News National ‘Smutty, sexist’ image of senator was defamatory: court

‘Smutty, sexist’ image of senator was defamatory: court

Sarah Hanson-Young
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Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young was defamed by men’s magazine Zoo Weekly when it published a doctored image of her head superimposed over a bikini model’s body.

The magazine’s owner Bauer Media will publish an admission that the image was in poor taste after arguing in court that an ordinary reader would not take the image seriously.

Senator Hanson-Young said she was glad the matter had been resolved, saying there was no place for the degradation of women.

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“As a mother it is a huge concern that my own daughter can Google my name and find images of my face photoshopped onto the body of a near-naked woman,” she said in a statement.

“Young women need to see their female leaders taking a stand against sexism.

“Whether it is a smutty men’s magazine or in pages of the daily newspapers, there is no place for the degradation of women and the right of women to have views or opinions.”

No details about the total settlement has been released.

The magazine published the image in June 2012 along with the proposition that it “house the next boatload of asylum seekers in the Zoo office” if Ms Hanson-Young pose for a photo shoot in a bikini.

“We accept that the article was in poor taste. Senator Hanson-Young has made a significant contribution to asylum seeker policy in this country. We sincerely apologise for any hurt we caused,” Bauer Media’s statement said.

Ms Hanson-Young was at the heart of another scandal last week when she said she was spied on while visiting the asylum seeker detention centre at Nauru.

In a Senate Estimates Committee hearing on Thursday, the Senator said she had a feeling she was being watched.

“I didn’t know … that I was being watched when I was in my room, and that’s a pretty uncomfortable allegation to now become aware of,” she told ABC Radio.

“It’s totally wrong for this to happen,” she said.

Nauru detention centre
Nauru detention centre during reconstruction. Photo: AAP

A former staff member from the security firm which operated at the Nauru detention centre said during the Senator’s visit there was an organised program to spy on Ms Hanson-Young.

She was given a codename ‘Raven’ and had her room number and vehicle registration recorded, according to testimony given to the hearing.

Wilson Security responded to the allegations and denied they had the Senator under surveillance. “This activity was not authorised by Wilson Security,” the response said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott rejected the assertion that the actions amounted to spying.

“I don’t accept that characterisation [of surveillance]. I believe she was being, in fact, looked after while she was there,” he said on Friday.

Harsher words came from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who attempted to discredit the Senator’s statement.

“I have evidence that Senator Hanson-Young overstates every issue. She gets her facts wrong most of the time. And I just think you need to look at it in the light of experience with Senator Hanson-Young,” Fairfax Media reported Mr Dutton said.

“If she’s got evidence, produce it.”

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