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


  • Gunns v Brown & Ors, Supreme Court of Tasmania 251 of 2003.

Tasmanian timber company suing over a protest at Triabunna timber mill in January 2003.[1]

The Environmental Defenders Office sued Timber Communities Australia over allegations of the legal service supporting illegal activity.

  • Gunns v Welch & Ors, Supreme Court of Tasmania, 178 of 2004.

Tasmanian timber company suing over a protest at Triabunna timber mill in January 2004.[2]

  • Harback Logging Pty Ltd v Morris, Supreme Court of Tasmania, No. 452 of 2004.

Tasmanian timber contracter suing an activist over protests.[3]

  • Forestry Tasmania v Huon Valley Environment Centre and six others, February 2007.

The Tasmanian government's forestry corporation took ill-fated legal action to attempt to stop protests against logging in the Weld Valley with injunctions sought to prevent emails, text messages and even people staying at the Centre.[4]

  • Gunns v Alishah & Ors, Supreme Court of Tasmania, No 1153 of 2008, (The "Triabunna 13").[5]

Tasmanian timber company suing over at protest at Triabunna mill in December 2008. This is the 4th case over different protests at this mill. On December 16, 13 protesters allegedly entered the mill, locked onto equipment and did a banner drop, stopping work for several hours. This is the 4th legal case over protests at the mill with similar cases/protests in 2003 and 2004. Two of those cases were dropped, but claims in relation to formed part of the 'Gunns20' case. In the "Triabunna 13" case, 11 defendants have counterclaimed alleging misleading conduct by Gunns in relation to its claims about old growth forests and its proposed pulp mill.[6]

Legal Threats

  • February 1991: The Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group publicly flagged that it was seeking legal advice on whether to sue the Toxic Action Network over comments made alleging that the Forest School was exposed to spray drift in 1990. Two weeks later Michale O'Farrel, a solictor from Dobson, Mitschell & Allport and acting on behalf of a farmer and an aerial sprating contractor wrote to the Toxics Action Network demanding an apology and unconditional withdrawal of comments made. O'Farrel's letter claimed the comments by Caroline Burnett on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation were "defamatory." See copy of correspondence (Pdf)
  • October 1992: The Solicitors for Benders Pty Ltd, a company operating the Exit Cave limestone quarry in the Western Tasmania World Heritage Area, flagged the possibility of legal action agains The Wilderness Society over the filling in of holes drilled for the loading of explosives. No proceedings were ever initiated. See copy of letter (Pdf)
  • January 1993: Woodchip company APPM threatened legal action against The Wilderness Society if it undertook protest actions at the the Tamar or Triabunna woodchip mills. APPM's solicitor Michael O'Farrell from Dobson, Mitchell & Allport, warned that if there was any protest action it would proceed under either section 45D of the Trade Practices Act or "at common law". See letter (Pdf)
  • March 1994: Following media coverage of the use of pesticides Buzz Green from the Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group, which represented major vegetable growing companies, warned Tasmanian Pesticide Drift Watch that "should actions of your grouo cause wrongful harm to our industry or to any individual involved in our industry then you will leave us with no course of action other than to enforce our rights at law". See letter (Pdf)
  • February 1996: Australian Democrat's Senator Robert Bell threatened legal action against Bob Burton and others working for The Wilderness Society. Bell's Solicitor, Simon Cooper from Ogilvie McKenna, claimed a media release pointing out Bell's support for the logging of areas proposed for inclusion in the Western Tasmania World Heritage Area" consituted "most serious defamatory imputations." Cooper warned that if a newspaper advertisement, forehsadowed in the TWS media release, was published "then we will have no option but to commence proceedings." The newspaper advertisement proceeded but Bell never initiated any legal proceedings. Copy of correspondence (Pdf)
  • August 2008: Forestry Tasmania threatened legal action against protesters who temporarily stopped logging of old growth forests in the Styx Valley.[7]

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