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Fresh defamation threat for Victorian opposition leader

Victorian MP Moria Deeming has served Liberal leader John Pesutto with another defamation concerns notice after she was expelled from the parliamentary party.


Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto is facing another threat of defamation from ousted Liberal MP Moira Deeming.


Lawyers for Mrs Deeming, who was expelled from the parliamentary party last month, issued a second defamation concerns notice to Mr Pesutto on Wednesday. 

The 16-page notice contains an itemised list of claims against the opposition leader, including that he publicly accused her of being a Nazi sympathiser and associate and used the allegation to threaten and bully her with expulsion.


"Mr Pesutto's accusations were false and seriously defamatory of Mrs Deeming personally and professionally and have caused serious harm to her reputation," reads the notice, obtained by AAP.


"She is entitled to substantial damages as a result."


Mr Pesutto has denied he accused the now independent MP of being a Nazi or having Nazi sympathies.


Mrs Deeming was originally suspended for nine months in March following her participation in an anti-transgender rally attended by neo-Nazis. 


She sent a separate defamation concerns notice to Mr Pesutto in the lead-up to her eventual expulsion on May 12. 


The latest notice touches on Mrs Deeming's attendance at the Let Women Speak rally, Mr Pesutto's initial failed motion to expel her, disputed meeting minutes and a recent statement from the United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women and girls.


It also lays out allegations a Liberal staffer sat outside Mrs Deeming's office in the lead-up to the March suspension, in what she considered a "transparent attempt to intimidate her" and other MPs who visited.


Wednesday's notice was written by Mrs Deeming's defamation lawyer Patrick George and addressed to Peter Bartlett, a Melbourne partner at law firm Minter Ellison.


To resolve the dispute, Mr George requests Mr Pesutto publish a pre-written apology to Mrs Deeming on his website and all social media accounts for 14 days, along with paying her compensation and legal costs.


Mr Pesutto's office declined to comment. 


The latest legal threat came after veteran Liberal MP Ryan Smith announced he was resigning, triggering a by-election in Melbourne's northeast.


The former Baillieu/Napthine government minister has been the member for Warrandyte for 16 years and his last day will be July 7.


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