Mark Latham’s lawyer defends ‘crass and vulgar’ tweet


Mark Latham Alex Greenwich
NSW MPs Mark Latham and Alex Greenwich. Image: ABC, Bloomberg

A tweet that prompted independent MP Alex Greenwich to sue Mark Latham was “crass and vulgar”, but not defamatory, Latham’s lawyer has argued.

Greenwich launched defamation proceedings against Latham in May last year following a graphic and homophobic tweet by the ex-One Nation NSW leader.

The Twitter exchange occurred in the aftermath of a March 2023 rally when LGBTQIA+ protesters were targeted with violence outside a Sydney church Mr Latham was scheduled to speak at.

In response,  Mr Greenwich commented on a news article about the incident, including a description of Mr Latham as “a disgusting human being”.

Latham replied by tweeting homophobic remarks referencing gay sex. Mr Greenwich, who has been an openly gay MP for more than a decade, described it as highly offensive and homophobic.

The defamation action also refers to comments Latham made about Greenwich in a Daily Telegraph story in April.

Mr Greenwich has claimed the comments implied he was not fit to serve in the parliament “because he goes to schools to groom children to become homosexual”.

Lawyer argues homophobic tweet is not defamatory 

However, Mr Latham’s lawyer is arguing that while the tweet was “vulgar” it does not meet the definition of defamatory.

“What we say globally is that Mr Latham’s tweet may have wounded Mr Greenwich, but it didn’t wound his reputation,” Kieran Smark SC said.

“Those words are vulgar and shocking.

“…When it comes to serious harm, we can see a kind of … almost universal revulsion at the primary tweet, but that does not directly mark it as defamatory.”

The court also heard Mr Greenwich was subjected to death threats and hate mail from members of the public, experienced panic attacks and a reluctance to attend large events, and was questioning whether he should continue his political career.

The hearing was initially scheduled to run into next week but is expected to conclude today.

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Sarah Davison
Sarah Davison

After working in print and radio, Sarah has joined the team at QNews to expand their coverage into South Australia. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Masters in Journalism, Media, and Communications. Get in touch: sarah@qnews.com.au

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