By and -

Key decisions

  • Bazzi v Dutton [2022] FCAFC 84
  • viagogo AG v Australian Competition and Consumer Commission [2022] FCAFC 87


Whether primary judge erred in finding that tweet conveyed a particular imputation – whether ordinary reasonable reader would understand that tweet conveyed a particular imputation – tweet to be read as a whole and did not convey the claimed imputation

Bazzi v Dutton [2022] FCAFC 84 (Rares, Rangiah and Wigney JJ)


On 25 February 2021 the appellant, Shane Bazzi, published a tweet on Twitter about the then Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Peter Dutton MP containing the words: ‘Peter Dutton is a rape apologist’.

The tweet included a link to an article published online in ‘The Guardian’ newspaper on 20 June 2019. The link in the form of the tweet comprised 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…
Home Affairs minister says ”some people are trying it on” in an attempt
to get to Australia from refugee centres on Nauru.’

The tweet remained on Twitter until about 9 April 2021 and reached 1,221 readers.

Mr Dutton sued Mr Bazzi for defamation and those proceedings are the subject of Dutton v Bazzi [2021] FCA 1474. In that action, the primary judge found that the tweet conveyed the imputation that Mr Dutton excuses rape (‘Imputation’) and Mr Dutton was entitled to damages of $35,825, inclusive of interest. The primary judge rejected Mr Bazzi’s defences of honest opinion under s 31 of the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) and fair comment on a matter of public interest at common law.

Mr Bazzi appealed to the Full Federal Court of Australia on the sole ground that the primary judge erred in finding that the tweet conveyed the Imputation. There was no challenge to the primary judge’s findings on Mr Bazzi’s defences.

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