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Independent MP sues Mark Latham over homophobic tweet

Independent MP Alex Greenwich is suing NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham for defamation.

Independent MP Alex Greenwich is suing NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham for defamation. Photo: TND

One Nation MP Mark Latham will have to defend in court a graphic tweet he posted after refusing to apologise for the homophobic slur.

NSW independent MP Alex Greenwich on Thursday flagged he would proceed with his threat to sue the NSW One Nation leader for defamation over the “extremely defamatory” tweet posted about him in March.

A deadline for Mr Latham, who has also referred Mr Greenwich to police, to apologise for the offensive tweet passed at 5pm on Wednesday.

Mr Greenwich said he had received a letter from Mr Latham’s lawyers saying they would not accept his offer to resolve the situation outside of court and “no apology has been received”.

“I know this is not going to be an easy process,” he said on Thursday.

“But when someone seeks to reduce you to being a sex act, continues those attacks on you and has a history of attacking the LGBTI community, enough is finally enough.

“I am not willing to take this or ignore this.”

Mr Greenwich, a former national convenor of advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality, will ask the court to award maximum general damages, amounting to about $421,000.

He will also seek aggravated damages on the grounds he had suffered ridicule, hatred and contempt. He said Mr Latham’s behaviour had “manifested into a great deal of attacks and abuse” directed at him.

“My office is inundated with abusive emails and, in some cases, threats that I’ve had to report to police as a result of Mr Latham’s ongoing commentary and sexualised attacks on me,” Mr Greenwich said.

While Mr Latham has deleted the tweet, he stood by the remark in a subsequent media interview.

In Mr Greenwich’s view, Mr Latham had implied he was a danger to children and made repeated attacks based on Mr Greenwich’s sexuality.

Mr Greenwich has instructed his lawyers to begin defamation proceedings. The claim is expected to be filed in the Federal Court “in the coming days”.

The tweet was condemned by politicians across the spectrum, including One Nation federal leader Pauline Hanson and NSW Premier Chris Minns, who said Labor would not work with Mr Latham to pass legislation in the upper house.

Mr Greenwich has also lodged a complaint of homosexual vilification and sexual harassment against Mr Latham with Anti-Discrimination NSW which is being investigated.

The One Nation MP is also being investigated by NSW Police after Mr Greenwich complained of being harassed online.

Mr Latham has referred Mr Greenwich to police for possible harassment offences.

Greenwich launches court action against Latham

The report relates to comments made after LGBTQI protesters required police protection from hardline Christian groups outside a church in March.

Mr Latham had been invited to the church hall meeting to speak on religious freedom and parental rights.

“Alex Greenwich MP used his social media to attack all aspects of my life [as a human being] as extremely dangerous and disgusting,” the former Labor leader posted to Facebook on Wednesday.

“Greenwich misused his carriage services in his attacks on me, saying that I had deliberately incited violence. In truth, I consistently condemned the violence.”

Senator Hanson said she stood by Mr Latham, despite earlier condemning his vile tweet. On Wednesday, Senator Hanson said she remained disappointed in the “disgusting” comments, but would seek more answers at a looming meeting with her NSW colleagues.

According to reports in The Sydney Morning Herald, Senator Hanson said Mr Latham was “doing an excellent job” representing One Nation’s interests in NSW.

“He’s got an eight-year term. So all I expect of Mark is to do the job that he’s been doing for the last four years and represent the people of NSW to the best of his ability,” she said.

The party leader said she considered Mr Latham’s conduct to be “inappropriate” but said it was not her role “to apologise for him.”

NSW Police on Thursday confirmed a report had been received by Surry Hills officers and inquiries were continuing.

– with AAP

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