Victorian SLAPPs

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This page is part of a list of Australian SLAPP suits and threatened law suits. It contains the references to SLAPPs in the state of Victoria (or cases in the Victorian Division of the Federal Court). The full details of the list and the definitions used is at SLAPP's in Australia.


  • BHP and Western Geophysical Vs Greenpeace: On March 27, 1991 the companies sought and obtained an injunction in the Federal Court of Australia prohibiting the Rainbow Warrior and any other Greenpeace vessels from going within three miles of the oil exploration ship, the Western Odyssey. On March 28, 1991 the companies applied for a permanent injunction under section 45D of the Trade Practices Act which Greenpeace described as being "extraordinarily wide ranging injunctions to prevent Greenpeace and the Rainbow Warrior from undertaking virtually any activity against their oil exploration program." BHP eventually dropped its application for a permanent injunction.
  • Michael O'Connor v Fenella Barry, County Court of Victoria, No. 912 of 1995. (95000912)

Forest Union secretary Michael O'Connor sued a spokesperson for the Wilderness Society over comments made about the unions reputation amid public debate about forest logging in Victoria.

  • Frank De Stefano v Bannockburn Yellow Gum Action Group

The Chairman of Barwon Water suing members of a local residents group for defamation over the Bumper Sticker "Barwon Water - Frankly Foul" (referring to the company's proposal to turn a local woodland into a sewerage farm).[1]

  • Williams v Lewis, 1997

Brian Walters (pp 28-31) describes the defamation case brought by property developer Lloyd Williams against architecture lecturer, Dr Miles Lewis over comments in The Age in relation to the construction of the Melbourne Casino.

The Gunns 20 action.

A spin off from the Gunns 20 action after the strike out of the first 3 statements of claim, Gunns split the case and began a separate defamation claim against Dr Frank Nicklason over comments made in raising health concerns about the woodchip pile at Burnie wharf.

Suit over the pizza ham in the sheep ship incident.

  • Snowy Mountains Organic Diary v ABC & Ors, Victorian Supreme Court 9104 of 2005.

Diary company suing media and an organic food activist over questions raised by the activist, who was a Director of Biological Farmers of Australia (an organic food certifying organisation), about the labelling of the diary's product as "organic". The case settled in November 2006, but there remains another action (VSC 9714 of 2006) on the same issue which was moved to the Victorian Supreme Court from the Federal Court in NSW.

Legal Threats

  • June 1994: BHP threatened the ABC over broadcasts in relation to the Ok Tedi catastrophe.[2]
  • Janurary 1995: CFMEU forestry union threatened a lawsuit against The Wilderness Society.[3] A defamation case was brought by union secretary Micheal O'Connor against a TWS activist (see O'Connor v Barry above).
  • 1998: ERA threatened SBS over showing David Bradbury's film "Jabiluka".[4]
  • 1999: National Association of Forest Industries threatened to sue Editor Allan Gray over the book Forest Friendly Building Materials under the Trade Practices Act. Litigation did not follow, but BBC Hardware withdrew the book from sale.[5]
  • 1999: BCR Asset Management threatened Ruth Hawley (according to Brian Walters, pp 22-27) over a letter to the editor of the Sunday Age in relation to an a redevelopment of Erskine House in Lorne.
  • 2003: Yarra Trams threatened the lobby group, Public Transport Users' Association over a leaflet criticising the removal of seats from tram services.[6]
  • 2005: Computer giant Toshiba threatened Environment Victoria over an environmental report card which the company said did not do justice to their product. While EV acknowledged mistakes and issued a retraction, there were also mistakes or omissions of facts in the letter from Toshiba – all which suggests that the matter could have been better solved without legal threats.[7]

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