Victorian Opposition Leader issues public apology as he settles defamation cases

The Liberal leader's apology signals a significant moment for women's rights, but John Pesutto's legal woes aren't over just yet.

Victorian Opposition Leader issues public apology as he settles defamation cases
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Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto has settled two out of three defamation cases, issuing a public apology to British women's rights campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen and Angela Jones on his website Friday morning.

In his statement, Pesutto now claimed he believes "access to single-sex spaces, services and sport warrant meaningful public discussion."

Keen expressed her gratitude, calling the apology "full and magnanimous."

"It’s an amazing step for Australian women. Today, they are a little safer speaking about the unthinkable things that are happening to them,she said in a YouTube statement

"This apology will give women just a morsel of comfort that they have a right to speak about this quasi-religious authoritarian cult known as transgenderism. The fullness of the apology and the recognition of the need to speak about violence against women and girls is a magnificent step forward."

The terms of the settlements remain confidential, leaving Pesutto with one remaining defamation case against Moira Deeming, set for trial in the Federal Court in September.

Pesutto has sought to resolve these cases out of court to avoid 'distractionsfrom his leadership duties. The Deeming affair has troubled him since March last year when he moved to expel her after she attended a Let Women Speak rally outside parliament.

Liberal Party insiders suggest his leadership could face renewed challenges depending on the legal outcomes. The trial is expected to see multiple MPs, including Pesutto, testify, which some Liberals fear could harm the party.

The case against Pesutto involves his media statements following the rally, which was disrupted by neo-Nazis. He accused Ms Deeming of Nazi links, leading to public backlash. 

Former premiers Jeff Kennett, Ted Baillieu and Denis Napthine are helping fund Deeming's legal battle after the Liberal Party declined financial support.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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