Review of model defamation provisions

In June 2018, the Council of Attorneys-General agreed to reconvene the Defamation Working Party (DWP) under the Model Defamation Provisions Intergovernmental Agreement to consider the findings and recommendations of a recent statutory review of the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW).

The NSW Review concluded that, although the Act’s core policy objective—balancing freedom of expression and publication in the public interest, with protection of individuals from defamatory publications—remains valid, the Act would benefit from some amendment and modernisation.

The DWP—which is being led by NSW—is comprised of state and territory representatives.

A Discussion paper (PDF, 700 KB) was released by the Council of Attorneys-General, inviting submissions on defamation reform from media outlets, internet providers, social media platforms, lawyers and anyone interested in this area of the law.

Feedback from the community and stakeholders will play a vital role in shaping defamation laws in Australia. The DWP anticipated having national defamation reform legislation ready in June 2020.

More information is available on the NSW Department of Justice website. Further public consultation is also scheduled for the end of 2019, giving interested parties another opportunity to provide their input.

Submissions closed on 30 April 2019.