Showing posts with label defamation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label defamation. Show all posts

Monday, 13 May 2019

This move by Murdoch’s News Corp has Scott Morrison’s political paw prints all over it

Standing in the shadows pulling the strings of those willing to make spurious or defamatory claims about a political opponent worked so well for the interim Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison in the past that he appears to be doing it again.

Last time the efforts of his political puppets cost News Corp tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs and like last time The Daily Telegraph is the Liberals vehicle of choice.

The smear campaign revealed……..

The Saturday Paper, 11 May 2019, excerpt:

Midweek, Murdoch’s Sydney tabloid The Daily Telegraph went for broke. On page one, it ran a story under the headline “Mother of invention”, and set out to destroy what it said was hailed as Shorten’s “election-winning moment”. It accused him of omitting the fact his mother went on to enjoy an illustrious career as a barrister. The paper said he had failed to disclose that his mother graduated law later in life “and [practised] at the bar for six years”. It said the Labor chief had only told half the family story. If that were the case, however, he left out the half that gives even more potency to his mother’s legacy.

One senior Liberal wondered who was the genius on their side who thought it a good idea to prompt the Telegraph’s ill-considered and cockamamie attack. Gallery journalists confirm the “Libs were shopping the story around on Tuesday”. 
Melbourne’s Herald Sun, unlike its Brisbane stablemate, The Courier-Mail, refused to take it. Scott Morrison played the innocent bystander. He told reporters it was a “very upsetting story” and he can understand that Shorten would have been “very hurt by it”. That was an understatement. The opposition leader was furious.

For 10 minutes during a half-hour press conference on Wednesday, Shorten spoke of his mother’s achievements. Fighting back tears, he told of a woman in her 50s with grey hair, who, even though she topped her law school, could not get a law firm to take her on for articles. When she eventually got to the bar, she struggled for briefs – “she got about nine briefs in her time”. Far from fulfilling her dream, as the Murdoch hatchet job claimed, she went back to education. The partisan attack on the Labor leader opened the way for him to hit back at one of the Liberals’ biggest vulnerabilities: their failure to promote more women through their parliamentary ranks. Their most high-profile and credible woman, Julie Bishop, has quit. She won’t be at the party’s Mother’s Day launch on Sunday to support Morrison, the man who blocked her run for the leadership. Shorten says the experience of his mother – “the smartest woman I’ve ever known” – is why he believes in the equal treatment of women.

News Corp sources say the Tele has another story on their news file to throw at Shorten. It is highly defamatory and legally dubious. The desperation that led to the attack on Shorten and his mother’s memory may give them pause to think about running it. As one Labor campaign worker says, “It’s difficult to know where the government ends and News Corp begins.” [my yellow highlighting]

Phase Two of the smear campaign.......

A scurrilous, below-the-radar whispering campaign has broken through onto social media.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Does the Nine-Fairfax merger mean the writing is on the wall for Alan Jones?

With an ageing listener demographic, big brand unhappiness with 77 year-old wannabee politician Alan Belford Jones’ bitter, angry, bigoted, biased on-air persona, a string of defamation payouts by 2GB on his behalf and, his radio contract coming up for renewal in June 2019, has Alan Jones finally reached his use-by date?

The Australian, 12 November 2018:

Alan Jones has been sensationally disciplined by the board and management of Macquarie Media, which refuses to confirm or deny if it has forced its star breakfast presenter to pay some of the costs of the multi-million defamation action brought against the company by the Wagner brothers.

And the 2GB breakfast announcer’s infamous interview with Sydney Opera House boss Louise Herron was “unbecoming and inappropriate”, bosses say.

Diary is told the board is unhappy with the top-rating veteran broadcaster over three incidents: the Wagner defamation case; the use of the racial epithet “nigger in the woodpile” when discussing Liberal leadership turmoil; and the aggressive Herron interview.

Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate told Diary: “Absolutely, we had a couple of big issues. As you would expect, the board and management have been very mindful about these things and ­decided to make sure they don’t happen again and that’s been done. Alan is a professional. He gets it.”

