• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

Lawyers for YouTube personality Jordan Shanks say defence will be in part based on deputy premier’s description of himself as ‘Pork-Barilaro’

Jul 8, 2021

New South Wales politicsLawyers for YouTube personality Jordan Shanks say defence will be in part based on deputy premiers description of himself as Pork-Barilaro
YouTube personality Jordan Shanks has filed a truth defence in his defamation case against the New South Wales deputy premier, John Barilaro, ahead of his first appearance in court.
Barilaro is suing Shanks, who uses the nom de plume Friendlyjordies in his popular YouTube videos, for defamation over a series of videos the Nationals leader claims are vile and racist and brought him into public disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt.
The case centres around videos released by Shanks in September and October 2020, including one filmed inside an Albury property owned by Barilaro which he rented on Airbnb.
Barilaro alleges both videos portrayed him as acting corruptly. In a defence filed in the federal court ahead of a directions hearing on Friday, lawyers for Shanks say they will argue a truth defence in part based on the deputy premiers description of himself as Pork-Barilaro.
The document, seen by Guardian Australia, says Shanks will in part plead truth in answer to Barilaros claim that the videos portrayed him as a corrupt conman. As part of its defence, Shankss legal team raised the NSW deputy premiers public statements about the expenditure of a $47m regional arts grant fund, which was overwhelmingly spent in Coalition seats.
Well my name is John Barilaro, call me Pork-Barilaro, and I have no apology because at the end of the day I will stand up and fight for our communities, Barilaro was quoted as saying in May last year.
The comment was a reference to the term pork barrelling, which means the use of government funds for projects designed to win votes.
The defence also lists a series of other government grants, including $78,000 which was given to the Monaro Panthers Football Club where Barilaro was the president for eight years and whose coach was a former business partner, and a $39m upgrade of a road in Oallen, NSW, which the document claims benefitted one of his properties.
Barilaro has sought aggravated damages against Shanks, claiming the videos contained vile and racist attacks against him and had brought him into public disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt. Shanks denies those claims in his defence.
In his defamation claim, Barilaro also alleges that Shanks defamed him by suggesting he committed perjury nine times and should be jailed.
Shanks is attempting to mount a truth defence and a defence of honest opinion to that claim.
But he says he cannot flesh out his defence without the court impeaching or questioning statements made in parliament, potentially breaching parliamentary privilege. He says he has asked Barilaro to waive parliamentary privilege, but the deputy premier has not yet done so.
Shanks solicitors have requested that the applicant waive parliamentary privilege in respect of the statements, and that he act expeditiously to seek to secure a waiver of parliamentary privilege from the NSW Legislative Council in respect of the statements, his defence states.
At the time of filing this defence, the applicant has not waived parliamentary privilege in respect of the statements, and has not secured a waiver of parliamentary privilege in respect of the statements from the NSW Legislative Council, and has not said that he will do so.
Shanks has also raised a contextual truth defence, arguing he can prove other imputations about Barilaro not raised in the deputy premiers defamation claim.
He says the bruz video also carried the imputation that the deputy premier wrongly blamed the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for the bushfires that devastated the state in late 2019 and early 2020, hypocritically voted against a royal commission into water theft, opposed a cull of brumbies in Kosciuszkonational park despite knowing the damage they cause, and failed to declare income from a property he lets through Airbnb and Stayz.
The contextual imputations are substantially true, his defence says.
We will be in touch to remind you to contribute. Look out for a message in your inbox in August 2021. If you have any questions about contributing, please contact us.