A big defamation settlement was given to Pauline Hanson.
In a defamation case, the Federal Court said that Senator Pauline Hanson must pay a huge amount of money.
A Federal Court defamation decision says that Senator Pauline Hanson has to pay former senator Brian Burston $250,000.
The court said that Senator Hanson slandered Mr. Burston on the Today show on Channel 9 in 2019 when she said that he had sexually abused a female staff member.
Justice Robert Bromwich ruled on Wednesday that the accusations had done a lot of damage to Mr. Burston's reputation.
The decision says that Senator Hanson was wrong when she said that Mr. Burston had sexually abused a female colleague and that he had attacked the chief of staff for One Nation, James Ashby, in the Great Hall of Parliament.
"I find that both (imputations) were very bad for Mr. Burston's reputation. At the time, they were shown on a national TV show that over 290,000 people watched. "Both of them were wrong," Justice Bromwich wrote in his ruling.
Senator Hanson also said that Mr. Burston sexually harassed staff in his office and that this made the Senate look bad. Mr. Burston did not have enough evidence to show that these claims were also defamatory.
In his decision, Justice Bromwich said that he believed what other women who worked for Mr. Burston said about how he treated them when he was "objectively wrong and inappropriate" at times.
Justice Bromwich wrote in his decision that Mr. Burston had not kept up with the changes in society when it came to women's rights. "The tide has turned even more decisively in recent years, especially when it comes to the behavior of and around elected representatives and their staff," he said.
Wendy Leach and Terri-lea Vairy, who worked for Mr. Burston in 2018 and 2019, told the court about what it was like to work for him. Mr. Burston is now 74 years old.
Justice Bromwich said that he believed Ms. Leach's testimony that Mr. Burston had said to her, "Oh, Wendy, you probably just need a good f**k," at one point.
Ms. Vairy told the court that Mr. Burston would talk about how she looked and tell her she was "sexy." She also said that he allegedly kissed her on the lips "several times."
She said that after one work meeting, Mr. Burston "cupped" her face and kissed her "hard."
Justice Bromwich said that he liked the two women's stories about what happened much better than Mr. Burston's. He said that Mr. Burston "crossed an important line" by giving a story that he must have known was not true.
Sue Chrysanthou SC, a well-known defamation lawyer, was on Hanson's side in the case.
Senator Hanson thanked Ms. Leach and Ms. Vairy in a statement she released after the decision. She also said she was looking into the possibility of appealing the claim that was made against her.
"The main part of the case, which I won, was about a statement I made about sexual harassment of staff in February 2019," Senator Hanson said.
"I didn't name anyone in the Senate or later on social media or in interviews with the media. Mr. Burston said that he was the senator who was being talked about.
"The court decided that Mr. Burston sexually harassed two people who worked for him in his office. In doing so, the court accepted the honest testimony of two brave women who were willing to talk about what happened to them.