New South Wales Consolidated Acts

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Defence for publication of public documents

28 Defence for publication of public documents

(1) It is a defence to the publication of defamatory matter if the defendant proves that the matter was contained in--
(a) a public document or a fair copy of a public document, or
(b) a fair summary of, or a fair extract from, a public document.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), if a report or other document under the law of a country would be a public document except for non-compliance with a provision of that law about--
(a) the formal requirements for the content or layout of the report or document, or
(b) the time within which the report or document is prepared, or presented, submitted, tabled or laid to or before a person or body,
the report or document is a public document despite that non-compliance.
(3) A defence established under subsection (1) is defeated if, and only if, the plaintiff proves that the defamatory matter was not published honestly for the information of the public or the advancement of education.
(4) In this section,
"public document" means--
(a) any report or paper published by a parliamentary body, or a record of votes, debates or other proceedings relating to a parliamentary body published by or under the authority of the body or any law, or
(b) any judgment, order or other determination of a court or arbitral tribunal of any country in civil proceedings and including--
(i) any record of the court or tribunal relating to the judgment, order or determination or to its enforcement or satisfaction, and
(ii) any report of the court or tribunal about its judgment, order or determination and the reasons for its judgment, order or determination, or
(c) any report or other document that under the law of any country--
(i) is authorised to be published, or
(ii) is required to be presented or submitted to, tabled in, or laid before, a parliamentary body, or
(d) any document issued by the government (including a local government) of a country, or by an officer, employee or agency of the government, for the information of the public, or
(e) any record or other document open to inspection by the public that is kept--
(i) by an Australian jurisdiction, or
(ii) by a statutory authority of an Australian jurisdiction, or
(iii) by an Australian court, or
(iv) under legislation of an Australian jurisdiction, or
(f) any other document issued, kept or published by a person, body or organisation of another Australian jurisdiction that is treated in that jurisdiction as a public document under a provision of a law of the jurisdiction corresponding to this section, or
(g) any document of a kind specified in Schedule 2.

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