Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has threatened a lawsuit against a crossbench senator and two media organisations regarding comments about her sex life.
So far, letters have been issued to Melbourne radio station 3AW, Sky News and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm for comments made by Mr Leyonhjelm on Sunday, which Senator Hanson-Young has declared to be reprehensible.
Of the remarks, she said that they were “hurtful” and that “no woman” deserved the comments whether they are spoken publically or privately.
The public back and forth between the two senators started last Thursday when Senator Leyonhjelm told Senator Hanson-Young to “stop shagging men” whilst arguing in a parliamentary debate.
The remarks were made whilst the Senate was discussing whether or not to relax current importation restriction on pepper sprays, prompted by recent attacks on women in public.
Whilst appearing on the Sky New program with conservative commentators Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean, Senator Leyonhjelm doubled down on his remarks, refusing to apologise for them.
Senator Hanson-Young said that the added comments were a “sad reflection” on Australian society and that she was forced to take legal measures.
During an ABC interview, Senator Hanson-Young said that she was going forward with the lawsuit because she wanted to stand up on behalf of women who endure sexually disparaging comments on a routine basis in their work and home life.
However, Senator Leyonhjelm remains steadfast in the belief he did not speak anything that “warrants an apology” and has said that those critical of him need to reconsider his comments in the proper context.
He argues that he was only responding to Senator Hanson-Young specifically and was not referring to all women. He said that he responded to her claims that “all men are rapists” and that for him she was expressing a “double standard” when she was “obviously a normal woman who likes men”.
Senator Hanson-Young has since denied she made any comments suggesting that all men shared responsibility for rape. She said that to suggest she made those remarks “is simply a lie”.
Senator Leyonhjelm was asked whether or not he could understand why his Greens counterpart would find the comments offensive, but he chose to stand his ground.
He said that, if Senator Hanson-Young “chooses to take offence” then it was “her business”. He went on to say that his word “weren’t intended to be offensive to her” and that he could not see “any reason” why she found them offensive at all.