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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 24..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

pursuing a defamation action to seek some recompense for damage to its corporate reputation is in a very, very different position from an individual who is being accused of something which goes to their personal standing, integrity and reputation. I am led to that feeling or conclusion, and my lack of sympathy for the right of corporations to sue is based around that issue.

Mr Mulcahy: What about little corporations?

MR STANHOPE: That is why we are accepting that corporations with fewer than 10 employees-that is the vast majority of companies within the ACT-will still be able to sue.

Question put:

That amendment No 1 be agreed to.

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 6

Noes 9

Mrs Burke

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Mr Pratt

Dr Foskey

Mr Quinlan

Mr Seselja

Mr Gentleman

Mr Stanhope

Mr Smyth

Mr Hargreaves

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (12.06): I seek leave to move amendments Nos 2 and 3 circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

MR STEFANIAK: I move amendments Nos 2 and 3 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 89].

A lot has been said about this already, but this amendment does, of course, bring back the defence of "truth and public benefit", truth being that the plaintiff's complaints are substantially true as per the common law. The attorney has given us a pretty good run-down in terms of what the state of play was in Australia: it was four jurisdictions each. I understand this was something that was rammed through by New South Wales in the deliberations.

In this particular matter, I think there are any number of examples you can give in terms of why the public benefit is so important. My colleague Mr Mulcahy mentioned the case in relation to Chappell and Channel 9. Quite obviously, having what occurred in relation to someone's private life, which may well be true, scratched across the tabloids may have absolutely no public benefit at all attached to it. I remember the case of the famous

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