The NSW Government has tabled a report in State Parliament recommending a long-overdue overhaul of uniform defamation laws, more than six years after it was originally due to be released.
The last comprehensive national review of defamation laws was undertaken in 1979. The current review of legislation, announced by Attorney-General Mark Speakman in June, was statutorily required to be carried out in NSW “as soon as possible” after the fifth anniversary of the Defamation Act in 2011.
“There’s been a huge rise in defamation cases involving publications on social media sites in recent years, which is why we need the laws to be more tech-savvy,” said Speakman.
The new legislation is expected to specifically address cases of social media and online defamation, which have increased dramatically over recent years. A study published in March of Australian defamation cases between 2013-2017 by the University of Technology, Sydney found 51.3 per cent of the 189 cases involved digital publications such as tweets, emails, Facebook posts and news websites.