Australia’s Uniform Defamation Acts are changing. On 27 July 2020, the Council of Attorneys-General approved the Model Defamation Amendment Provisions. New South Wales recently became the first state to pass an amending act, with Victoria and others soon to follow. The amendments include the introduction of a serious harm threshold, a new ‘public interest’ test, a new ‘single publication rule’, amendments to the cap on damages and much more. A second stage of amendments is also under consideration, focusing especially on liability of digital platform operators for online publications.
In this session, those who appeared in some of the high-profile cases that prompted the reforms address the nature of the forthcoming changes and those still being debated, and their significance to the evolution of defamation law, freedom of expression and the changing media landscape in Australia.