Speaking to host Isaac Butterfield in a snippet from their podcast interview, FriendlyJordies – aka Jordan Shanks – summarised the defamation case brought against him by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
FriendlyJordies explained: “I am getting sued for the same reason that virtually every reason in this country gets sued – and that’s because we have the exact opposite laws to the US when it comes to defamation, where it’s up to me to prove that I told the truth as opposed to the US where you have to go into the courts and say ‘This person lied about me and I can prove it.'”
“This goes back to Lords and Ladies’ time,” he continued.
“It is the foundation of free speech in this country.
“It was based on the premise that free speech was specifically for Lords and Ladies, that’s why in this country … when you’re in parliament you’re allowed to say whatever the fuck you want.”
FriendlyJordies continued, “And it’s hard for anyone else to call you out on your bullshit, because you have parliamentary privilege.
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“And that’s one of the big tenements that’s coming up in this case at the moment- I’m not allowed to run a defence that it’s the truth … because that goes up against something called parliamentary privilege.”
He went on to add: “The odds are stacked against me, because it doesn’t matter if you tell the truth or not, what really matters is that they have enough money to keep it going in the courts until someone goes bankrupt or has to sell their house.”
Fans were quick to throw support behind FriendlyJordies, with one commenting on the video: “He represents the vast majority of us not only in establishing rights to free speech but in reminding political leaders that it’s not just billionaires that can shake the ground under them.”
Another added: “I really hope Jordies does win or it’ll set a precedent that we’ll never be able to shit talk politicians publically unless we want a Fixated Persons unit visit.”
Barilaro claims to have been defamed in two Friendlyjordies videos: bruz and Secret Dictatorship, published on YouTube in September and October last year.
As stated by Sue Chrysanthou, SC, Barilaro has argued that the videos in question incorrectly suggest he is “a corrupt conman”, “committed perjury nine times”, “acted corruptly by engaging in the blackmailing of councillors” and should be jailed for perjury.
Mr. Barilaro alleged that there are “other defamatory and/or offensive videos” made by Friendlyjordies “evidencing the conduct of a smear campaign”. These videos saw the comedian refer to Mr Barilaro included “fat, decadent conman”, “scum” and “dangerously incompetent”.
Meanwhile, the law firm representing Shanks, Xenophon Davis, has also posted an update which read: “Deputy Premier opposes application for his defamation action to be heard by a jury. Court denies a jury hearing.”
#BREAKING Barilaro v Shanks. Deputy Premier opposes application for his defamation action to be heard by a jury. Court denies a jury hearing.
— Xenophon Davis (@xenophondavis) August 31, 2021
They added: “On the upside…. Court accepted we can run a constitutional defence of implied freedom of political expression. And….. we are appealing against the ruling denying Jordan a truth defence because of parliamentary privilege.”
The case will return to court next month.