The Review of Model Defamation Provisions – Stage 2 Discussion Paper was the first step in the second stage of the review of the MDPs.
Part A of the Stage 2 Discussion Paper addresses the question of internet intermediary liability in defamation for the publication of third-party content.
Part B considers whether defamation law impacts reports of alleged criminal conduct to police and statutory investigative bodies and reports of misconduct to employers and professional disciplinary bodies.
View an accessible text-version of the Discussion Paper images
Attorneys-General sought written submissions in response to the Stage 2 Discussion Paper.
Submissions closed on Wednesday, 19 May 2021.
On 27 July 2020, the former Council of Attorneys-General (CAG) approved amendments to Australia's Model Defamation Provisions. This marked the culmination of the Stage 1 Review of the MDPs.
On 31 March 2021, Attorneys-General agreed that New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and all other jurisdictions that are able to do so will commence the Model Defamation Amendment Provisions 2020 on 1 July 2021, and remaining jurisdictions will commence those provisions as soon as possible thereafter.
The Model Defamation Amendment Provisions can be viewed on the Parliamentary Counsel Committee's website. Consolidated Model Defamation Provisions (as at 27 July 2020) including amendments in Model Defamation Amendment Provisions 2020 can be viewed here.
The amendments follow wide-ranging consultations with media companies, peak legal bodies, academics, digital platforms and lawyers who represent both plaintiffs and defendants. The CAG's Defamation Working Party considered more than 70 submissions (see below).
When enacted in state and territory legislation, the amendments will reset defamation law. They will improve the balance between protecting individual reputations and freedom of expression, particularly in matters of public interest.
Key changes include:
CAG also agreed to progress a second stage reform process focusing on the responsibilities and liability of digital platforms for defamatory content published online, as well as other issues Attorneys-General ask the DWP to consider.
The Model Defamation Provisions were endorsed in 2005 and each state and territory enacted legislation to implement the provisions. While responsibility for defamation law falls to individual states and territories, a national approach to reform is essential.
Led by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, the Defamation Working Party invited feedback on draft amendments to the Model Defamation Provisions [PDF, 234kb]. An unofficial consolidation [PDF, 441kb] was also prepared to assist review, which tracks the draft amendments to the existing Model Defamation Provisions.
The accompanying Background Paper [PDF, 455kb] explained the policy rationale for the proposed amendments and confirmed the position of the Council of Attorneys-General on each question raised in the Discussion Paper which was released in February 2019 [PDF, 700kb].
Read the submissions to the Model Defamation Amendment Provisions
Read the submissions to the Stage 1 Discussion Paper
Read the supplementary submissions