Tate dismissed talk that advertising revenues had suffered in the wake of the controversies. “Our revenues are good, ahead of last year and ahead of forecasts.”

The price of defame

After Jones’s repeated defamations of the Wagner family over the 2011 Lockyer Valley floods, which killed 12 people, 2GB was ordered to pay $3.75 million, the largest defamation payout in history after Queensland Supreme Court judge Peter Flanagan ruled the defamation was “extremely ­serious and of the gravest kind”.

Tate refused to comment to Diary if the board had forced Jones to contribute. At Macquarie Media’s annual general meeting last week, chief executive Adam Lang confirmed the station had ­insurance but he also refused to confirm or deny if the board had asked Jones to pay. “Whether Alan is paying or not, those are matters that we would like to keep within the company.” The legal ­action would cost Macquarie about $5m and “we are prepared for that” Lang said.

But legal sources put the total cost of the action much higher, ­between $8m and $10m. And other sources at Macquarie told Diary the board had demanded Jones pay some of the costs. One 2GB insider said board members snubbed Jones after a board meeting at the network’s Pyrmont studios.

At the AGM, Tate said: “We have learnt from this and there are new procedures and new rules and new training regimes in place ­including in the case of Alan.”
The company also told the AGM it had “dealt” with Jones over his widely criticised interview with Herron.

Shareholder and anti-gambling activist Stephen Mayne told the board the interview was an “outrageous breach of editorial standards”. Lang said: “I agree it was unbecoming and it was inappropriate. Many in the community including some internally were ­offended by the way in which he handled Louise Herron AM in that broadcast. We have dealt with that directly with Alan.”

Jones was enjoying record ­audiences, Lang said.

Macquarie Media is 54.5 per cent owned by Fairfax Media, whose chief executive Greg ­Hywood sits on the Macquarie Media board. Nine Entertainment is due to complete its takeover of Fairfax next month. How any of this ­affects negotiations over Jones’s contract, which expires mid-next year, remains to be seen.

Mr. Jones is now on indefinite leave due to ill health.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Tweets of the Week

* Between 28 October 2014 and 20 August 2015, 2GB Radio and Alan Jones published 30 broadcasts. Twenty-seven of these broadcasts conveyed 76 defamatory imputations of and concerning the Wagner brothers according to the Court*

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Mark Lathan’s defence of defamation dismissed

Excerpts from Federal Court of Australia, Faruqi v Latham [2018] FCA 1328, Defamation:

1.  The respondent’s defence dated 23 November 2017 be struck out.
2.  The applicant’s interlocutory application filed 14 December 2017 be otherwise dismissed.
3.  The respondent’s interlocutory application filed 11 December 2017 be dismissed.
4.  The respondent pay the applicant’s costs of and associated with the interlocutory applications referred to in orders 2 and 3.
5.  The parties jointly arrange for the matter to be listed for a case management hearing on the earliest date suitable to the parties and the Court after 28 September 2018……


1. What does the martyrdom of Christians in the Roman Empire between the reign of the Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus and Emperor Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus have to do with a defamation action commenced in Australia in 2017?  How could the persecution of ethnoreligious Huguenots in the French Kingdom during the French Wars of Religion of the Sixteenth Century be said to rationally affect the assessment of the probability of a fact in issue in a modern-day defamation action in which the defamatory imputations are said to be that the applicant knowingly assists terrorist fanatics who want to kill innocent people in Australia, or condones the murder of innocent people by Islamic terrorists, or encourages and facilitates terrorism  Could the fact of the segregation and ill-treatment of ethnic Negro people under the doctrine of Apartheid in South Africa between 1948 and 1991 reasonably be said to be relevant to the defences of justification, contextual truth, qualified privilege, honest opinion and fair comment pleaded by the respondent in that defamation action?

2. These and other equally beguiling questions are raised by the interlocutory applications filed by the parties in this matter.

