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DEFAMATION ACT 2005 - SECT 29

Defences of fair report of proceedings of public concern

29 Defences of fair report of proceedings of public concern

(1) It is a defence to the publication of defamatory matter if the defendant proves that the matter was, or was contained in, a fair report of any proceedings of public concern.
(2) It is a defence to the publication of defamatory matter if the defendant proves that—
(a) the matter was, or was contained in, an earlier published report of proceedings of public concern; and
(b) the matter was, or was contained in, a fair copy of, a fair summary of, or a fair extract from, the earlier published report; and
(c) the defendant had no knowledge that would reasonably make the defendant aware that the earlier published report was not fair.
(3) A defence established under subsection (1) or (2) 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—

"proceedings of public concern" means—
(a) any proceedings in public of a parliamentary body; or
(b) any proceedings in public of an international organisation of any countries or of the governments of any countries; or
(c) any proceedings in public of an international conference at which the governments of any countries are represented; or
(d) any proceedings in public of—
(i) the International Court of Justice, or any other judicial or arbitral tribunal, for the decision of any matter in dispute between nations; or
(ii) any other international judicial or arbitral tribunal; or
(e) any proceedings in public of a court or arbitral tribunal of any country; or
(f) any proceedings in public of an inquiry held under the law of any country or under the authority of the government of any country; or
(g) any proceedings in public of a local government body of any Australian jurisdiction; or
(h) proceedings of a learned society, or of a committee or governing body of the society, under its relevant objects, but only to the extent that the proceedings relate to a decision or adjudication made in Australia about—
(i) a member or members of the society; or
(ii) a person subject by contract or otherwise by law to control by the society; or
(i) proceedings of a sport or recreation association, or of a committee or governing body of the association, under its relevant objects, but only to the extent that the proceedings relate to a decision or adjudication made in Australia about—
(i) a member or members of the association; or
(ii) a person subject by contract or otherwise by law to control by the association; or
(j) proceedings of a trade association, or of a committee or governing body of the association, under its relevant objects, but only to the extent that the proceedings relate to a decision or adjudication made in Australia about—
(i) a member or members of the association; or
(ii) a person subject by contract or otherwise by law to control by the association; or
(k) any proceedings of a public meeting (with or without restriction on the people attending) of shareholders of a public company under the Corporations Act held anywhere in Australia; or
(l) any proceedings of a public meeting (with or without restriction on the people attending) held anywhere in Australia if the proceedings relate to a matter of public interest, including the advocacy or candidature of a person for public office; or
(m) any proceedings of an ombudsman of any country if the proceedings relate to a report of the ombudsman; or
(n) any proceedings in public of a law reform body of any country; or
(o) any other proceedings conducted by, or proceedings of, a person, body or organisation of another Australian jurisdiction that are treated in that jurisdiction as proceedings of public concern under a provision of a law of the jurisdiction corresponding to this section; or
(p) any proceedings of a kind specified in schedule 3 .
Example: This Act does not contain a schedule 3 . See note to section 3 (a) .
(5) In this section—

"law reform body" of a country means a body (however described and whether or not permanent or full-time) established by law to conduct inquiries into, and to make recommendations on, reforming the laws of that country.

"learned society" means a body, wherever formed—
(a) the objects of which include the advancement of any art, science or religion or the advancement of learning in any field; and
(b) authorised by its constitution—
(i) to exercise control over, or adjudicate on, matters connected with those objects; and
(ii) to make findings or decisions having effect, by law or custom, in any part of Australia.

"ombudsman" of a country means a person (however described and whether or not permanent or full-time) authorised by law to investigate complaints about the actions or other conduct of any public officials or public bodies of that country.

"relevant objects" of a learned society, sport or recreation association or trade association means—
(a) in relation to a learned society—objects of the kind referred to in paragraph (a) of the definition
"learned society" in this subsection; or
(b) in relation to a sport or recreation association—objects of the kind referred to in paragraph (a) of the definition
"sport or recreation association" in this subsection; or
(c) in relation to a trade association—objects of the kind referred to in paragraph (a) of the definition
"trade association" in this subsection.

"sport or recreation association" means a body, wherever formed—
(a) the objects of which include the promotion of any game, sport, or pastime to the playing of which or exercise of which the public is admitted as spectators or otherwise and the promotion or protection of the interests of people connected with the game, sport, or pastime; and
(b) authorised by its constitution—
(i) to exercise control over, or adjudicate on, matters connected with the game, sport, or pastime; and
(ii) to make findings or decisions having effect, by law or custom, in any part of Australia.

"trade association" means a body, wherever formed—
(a) the objects of which include the promotion of any calling, that is to say, a trade, business, industry or profession, and the promotion or protection of the interests of people engaged in any calling; and
(b) authorised by its constitution—
(i) to exercise control over, or adjudicate on, matters connected with a calling or the conduct of people engaged in the calling; and
(ii) to make findings or decisions having effect, by law or custom, in any part of Australia.



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