David Leyonhjelm

The worst mistake you can make about Sky News and David Leyonhjelm's smear of Sarah Hanson-Young is to think it was some sort of inadvertent "line crossing", that a boundary had been overstepped in a robust exchange of ideas. Both Leyonhjelm and Sky News are in the same business, of selling the status of victimhood to aggrieved elites, and dressing it up as ideology to disguise the naked self-interest that motivates it.

Leyonhjelm has a long history of smearing people in the vilest terms, often using violent imagery. John Howard "deserved to be shot" for his gun laws. Police "can lie on the side of the road and bleed to death", he said. That he engaged in an attempt to slutshame Sarah Hanson-Young, peddling lies about her sexual history, both on the floor of the Senate and on television, shouldn't surprise. Nor should the ready enabling of Leyonhjelm by purported "outsiders" Rowan Dean and Ross Cameron; Dean, a painfully unfunny far-right "humorist" employed by Fairfax; Cameron a failed right-wing politician best-known for his extra-marital affairs and homophobic abuse.