Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young addresses the media during a doorstop interview. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Suing: Sarah Hanson-Young.

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has won a preliminary fight in her defamation battle with men's magazine Zoo Weekly, which published a picture of her head photoshopped on to a bikini model's body.

Senator Hanson-Young is suing the magazine over the picture, published in June 2012, which was accompanied by a caption in which the magazine said it would "house the next boatload of asylum seekers in the Zoo office" if she agreed to a "tasteful" bikini or lingerie shoot.

In a decision that paves the way for the matter to proceed to a jury trial next year, NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum on Monday dismissed an application by the publisher of the magazine, Bauer Media, to have the defamatory imputations claimed by Senator Hanson-Young struck out.

Senator Hanson-Young, a well-known asylum seeker advocate, has claimed the image and caption portrayed her as "a joke", "not a serious person" and as someone who was "justifiably exposed to ridicule".

She also said the piece suggested that being a sex object was the only thing she was good for.

Bauer Media had made an application to Justice McCallum to have these defamatory imputations struck out.

It claimed that the suggestion that Senator Hanson-Young was "not a serious person" was nothing more than a "rhetorical exhortation". It also argued that the ordinary reader would realise that the picture and caption were "facetious" and not to be taken seriously.

This was because they understood the "fast and loose" nature of the publication.

But on Monday, Justice McCallum found that all four of the defamatory imputations claimed by the senator "were capable of being made out".

"We expect our politicians to be serious," Justice McCallum said.

"To say of a politician that he or she is not serious does specify [defamatory] imputation of that politician which is capable of being considered to arise."

Justice McCallum also said that the publication was "reasonably capable of conveying that, by reason of her pro asylum seeker stance, the plaintiff was justifiably exposed to ridicule".

The decision comes after Justice McCallum previously rejected several of Senator Hanson-Young's other arguments, including that the article made her look incompetent and immature.

The judge noted the article associated with the complaint was "satirical and is calculated to hold the plaintiff up to ridicule, but it is difficult to say precisely what it imputed concerning the senator".

The matter will return to court in the coming months.

- with AAP