«We had a brief encounter but did not discuss or agree to anything.
«As politicians, it is usual for strangers to approach us. We did not have a meeting,» he said. He said Mr Hastie was with him during the encounter but did not have anything to say to Erikson.
When asked at a press conference on Tuesday, «have you ever met Neil Erikson?» Mr Hastie responded: «I don’t answer defamatory questions and I won’t get involved.» When further pressed what about the question constituted defamation, Mr Hastie did not respond.
Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Mr Hastie was «running away from telling the truth».
«Only today Mr Hastie avoided a question about this at his press conference – he’s literally been running away from telling the truth.
«It is now incumbent on Scott Morrison to enforce some standards in his party, and force Mr Hastie and Mr Goodenough to tell the whole truth about what they have been up to.»
Erikson, a high-school dropout, was found guilty of contempt of court relating to the ambush he staged against the Iranian-born Sam Dastyari at a pub in Melbourne last year, when he called the former Labor senator a «terrorist» and «monkey.»
During the stunt, Erikson wore a high-visibility vest belonging to his former employer Toll whom he worked for until 2014, and then again in 2017, before being sacked.
It is not his first conviction. He has also been convicted of stalking and racial vilification. Erikson has claimed in court that he was unfairly sacked by Toll when it emerged he was involved in a mock beheading, as part of a protest against a planned mosque.
Erikson was amongst a clutch of individuals and organisations Facebook banned from its platform, as well as Instagram, for using «dehumanising language» and in some instances calling for «organised hate.»
Latika Bourke is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in London.