"The reformed defamation laws came into effect on July 1 in New South Wales,
Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. They will become nationally uniform
by the end of this year.
The reformed laws now include a public interest defence and a serious harm
provision, both of which promise room for manoeuvre for political satirists.
The changes mean more protection for satire highlighting matters of interest to
the public. The only exception is that representations can’t make accusations
without factual basis. And the new serious harm provision means that satirical
insult does not automatically equate to reputational damage.
How this will be tested in law remains to be seen, particularly as it relates
to the implied right to freedom of political expression. These legal reforms
may be welcome relief, reducing some risk to satirists.
But in terms of power relations, the defamation issue may still come down to
who has the money to mount a defence. For grassroots and citizen satirists
without the funds to access legal advice, this is still problematic."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics