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Published date: Tuesday, 26 February 2019
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The NSW-led process of reforming national defamation laws has reached another significant milestone with the release of the Council of Attorneys-General's (CAG) discussion paper, Attorney General Mark Speakman announced today.
"My counterparts from around the nation have agreed to the content of the discussion paper which will help inform submissions on defamation reform from media outlets, internet providers, social media platforms, lawyers and anyone interested in this important area of the law," Mr Speakman said.
"NSW's Defamation Act came into force before the social media explosion and so is in need of a digital makeover. The Act is based on national model defamation provisions adopted by all Australian jurisdictions."
The process of reform started with the release last year of the NSW Government's Statutory Review of the Defamation Act. Consistent with the timetable released at the end of January, the CAG's Defamation Working Party (DWP) is working towards having national defamation reform 'Parliament-ready' in June 2020.
"I'm confident that the DWP and CAG will work together efficiently to provide Australia with a cyber-age framework to protect reputations without placing undue burdens on responsible news reporting and freedom of speech," Mr Speakman said.
Feedback from the community and stakeholders will play a vital role in shaping the way national defamation laws function. This robust public consultation process is a crucial part of delivering defamation reform across Australia. The DWP will carefully consider every response before drafting amendments.
Submissions close on 30 April this year. Further public consultation is scheduled for the end of 2019, giving interested parties another opportunity to provide their input before reforms are finalised and available for enactment in 2020.
The discussion paper is available here: https://www.justice.nsw.gov.au/defamationreview
Feedback should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or Review of Model Defamation Provisions, Justice Strategy and Policy Division, NSW Department of Justice, GPO Box 31, Sydney, 2001.