News National Sarah Hanson-Young claims ‘win for all women’

Sarah Hanson-Young claims ‘win for all women’

Sarah Hanson-Young says her successful defamation action against David Leyonhjelm is a victory for all women.
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Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has hailed her $120,000 defamation case win as a victory for all women.

The Federal Court previously heard that at the conclusion of a Senate vote in June 2018, upper house colleague David Leyonhjelm told Senator Hanson-Young that she should “stop shagging men”.

In a subsequent media statement, Mr Leyonhjelm claimed he had made the comment in response to an interjection by Senator Hanson-Young along the lines of “all men are rapists”.

Senator Hanson-Young, who successfully sued Mr Leyonhjelm for the remark, hopes the outcome will encourage more women into federal Parliament.

“It’s about letting young women know they have a right to be represented in this building,” she told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Senator Hanson-Young, who shed tears after speaking to reporters, said she was relieved it was over.

“My daughter of course is relieved that it’s over; she’s a big part of why I did this,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

Mr Leyonhjelm was yet to contact her since the settlement but she hoped one day he would apologise for his comments.

Senator Hanson-Young said she wanted to make Parliament a battle of ideas, not a battle of someone’s gender, sex lives or body image.

“Why would a woman want to be in politics if this is how she’d be treated,” she said.

Sarah Hanson-Young launched legal proceedings against David Leyonhjelm in August last year. Photo: ABC

She’ll be aiming to get more young women into politics on the back of this settlement.

“I know that it’s very hard to get a case like this together, I found it difficult,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

She said she couldn’t imagine what it would be like for others, in positions less privileged than hers, to speak up.

“This sends a very strong message: you have a right to speak out, you have a right to be respected … this win is for you.”

Writing in The Guardian, Senator Hanson-Young stated it was “an important day for this Parliament to draw a line under this behaviour.

“As members of Parliament we should actually be leading by example and setting the standard for the rest of society.”

-with AAP