Monday, 6 November 2017

US President Donald Trump can run but can he hide?

After months of fighting to have this court case go away US President Donald J. Trump is in the process of being forced to hand over documents relating to at least ten sexual assault allegations, as part of a defamation action.

This subpoena only became public in September 2017.

According to BuzzFeed on 15 October 2017:

Trump’s response to Zervos’s motion is due Oct. 31, according to Zervos’s attorney, Gloria Allred. In a statement Allred said: “We are hopeful that the court will deny President Trump’s motion to dismiss, so that we may move forward with discovery and obtain relevant documents and testimony.”

The original compliant and jury demand was lodged in the Supreme Court Of The State Of New York County Of New York in January 2017 as Summer Zervos v Donald J. Trump.


Trump's response has been reported in the media as characterising his allegedly defamatory statements, about private citizen Summer Zervos, as political opinion protected under the US Constitution.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The outcome of three complaints about newspaper articles

Australian Press Council dealing with unsubstantiated serious allegations and unfairness, lack of balance and inadequate remedial action:

Adjudication 1659: Complainant/WA Today (December 2015)The Press Council has considered a complaint about an article in WA Today on 9 May 2015 headlined “Bong claims Santa Maria teacher’s job: You’ve got to be toking?”, which was also posted by the publication on Twitter and Facebook.
The article referred to a teacher losing her position at a named Catholic girls’ school as a result of a “social media incident”, said to involve a photograph of her holding a bong . The incident had been referred to in a local radio station’s “Rumour File” segment. The WA Today article was accompanied by a stock image of a person apparently smoking a bong. That article suggested a topless photograph of the teacher may also have been behind the loss of her position.
The Council concluded that drugs played no part in the teacher’s resignation and accepted that no photograph of the teacher with a bong or topless existed. As the article had originated from the radio station’s “Rumour File” segment and the allegations were serious, the publication was required to take greater care to establish the facts. In addition, even after the school Principal's denials, the publication repeated the allegations and the article remained online without sufficient remedial action, despite concerns raised by the teacher.
The Council concluded that the publication failed to ensure accuracy and fairness in the initial article and subsequent revisions or to provide adequate remedial action and therefore found a breach of its Standards of Practice.
The Council accepted there is public interest in highlighting the impact of social media on individuals’ professional lives. However, the inaccuracy in the headline and the reporting of unsubstantiated serious allegations that intruded upon the teacher’s privacy and caused her significant distress were not justified in this public interest. Accordingly, the Council also found a breach of its Standards of Practice in this respect.

Adjudication 1652: Paul Lynch/AAP (October 2015)The Press Council has considered a complaint by NSW Labor MP and Shadow Attorney General Mr Paul Lynch about an article published by AAP on 5 February 2015 headlined “Labor MPs at pro-Russian rebel event” which related to his attendance at the 24th St Sava Youth Festival at the Serbian Cultural Club.
The article referred to the event as “a meeting organised in support of pro-Russian separatists”. It said the meeting was attended by Mr Lynch and others, including Mr Semyon Boikov the “leader” of the Zabaikal Cossack Society of Australia, and that Mr Boikov spoke “calling for a swift victory in Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists”.
The Council considered the description of the event as being “in support of Pro-Russian separatists” was not accurate. The terms used, including the word “meeting”, implied that Mr Lynch was party to the pro-Russian separatist sentiment. The focus on Mr Lynch’s attendance was compounded by the failure to mention the many other attendees and, as a result, the event was not reported with reasonable fairness or balance. The failure by the publication to seek more accurate information about the event from other sources or to provide more time for the complainant to respond resulted in the material not being presented with reasonable fairness and balance. Accordingly, the Council found a breach of its Standards in this respect.
The Council also noted the revised version, “NSW: Anger as MP poses with man on ASIO list”, maintained a focus on pro-Russian separatist elements and described the event as a “meeting” rather than a traditional St Sava celebration. The revised article also failed to correct inaccurate and unfair aspects of the original article. Accordingly, the Council also found a breach of its Standards about adequate remedial action.

