One of your correspondents suggested that “truth is not always a defence” in Australian defamation laws (Letters, News Weekly, March 3, 2007).
Two years ago this statement would have been correct. However since January 1, 2006, defamation laws across the nation now contain the words: “It is a defence to the publication of defamatory matter if the defendant proves that the defamatory imputations carried by the matter are substantially true” (e.g., s23, SA Defamation Act).
Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act and other Australian vilification laws do not allow a similar defence. The issue now has international significance, since the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a motion, on March 30, urging states to oppose “defamation of religions”.
We have lost our religious freedom if we can no longer tell the truth about other religions.
(Mr) Lindsay Dent,