Queensland 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 Queensland (or cases in the Queensland Division of the Federal Court). The full details of the list and the definitions used is at SLAPP's in Australia.


The manufacturer of the natural product Tebonin using the Trade Practices Act to injunct a critique of the claims of the product by a professional pharmacology consumer group.

  • Bjelke-Petersen v ABC & Chris Masters" 1988

The former Qld Premier sued journalist Chris Masters and the ABC for the 4 Corners program, "Moonlight State" which led to a Royal Commission and a change of government in Queensland.The cases went for 13 years.[1]

  • Central Queensland Cement v Hardy 1989 2 QdR 509

Stephen Keim describes injunctions sought to stop picket of Mt Etna caves to prevent mining, and subsequent suit against many environmental activists.

  • John Sinclair and Fraser Island

Defamation proceedings against the award winning conservationist and others who were campaigning to protect Fraser Island.[2]

  • Williams v Len Martin

One of the Hinchinbrook Island development defamation claims against an activist from Brisbane University who wrote to the Federal Environment Minister.[3]

  • Williams v Margaret Thorsborne and Ken Parker, 1994

The Townsville Bulletin reports that the Hinchinbrook developer sued the two protesters for trespass, but later dropped the case.

  • Williams v Cheryl Kernot

Another Hinchinbrook Island writ against the Democrat Senator from Qld.[4]

  • 1989: Magnetic Keys vs Julie Walkden: Walkden appealed against a decision by the Townsville Council to approve Magnetic Keys resort and development. She lost her appeal to the Local Government Court. She subsequently lost an appeal to the Supreme Court. She was later served with a bill for $220,000 for the developer's costs. While the company went into receivership, a 1994 article in The Bulletin reported, she would be liable for the debt if the company was ever revived. The Townsville Council also flagged that it would seek $100,000 from Walkden as well. "The council wants this to be a message to anyone who opposes development in the Townsville region."

Legal Threats

  • 1994: Hinchinbrook Island developer Keith Williams stated that he intended to sue anyone who had written letters he considered inaccurate to the Commonwealth Department of Environment.
  • 1996: Townsville Bulletin reported that Hinchinbrook Island developer Keith Williams stated that he would take action against protesters Margaret Thorsborne and Ken Parker claiming they were in contempt of court from an earlier action against them.
  • 1999: Hinchinbrook Island developers threatened defamation action (according to Brian Walters, pp 46-48) against a leader of the campaign against the Oyster Point development, Margaret Moorhouse.
  • 1999: Hinchinbrook Island developers threatened to sue dugong expert, Dr Tony Preen (according to Brian Walters, p48) who raised concerns about the threat to the species.
  • 2001: Senator Herron, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, threatened website publishers with defamation proceedings over a game parodying his comments on the Stolen Generation.[5]
  • 2005: Supermarket contractor threatened protesters in Maleny who were opposed to the building of a new supermarket in the town.[6][7]
  • 2006: Resort developer threatened a local activist after repeated trespasses on the proposed development site.[8]
  • 2008: Queensland MP, Phil Gray threatened two consituents with defamation, one of whom was a 63-old party member from whom he demanded $10,000 for comments in an internal party bulletin.[9]

Other SourceWatch resources

External links

  • Stephen Keim, "Dealing with SLAPP suits", Defending the Environment Conference, Australian Centre for Environmental Law, University of Adelaide, 9 May 1994.
  • Greg Roberts, "Fighting On The Beaches", The Bulletin, October 18, 1994.
  • "Williams sues over shutdown", Courier-Mail, December 1, 1994, page 5.
  • "Williams renews threat to sue greenies over Cardwell protest", Townsville Bulletin, 2 September 1996. p 1.
  • Bruce Donald, "Defamation Actions Against Public Interest Debate", Paper for Free Speech Victoria, June 3, 1998.
  • Brian Walters, "Suing into Submission: Using Litigation to Quell Dissent", Speech to Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, 9 August 2005.
  • Brian Walters, Slapping on the Writs: Defamation, Developers and Community Activism, UNSW Press, Sydney 2003.
  • Electronic Frontiers Australia, "EFA Condemns Defamation Threats" Media Release, 20 January 2001.