The NSW legal system dealing with a defamation claim……….

On 7  October 2010 The Sydney Morning Herald published an article which began; Dozens have been sued, felt harassed to work longer hours or otherwise fallen foul of Australia's richest doctor, writes Natasha Wallace.

In November 2010 the named millionaire doctor sued Fairfax Media Pty Ltd and others for defamation and injurious falsehood. The matter winding its way through the courts to a conclusion in late June 2015 with both claims struck out.

In September 2015 The Sydney Morning Herald published the doctor’s death notice.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Australian journalist Andrew Bolt and News Corp get their comeuppance

Although News Corp tried to spin the outcome of this defamation case reported in The Age on 2 March 2015, the first judgment (set out below) delivered in this matter clearly shows why it had to settle.

Human rights lawyer George Newhouse has won his defamation case against controversial News Corp blogger Andrew Bolt. In the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Lucy McCallum ordered a verdict for Mr Newhouse and said News Corp was to pay his legal costs. The terms of the order - agreed to by both parties - requires the article to be taken down from News Corp's various online sites. Other terms of the settlement are confidential….In the final orders the defendants were listed as Nationwide News, Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times…. A spokesman for News Corp said: "The matter has settled and therefore did not proceed to trial so there was no judicial determination of the issues in dispute." [The Age 2 March 2015]

Last Updated: 11 March 2015

Before: McCallum, J
Parties: George Newhouse (Plaintiff)
              News Ltd (First Defendant)
              Andrew Bolt (Second Defendant)


1. HER HONOUR: These are proceedings for defamation commenced by Mr  George Newhouse  against News Limited. Mr Newhouse sues that entity as the alleged publisher of articles published in various media forums held within the News corporate group.
2. The proceedings are governed by Practice Note SC CL 4 and this is the first listing. The Practice Note states that, at the first listing of an action for defamation, the defendant is expected to state whether publication is in dispute and, if it is, to state why.
3. In correspondence in response to the Statement of Claim, News Limited has disputed that it is liable as a publisher of the matters complained of. The letter states:

"Take notice that News Limited is not the publisher of either the print or on-line versions of the Herald Sun, the Daily Telegraph and”

4. Ms Chrysanthou, who appears for Mr Newhouse, submitted (correctly, in my view) that it was incumbent upon News Limited to state the reason it contends it is not properly named as a publisher of the matters complained of in circumstances where it is, as a matter of public record, the registrant of and, further, where that website identifies News Limited as the holder of the copyright of material appearing on the site, with the necessary implication that it authorises whatever entity it says is the publisher to publish that material.
5. Prima facie, each of those contentions taken together would appear to bring News Limited within the scope of person liable for publication as that term is apprehended in the decision of High Court in Webb v Bloch [1928] HCA 50; 41 CLR 331. I think, however, that Mr Lewis, who appears for News Limited, adequately discharged the obligation identified in the practice note in the submissions he made today. What the plaintiff chooses to do with the information given is a matter for him.
6. Ms Chrysanthou foreshadowed an application for leave to interrogate on that issue, noting the attractive simplicity of there being a single defendant to the proceedings in the circumstance of multiple entities having responsibility as "the publisher" for multiple electronic places for publication. It may well be that a respectable case could be made for leave to interrogate in those circumstances.
7. The substantive argument heard today was a series of objections taken by the defendant to the imputations pleaded by Mr Newhouse. The parties agreed that those objections could be determined by reference to the first matter complained of, the second and third matters complained of being in substantially the same terms, save for the headline.
8. The article was written by Mr Bolt, a journalist employed by The Herald Sun. Broadly speaking, the article addresses Mr Bolt's views as to the position taken by a group, to whom he refers to as "the refugee lobby", concerning the Australian Government's treatment of asylum seekers.
9. The first matter complained of appeared under the headline, “Fearmonger's Hateful Fraud”. Ms Chrysanthou submitted that, under that headline and in light of what follows, the article may be seen to be focussed on the conduct of “the refugee lobby” of which Mr Newhouse is clearly identified in the article as a member.
10. The first imputation is (a):

“that the plaintiff, a lawyer, has fraudulently represented to the public that people whom he represents are refugees when they are not”.

