[Torts] Defamation Law in Australia




1.0 Defamatory imputation

Imputations of fact which tend to expose the plaintiff to “hatred, contempt or ridicule” (Parmitter
v Coupland) or which tend to “lower him or her in the estimation of right-­‐thinking members of society in some respect” (Radio 2 UE) or which cause him or her to be “shunned and avoided” (Yousoupoff v MGM).

2.0 Standard

The standard to be applied is that of “right thinking members of society generally” (Radio 2 UE v Chesterton).
Failing to remove the statement
For a cause of action, the statement must be published to not just the plaintiff. There could be liability for failing to remove notices or graffiti (Byrne
v Deane) but there must be assumption of responsibility for the publication (Urbanchich v Drummoyne Council).
Repetition and republication
There is no defence to stay that one is simply repeating another’s defamatory comment (Stern
v Piper).

3.0 Reference to plaintiff

There must be a reference to plaintiff (Kasic
v ABC) and it is an objective question where intention is irrelevant (Hulton v Jones)
Defamation to a class
No specific reference to plaintiff is unnecessary if it is reasonably foreseeable that it referred to that plaintiff (Bjelke-­‐
Peterson v Warburton & Burns)
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Comments

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