Senator Hanson-Young told the court Mr Leyonhjelm had elected to «double down and to seek to make this into some type of media circus. I felt like he thought it was funny.»
«It’s one thing to be in the chamber having a political debate; it’s another thing to step outside and have to deal with lies and smears and excuses that have nothing to do with the debate you are having,» she said.
The Greens senator said she had been subjected to «constant bullying and intimidation».
Senator Leyonhjelm has said his «stop shagging men» comment was in response to an alleged claim by Senator Hanson-Young that «all men are rapists». She denies making that claim.
In court documents, Senator Hanson-Young says she was defamed by the suggestion that she made such an «absurd» comment. She also argues Mr Leyonhjelm’s comments paint her as a «hypocrite» in that she «claimed that all men are rapists but nevertheless had sexual relations with them», and a «misandrist, in that she publicly claimed that all men are rapists».
Outside Parliament, Senator Hanson-Young had characterised Mr Leyonhjelm’s «stop shagging men» comment as «slut-shaming», although this is not directly part of her court case.
Giving evidence on Monday, Labor senator and former NSW Labor premier Kristina Keneally said she understood slut-shaming to mean using a person’s sexual activity as «a weapon in political debate».
Asked if she would consider it reprehensible to use a person’s sexual activity in this way, Senator Keneally said: «Yes, I don’t think it’s appropriate.»
She also said she believed people who heard Mr Leyonhjelm’s commentary may have formed a view that Ms Hanson-Young was a «narrow-minded, one-dimensional misandrist», which would have undercut her advocacy on behalf of women and children.
Mr Leyonhjelm’s barrister, Tony Morris, QC, told the court that when politicians say «unpleasant things about [one] another» it has «no impact on reputation if it is said by someone who is seen by the public to be in an enemy camp, and is seen to be the sort of rough-and-tumble that is part of political life».
Ms Keneally agreed that politics had become more aggressive and vituperative over time, but «it could also be the case that throwing mud, sometimes it sticks».
Senator Hanson-Young’s barrister, Kieran Smark, SC, said Mr Leyonhjelm had seen «fit to engage in something of a campaign against Senator Hanson-Young» via the media, but once politicians left Parliament they were not at liberty to make «any attack they might feel like».
«It’s not open season on politicians,» Mr Smark said.
Mr Leyonhjelm is relying on a defence of truth, among other defences. But Mr Smark said on Monday his client would call «a number» of senators, who would give evidence that they did not hear Senator Hanson-Young say «all men are rapists».
The hearing continues.
Michaela Whitbourn is a legal affairs reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Georgina Mitchell is a court reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.