11. Mr Lewis submitted that the imputation is incapable of arising from the matter complained of for a number of reasons. The first was the contention that the matter complained of is:

"An opinion piece highlighting that despite the refugee lobby arguing that the Abbott Government breached its human rights obligations, Australia properly returned 41 Sri Lankan boat people to Sri Lanka as they were economic migrants and not genuine asylum seekers."

12. That may be Mr Bolt's opinion, and it may well be one that emerges from a reading of the article, but it does not follow logically, or at all, that that is the only thing the matter complained of says. I have previously observed that it is commonly objected in this List that a defamatory article does not say A because it says B. That argument rarely succeeds unless it is sustained by what can be characterised as a true dichotomy. The present article says a lot more than is contained in the submission put by Mr Lewis.
13. The submission comprehended the proposition that the term "fraudulently" usually denotes "intending to deceive." That much may be accepted. I am of the view that the matter complained of is plainly capable of conveying the meaning that Mr Newhouse intended to deceive by the representation that his clients were refugees. As submitted by Ms Chrysanthou, the whole thrust of the article is to expose the fraud of that representation. That emerges from a number of statements in the matter complained of, including the following:

"The outrage over the forced return of 41 Sri Lankan boat people has been exposed as a fraud by the asylum seekers themselves."

14. As submitted by Ms Chrysanthou, the article plainly focuses on the proposition that those like Mr Newhouse, who purport to stand on the high moral ground protecting asylum seekers, are in fact engaged in a fraud on the public. A similar theme emerges from a number of the statements in the balance of the article.
15. Mr Lewis also sought to seek comfort from the fact that the article focusses on the alleged fraud relating to the 41 people returned to Sri Lanka, whereas Mr Newhouse is identified in a different context as having appeared for the 153 people for whom he obtained an injunction in the High Court. I think the distinction is one that would not necessarily be drawn as distinguishing him from the criticisms levelled by Mr Bolt in the article. Certainly, on a capacity basis, I do not think that distinction precludes the imputation from being capable of arising. In my view, the imputation (a) is capable of arising.
16. The second objection is that the imputation is imprecise or bad in form. Specifically, it was complained that the imputation does not distil precisely what it is that the plaintiff is said to have done fraudulently and what representations he is said to have made to the public. I do not accept that submission. The imputation plainly specifies that the representation attributed to Mr Newhouse is that “boat people” whom he represents are refugees. The objections to imputation (a) are accordingly rejected.
17. Imputation (b) is:

"The plaintiff, as a lawyer, has lied to the High Court in order to obtain a temporary injunction of his clients.”

18. The specific part of the article dealing with Mr Newhouse's involvement in proceedings in the High Court states:

"Mr Newhouse and barrister Ron Merkel QC have persuaded the High Court to issue a temporary injunction against returning these 153 to Sri Lanka and the same superheated rhetoric is heard about torture, the ‘disappeared’ and Nazis.”

19. The article then asks, rhetorically, whether those boat people are any more likely to be true refugees than the 41 Mr Bolt describes as having been rightly returned to Sri Lanka, and answers unequivocally "no". Whilst the paragraph I have set out does not, in terms, accuse Mr Newhouse of lying to the High Court, in my view the overall tenor of the article, which is to expose the “fraud” of persons in the lobby in which Mr Newhouse is named to participate, does at least on a capacity basis give rise to an imputation of deliberate dishonesty in what was said to the High Court. The article is written in strident terms and concludes with a plain allegation of dishonesty, as follows:

“So if a crime against morality has been committed, it is surely this: that so many atrocity mongers and moral posers have inflicted upon us a gigantic fraud."

