On 25 February 2021 at 11.51 pm, refugee activist Shane Bazzi published a tweet on Twitter containing the words:
“Peter Dutton is a rape apologist.”refugee activist Shane Bazzi on Twitter
This tweet contained a link to an article published online in The Guardian Newspaper on 20 June 2019. The link in that tweet showed a large photograph of Mr Dutton, the name “The Guardian” and the following words:
“Peter Dutton says women using rape and abortion claims as ploy to ge…The Guardian Newspaper on 20 June 2019
Home Affairs minister says ‘some people are trying it on’ in an attempt to get to Australia from refugee centres on Nauru.”
The first of these lines comprised part of the headline to The Guardian article. The second constituted the whole of the first sentence in the article.
Dutton sued, and Bazzi denied the tweet was defamatory, and in the alternative also relied on the statutory defence of honest opinion and the common law defence of fair comment.