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


  • Baulderstone v 6 Adelaide heritage activists, 1983

Aurora Heritage Action Group describe the injunctions and threats of civil suits against them for trying to stop the destruction of the 1859 Aurora Hotel in Adelaide.

The first Hindmarsh Island bridge case - injunctions against 10 bridge opponents. Some injunctions were defeated. The case was later dropped.

A big case with local MP Sam Bass suing two activists over criticism of his performance as an MP, including statements on election material.

  • Ceduna Council defamation

The Advertiser (20/4/06) reported that a number of Ceduna District Councillors were suing another member of Council over comments made at a public meeting about the running of the Council.

  • Takhar v Animal Liberation SA Inc & Or, SASC No. 754 of 2000.

South Austrlian egg farmer suing Animal Lib over entry and video footage of battery hen shed, and also over a T-shirt.[1]

  • Entech Circuits & Graphics Pty Ltd & Douglas Charles Brown v Marie Leshinskas & Doris Horvath. District Court No. 1254 of 2006.[2]

Business suing local residents over a letter to the editor of the local paper about air emissions from the business.

  • Terry Sutcliffe v Marion Jennison, Adelaide Magistrate's Court, No. 4118 of 2007.

A local government employee suing a local resident over a 3 line quip and a mixed metaphor in an email sent "reply all" to about 40 people in relation to a council approval of a local development. Copy of the statement of claim (pdf:300K). File:Jennison SLAPP.pdf

The Hindmarsh Island bridge cases

Except where otherwise specifically referenced, the source for the cases is the statement of claim in the court records, and/or the summary of defamation claims at paragraph 254 of the judgement in Chapman & Ors v Conservation Council & Ors (2002) SASC 4

Began as 18 separate defamation claims by marina developers over the Hindmarsh Island bridge affair. Note: the initial judgement above was overturned on appeal.

  • Chapmans v Conservation Council, FOGAK & Ors, SA District Court 1366 of 1997.

Suit primarily against local residents group over leaflet opposing Hindmarsh Island bridge.[3] Case settled pre-trial.

  • Chapmans v Dean Whittaker, SA District Court 310 of 1997.

Defamation claim v Uniting Church minister over letters to the editor of local paper re Aboriginal consultation. Case settled pre-trial.[4]

  • Chapmans v John Coulter & Others, SA District Court 1333 of 1997

Australian Senator John Coulter & the Australian Democrats sued for defamation for newletter article.[5] Case settled pre-trial.

Defamation action over socialist newspaper, Green Left Weekly interview with anthropologist Neale Draper.

  • Chapmans v Rural Press Ltd (1999) SADC 178

The Victor Harbor Times being sued over multiple news items.

Defamation suit against The Australian newspaper over reporting of comments of Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs re consultation on the project with Aboriginal people.

  • Chapmans v Nationwide News, SA District Court 295 of 1997

Another defamation action The Australian newspaper over a letter to the editor from a local group opposed to the bridge.

  • Chapamns v ACP Publishing, SA District Court Action 294 of 1997

Defamation action against the publisher of The Bulletin magazine re the Hindmarsh Island bridge.[6]

  • Chapmans v Festival City Broadcasters

Defamation action against Radio 5AA for comments broadcast by announcers re the developers' finances.

Began as 22 separate defamation claims against ABC radio & TV re reporting. Some struck out, the remainder were settled.

  • Chapmans v Network Ten Ltd, SA District Court 1134 of 1998

Defamation action against TV Channel 10 over airing of allegations in interviews with an Aboriginal elder (and Ms Chapman).

  • Chapmans v SA Telecasters

Defamation action against TV Channel 7 over 3 different news stories.

  • Chapmans v John Fairfax Publishing, June 1999

Defamation action against Australian Financial Review for reporting a local Councillor's comments on the bridge and issues of consultation with indigenous people.

  • Chapmans v Federal Capital Press, SA District Court 128 of 1998

Defamation action against The Canberra Times over reporting local Aboriginal leader comments on the alleged attacks on indigenous people.

Legal Threats

  • 1994: Hindmarsh Island developers threatened dozens of opponents of the proposed bridge to the island for $32m for losses allegedly caused by the campaign against the bridge. [7][8]
  • January 1998: The Tuna Boat Owners Association president Brian Jeffries wrote to Greenpeace warning them of possible legal action. Jeffries letter followed Greenpeace activists approaching a tuna fish farm in an inflatable boat. "We will hold Greenpeace responsible for any mortalities subsequently discovered in the pontoon," Jeffries told AAP.
  • 1998: Hindmarsh Island developers threatened an internet service provider who was hosting the website of the the Kumarangk Legal Defence Fund - a community group established to support those people the developers were already suing.[9]
  • 1998: Hindmarsh Island developers threatened the Kumarangk Legal Defence Fund over alleged defamations on the KLDF website.[10][11]
  • 2000: Hindmarsh Island developers lawyer demands apology for alleged defamation and contempt of court of article in Indigenous Law Bulletin.[12]
  • 2002: Liberal SA Minister for Mines, Wayne Matthew threatened The Wilderness Society over its Vote-Environment website.[13]
  • 2002: Hindmarsh Island developers' lawyer demanded an apology and removal of material from the website of the Australian Library and Information Association.[14]
  • 2003: Victorian Farmers Federation lawyers threatened (and later took action) against Animal Liberation South Australia over alleged disruption of live sheep exports in Victoria.[15]
  • 2006: Entech, owners of a factory in Devon Park, demanded a retraction and apology for a letter to the editor of local newspaper raising concerns about pollution from the Entech plant. No apology was given and litigation ensued.[16]
  • 2007: Housing developer, Holcan threatened local mayor and councillors for opposing a development in Walkerville.[17]
  • 2010: State Attorney-General Michael Atkinson threatened Dean McQuillan with defamation proceedings, demanding $20,000 over a posting on Adelaide Now website.[18]

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