20. I accept, as submitted by Ms Chrysanthou, that in the context of the article as a whole, that paragraph plainly refers to Mr Newhouse. The lying imputation is in my view capable of arising.
21. Imputation (c) is:

“The plaintiff is despicable in that he has made fraudulent representations to the public about his clients being refugees.”

22. For the reasons stated in respect of imputation (a), I am satisfied that the imputation is capable of arising. A separate objection is that the imputation is bad in form because the word "despicable" does not distil precisely what it is said the plaintiff is said to have done fraudulently and what representations he is said to have made to the public.
23. I have already dealt with the imprecision objection to imputation (a). In my respectful opinion, the term ‘despicable’ neatly distils precisely what it is the article says of the character of a man who would make such a representation. The form objection must be rejected, in my view.
24. Finally, it was objected that imputation (c) does not differ in substance from imputation (a).
25. Mr Lewis relied on the decision of the Simpson J in Griffith v Australian Broadcasting Corporation [2002] NSWSC 86, where her Honour suggested that the appropriate test is to consider what the matter complained of is really saying. Her Honour concluded in that case that an inspection of the matter complained of revealed:

"When they are read in the proper context of the matter complained of, it can be seen that the two imputations are no more than different ways of complaining of the same message."

26. I think, on balance, however, that Ms Chrysanthou is right in contending that, whereas imputation (a) identifies an act attributed to Mr Newhouse, imputation (c) identifies the condition one would attribute to a person who engages in that act. I am satisfied that the two imputations do differ in substance and each can properly stand.
27. Imputation (d) is:

"The plaintiff, a lawyer, is motivated by deceit in representing boat people from Sri Lanka."

28. In one passage of the matter complained of, Mr Bolt describes statements made by the asylum seekers themselves as "conclusive proof that our refugee lobby is motivated by deceit, self-pruning and self-hatred of the Abbott Government."
29. The basis for the defendants’ objection appears to be that, although named three times in the matter complained of, Mr Newhouse somehow escapes inclusion in the class of people referred to as belonging to the refugee lobby. In my view, imputation (d) is plainly capable of arising.
30. Separately, it was objected that the imputation is imprecise and bad in form. For my part, I do not have any difficulty understanding what condition is attributed to Mr Newhouse as captured in the imputation. The objections to imputation (d) must be rejected.
31. Imputation (e) is:

“that the plaintiff, a lawyer, has acted immorally in his representation of the Sri Lankan boat people.”

32. That imputation is plainly capable of arising, having regard to the concluding paragraph of the article, to which I have already referred.
33. I do not think it is bad in form. In my view, it plainly differs in substance from imputations (a) and (c). I do not accept Mr Lewis' submission that the notion of being fraudulent means the same thing as being despicable or immoral. It follows that the defendant's objections to the plaintiff's imputations are rejected.
34. A separate issue was raised in the correspondence as to the need for the plaintiff to provide particulars of the persons or any person who downloaded, viewed and comprehended the first matter complained of. I understood Mr Lewis to put a submission that no reader of The Daily Telegraph comprehended the article and that may be so. In any event, the parties propose to engage in correspondence as to what further steps should be taken by the plaintiff to address that issue.
35. The plaintiff, having been entirely successful in respect of the objections to his Amended Statement of Claim, seeks his costs of the argument.
36. Mr Lewis, who appears for News Limited, noted that the Practice Note contemplates an exchange of correspondence in which a plaintiff pressing an imputation in the face of an objection will, where appropriate, state brief reasons for doing so. The chronology of the exchange of correspondence in the present matter, coupled with my view as to the strength of the imputations and the merit of the objections, persuades me that although the plaintiff's response was brief, bordering on curt, he is nonetheless entitled to the costs of the argument today.
37. I order the defendant to pay the plaintiff's costs.

Monday, 9 March 2015

An aide memoire for Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey in relation to his reported statement to the Federal Court

The Guardian 9 March 2015:

When asked about tweets he sent critical of former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd including “Access to Rudd, for a price”, Hockey said he didn’t write all his tweets and there were several fake Twitter accounts in his name. He struggled to remember his Twitter handle.

