Journal article

THE COST OF LOSING THE CODE: HISTORICAL PROTECTION OF PUBLIC DEBATE IN AUSTRALIAN DEFAMATION LAW

Andrew T Kenyon, Sophie Walker

Melbourne University Law Review | MELBOURNE UNIV LAW REVIEW ASSOC | Published : 2014

Abstract

Defamation law in some Australian jurisdictions formerly provided strong protection for media publication on matters of public interest. In particular, the qualified protection defence in the Queensland defamation Code, introduced in the late 19th century, protected robust political debate. This article explores the common law origins of the Code defence, before considering its adoption elsewhere in Australia and its strength in operation. Notable judgments emphasised the defence's protection of widely published and forthright political speech. New South Wales removed the Code defence in the 1970s without any intention to weaken such protection. Soon afterwards, the defence was excluded from..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

Grants

Awarded by Australian Research Council


Funding Acknowledgements

BA (Oxf), LLM (NYU); Research Fellow, Centre for Media and Communications Law, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne. This research has benefitted from Australian Research Council funding (Kenyon, DP0985337). Thanks to referees for helpful suggestions and many thanks to Robin Gardner and colleagues at the Law Research Service, The University of Melbourne Law Library, for assistance.