Court throws out Parke defamation claim

October 14, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Federal  Court in Adelaide has dismissed a defamation action by former Federal Labor Member for Fremantle Melissa Parke against the federal MP for Wentworth Dave Sharma.

Dave Sharma

In January this years, Melissa Parke launched defamation proceedings against  Dave Sharma over a tweet accusing her of antisemitism and ‘trafficking in conspiracy theories’.”

Today Dave Sharma told J-Wire: “I am pleased that Melissa Parke’s defamation action against me has been dismissed.

It is a defeat for Ms Parke and all those like her who would seek to stifle political debate in this country and shut down differing viewpoints. It is a victory for free speech.

Ms Parke’s action, which was without legal foundation, was a clear attempt to silence people who have the audacity to criticise or disagree with her viewpoint. I had no intention of giving in to such intimidatory tactics.

I stand by my comments that Melissa Parke’s inflammatory speech trafficked in antisemitism and conspiracy theories. In a free society, remarks such as these should always warrant scrutiny and criticism.

Ms Parke was forced by the Labor Party to withdraw as a candidate due to these remarks, and I am glad that at least her Labor colleagues recognised that such points of view have no place in mainstream political discourse.

Melissa Parke

I was looking forward to defending my remarks in court and was very confident of my prospects. Ms Parke’s statement today about the outcome of the proceedings is incorrect. The proceedings were dismissed. She gave up.

I will continue to call out and criticise comments which are antisemitic, racist, or otherwise intolerant and built upon prejudice, including by Ms Parke.

It is a great virtue of Australia, and to the betterment of our overall governance, that we allow free speech, free debate, and the free contest of ideas.

Attempts to silence such debate through legal means of intimidation have no place in Australia, and I am thoroughly pleased that this case has demonstrated as much.

I will continue to stand up and speak out against antisemitism in all its manifestations and attacks on the Jewish community. Such discourse has no place in Australia and should not be tolerated.”

Another defamation case brought by Melissa Parke against Dr Colin Rubenstein, the executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council remains ongoing.

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