Mr. Hockey, your official Twitter handle has been @JoeHockey since January 2009 and this is the tweet you sent out on 17 July 2013:

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Social media users and journalists may find 2015 brings a definite atmospheric chill courtesy of a far-right Tasmanian Government

Not content with passing the Workplaces (Protection From Protesters) Bill 2014 15 of 2014 which only impacts on people who are actually in Tasmania, the Hodgman Coalition Government has turned its eye towards reforming the state’s defamation laws in such a way that bloggers, tweeters, Facebook aficionados and professional journalists all around Australia will be able to be sued by large corporations as a way of ending public scrutiny of these commercial entities.

Mercury News 11 January 2015:

NATIONAL groups representing Australia’s journalists and lawyers have vowed to take on the Tasmanian Government over its controversial new defamation laws.
The proposed laws will make Tasmania the only state in the country to allow companies to sue individuals for defamation to protect businesses from “dishonest campaigns”.
But journalists’ union federal secretary Christopher Warren says the laws will kill freedom of speech and make it impossible for journalists to do their job.
High-profile social media commentators across the country have labelled the laws “a national disgrace”.
Mr Warren said journalists who made corporations accountable for their actions would be the target of those trying to sue.
The laws could also affect anyone commenting on news stories on websites or in letters to the editor, or reporters filing in other states.
“Someone in Broome might write something about a corporation that may not operate in Tasmania but could be subject to being sued in Tasmania,” he said.
“It will have the impact of killing freedom of speech.”
Mr Warren said the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance would be raising its concerns with Tasmanian Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin.
Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman and Mercury columnist Greg Barns said his group was looking into whether the laws would be constitutional.
“It will just get used for SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) writs on your opponents just to shut them up,” he said.
Dr Goodwin yesterday told the Sunday Tasmanian the laws were not aimed at media organisations.
“While the detail is yet to be finalised, these changes aren’t and won’t be aimed at the media,” Dr Goodwin said.
“They are aimed at groups who deliberately spread misinformation about Tasmanian businesses, costing jobs.”
But Mr Warren, whose union represents various media professionals, said the laws would make Hobart the “defamation capital of Australia” because companies will use the state as the place to launch defamation suits.
Dr Goodwin said the changes would restore laws to Tasmania that existed before 2006.
Uniform national laws were enacted in 2006, in part to stop individuals from “jurisdiction shopping” and picking the state they felt was going to give them the greatest chance of winning or the greatest reward……

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Treasurer Joe Hockey claims he is suing Fairfax because "as a result of the articles, published on May 5, he has been "greatly injured, shunned and avoided and his reputation has been and will be bought into disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt"*

 "his reputation has been and will be bought into disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt"*

Gee, and I thought I felt that way about Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey because of the House of Representatives’ Hansard record for 13 May 2014, contents of the 2014-15 Budget Papers, his post-budget speech at the National Press Club and later performance on the ABC TV program Q&A.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Whichever way one looks at it, Murdoch, Kroger and Abbott have egg on their faces

The Age 5 August 2013:
News Ltd has publicly apologised to a former student politician who was branded a serial liar by Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger after she had accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of physically intimidating her.
In a remarkable twist that could reignite debate about Mr Abbott's alleged punching of a wall after losing a student election in the late 1970s, News Ltd's barrister read an extended apology in the NSW Supreme Court on Monday on behalf of The Australian to the alleged victim of the intimidation, Barbara Ramjan, as part of a settlement of a defamation action. 
In an essay by former Fairfax Media journalist David Marr, released last September, Ms Ramjan said that in 1977, after she beat Mr Abbott for the presidency of the Sydney University Student Representative Council, he put his face close to hers and punched the wall either side of her head.
Mr Abbott denied the incident occurred and a few days later, Mr Kroger described Ms Ramjan in The Australian and on radio and television as a serial manufacturer or false complaints, "a nutter", and "a nobody"…..