader would consider Mr Bazzi’s full tweet and would have known the additional context regarding Ms Higgins.
In court documents, Mr Dutton argues that Mr Bazzi’s tweet defamed him by falsely suggesting that he condones rape and apologizes for rape. He claims damages, including aggravated damages, and costs.
Mr. Bazzi tries to rely on the defense of honest opinion and the defense of qualified privilege in the public interest style.