No rational basis: Defamation law expert says Australia's anti-trolling Bill should be canned

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A defamation law expert has slammed the federal government’s so-called anti-trolling Bill, accusing it of changing Australia’s defamation laws for no adequate reason and through misleading means.

“My colleagues and I think that this legislation is misconceived and should not proceed,” barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC said on behalf of some of Australia’s preeminent defamation law experts.

“Not one person who supports this legislation has given an adequate reason, to my knowledge or the knowledge of my colleagues, as to why it should be changed … this Bill is a violent assault on the tort of defamation by the Commonwealth, for which no rational basis or reason has been provided.”

Barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC made those comments before a Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee hearing on Tuesday afternoon, which is currently conducting an inquiry looking into the Bill. She added that the Bill does nothing to address online abuse or trolling.

At its core, the Bill seeks to remove the liability held by owners of social media pages for any defamatory material posted on those pages. If passed, it would also create the requirement for social media companies to identify people if they post potentially defamatory material.  

The Bill was

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