Defamation Amendment Bill 2021: Amendments to Uniform Defamation Laws in Australia - Have your say

The Tasmanian Government is committed to ensuring that public consultation processes are open and transparent and we are seeking your input on proposed amendments to the Defamation Act 2005 to implement national defamation reform.

Defamation Amendment Bill 2021

In 2018, the Attorneys-General of the States and Territories agreed to review the uniform defamation provisions.  Following the review and development of amendments to modernise and enhance the uniform defamation laws, the Council of Attorneys-General agreed in July 2020 to support the enactment of the Model Defamation Amendment Provisions 2020 (the MDAPs) by each State and Territory.

The MDAPs seek to strike a balance between the need to provide fair remedies for a person whose reputation is harmed by a publication and the need to ensure defamation law does not place unreasonable limits on freedom of expression, particularly about matters of public interest.

The MDAPs have been captured in the Defamation Amendment Bill 2021 (PDF, 538.2 KB). The Bill seeks to amend Tasmania’s Defamation Act 2005 to enact the uniform amendments.

The draft Bill proposes to insert new provisions into Tasmania’s Defamation Act 2005 that include:

  • Introduction of a single publication rule concerning the limitation period for multiple publications of the same defamatory matter by the same publisher or an associate of the publisher.
  • Creation of a serious harm element of a cause of action for defamation, to be determined by the judicial officer as soon as practicable before the trial commences.
  • Various amendments to clarify the concerns notice procedure and procedure for offers to make amends.
  • Introduction of a new public interest defence model.
  • Clarification of the operation of damages for non-economic loss.

Download the draft Bill: Defamation Amendment Bill 2021 (PDF, 538.2 KB).

Publishing submissions

Other than indicated below, submissions will be treated as public information and will be published on the Department of Justice website.

Submissions will be published once the Government’s consideration of submissions has concluded.

No personal information other than an individual’s name or the organisation making a submission will be published.

For further information, please read the Tasmanian Government Public Submissions Policy (external link).

Submissions

The submissions received are now available, other than those submissions, or parts of submission, which the Tasmanian Government Public Submissions Policy provides are not for publication. That includes submissions from exempt bodies; duplicate or updated submissions, personal, sensitive or offensive or defamatory information; information the submitter requested be confidential; information that does not substantively comment on relevant issues; or that would be exempt under the Right to Information Act 2009 or contrary to the Personal Information Protection Act 2004.

Accessibility of submissions

The Government recognises that not all individuals or groups are equally placed to access and understand information. We are therefore committed to ensuring Government information is accessible and easily understood by people with diverse communication needs.

Where possible, please consider typing your submission in plain English and providing it in a format such as Microsoft Word or equivalent.

The Government cannot however take responsibility for the accessibility of documents provided by third parties.

Important information to note

  1. Your name (or the name of the organisation) will be published unless you request otherwise.
  2. In the absence of a clear indication that a submission is intended to be treated as confidential (or parts of the submission), the Department will treat the submission as public.
  3. If you would like your submission treated as confidential, whether in whole or in part, please indicate this in writing at the time of making your submission clearly identifying the parts of your submission you want to remain confidential and the reasons why. In this case, your submission will not be published to the extent of that request.
  4. Copyright in submissions remains with the author(s), not with the Tasmanian Government.
  5. The Department will not publish, in whole or in part, submissions containing defamatory or offensive material. If your submission includes information that could enable the identification of other individuals then either all or parts of the submission will not be published.

The Right to Information Act 2009 and confidentiality

Information provided to the Government may be provided to an applicant under the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI). If you have indicated that you wish all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential, your statement detailing the reasons may be taken into account in determining whether or not to release the information in the event of an RTI application for assessed disclosure. You may also be contacted to provide any further comment.