An Australian Senate committee said the minister could not credibly deny accusations of age discrimination by using his age as a reason to explain the decision to reject the proposition.
But months later, six of his Australian Senate colleagues boycotted his party’s annual summer conference, calling him “a liar” and claiming his reason for leaving stemmed from hatred for the leadership of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
His colleagues even organized a private meeting in an effort to confront him about it, The Australian newspaper reported.
After two days of heated exchanges, including accusations of sexism and political bullying, Mr. Dutton left the meeting with Mr. Turnbull’s deputy and deputy Liberal leader, Julie Bishop, whose position was taken by Ms. Bishop after Mr. Dutton made a move for her job. The prime minister eventually relinquished his job to Scott Morrison.
The then-minister of agriculture was then moved to the role of immigration minister.
Mr. Dutton’s defamation case began after he ran into controversy in October, after a column by The Australian’s Adrian Searle alleged he “is a PR-savvy demagogue and a serial liar” and that he dismissed past age discrimination claims by exaggerating them, saying “I want to claim only what is fully substantiated.”
During the trial, Mr. Dutton said he “devastated” by the article, but also that he “fell back” on remarks he had made about sexism in the Senate committee hearing that day when he left because he “wanted to express my unhappiness about the article.”