Melbourne, July 10: Victoria’s opposition spokeswoman for multiculturalism and South Eastern Metro MP Inga Peulich has accepted an apology from The Australian and Prasad Philip, published on Thursday 23 June in The Australian.
This brings an end to an unfortunate episode involving Ms Peulich and Prasad Philip, a Keralite Indian by descent, who was being sued for defamation by Ms Peulich, over the alleged comments Mr Philip claimed she had made at a party meeting, which were published in the Australian in July 2016. In those comments, Mr Philip had alleged Ms Peulich had racially abused him and vilified him as an Indian.
Ms Peulich had “completely and categorically” rejected the allegations “as untrue and malicious” and had instigated defamation proceedings against Mr Prasad Philip and The Australian in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
In response, Mr Philip stood his ground as The Australian quoted him saying in a follow up article “What I said was the truth, so I will not be retracting my comments”. “This lawyer’s letter, I think it could be just a threat to try to intimidate me”.
Ms Peulich however, on her part, always maintained her position that she did not make any comments disparaging to Mr Philip or to the Indian community.
Ms Peulich has had a strong bond with the Indian community over the years. And as Bharat Times reported in our cover story in January this year, Ms Peulich had a very strong and unconditional support of many leaders and members of the Indian community who were prepared to go to court to testify in her favour.
Almost a year later, on June 23, The Australian has published an apology saying that “Mr Philip now accepts Ms Peulich did not make any racist remarks to Mr Philip or racially bully him. Mr Philip and The Australian apologise to Ms Peulich”.
In a media release Ms Peulich emailed to Bharat Times, she welcomes the publication on Thursday 23 June of an apology from The Australian and Prasad Philip.
“As a person who migrated to Australia from Bosnia and Herzegovina as a child, as an MP and now Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs in the Victorian Parliament, such allegations are serious and the effect of this smear on my family has been both hurtful and distressing,” Ms Peulich said.
“The allegations have taken a toll on my family, my elderly mother in particular.
“I would like to thank all of those friends, supporters, and members of the community, including our multicultural communities, for their support and encouragement during this time.
“It is a period of my life that I am glad to put behind me,” Ms Peulich said.