ABC, Fairfax criticised by judge in Chau Chak Wing defamation case for using MP’s comments

A Federal Court judge has criticised the ABC and Fairfax for attempting to use comments made by a federal MP as proof allegations of bribery against Chau Chak Wing were true.The Chinese-Australian businessman and political donor is suing the two media organisations, as well as journalist Nick McKenzie, for defamation over a Four Corners program and accompanying online story published on June 5, 2017.

Mr Chau argues that among some of the imputations the story conveyed were that he bribed or was involved in a scheme to bribe the former president of the United Nations General Assembly, John Ashe.

The ABC and Fairfax wish to file a defence relying on, among other things, a May speech by the Federal MP Andrew Hastie in which he used parliamentary privilege to name Mr Chau as a co-conspirator in the Ashe matter.When that was raised in an interlocutory hearing on Wednesday, Justice Steven Rares said it was “extraordinary” that the media companies were “trying to use that as evidence of truth” and that is was an abuse of parliamentary privilege.”The fact that Mr Hastie wants to say something doesn’t prove anything,” he said.

Source: ABC, Fairfax criticised by judge in Chau Chak Wing defamation case for using MP’s comments – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)