Council of Attorneys General release discussion paper on review of the defamation laws

March 4, 2019

It is something of an understatement that the last few years have been busy in the defamation space.  And generally uncomfortable for the defendants with big awards in the Rebel Wilson (after reduction by the Court of Appeal) and Chris Gale cases.  As significantly has been the proliferation of cases arising out of commentary on line, often through social media.  Another interesting development is the growing preference for plaintiffs to issue proceedings in the Federal Court rather than in the state courts.  This obviates the need for a jury trial, often times a comfort for defendants.  This has resulted in significant comment and calls for reform by news outlets.   

The Council of Attorneys General are in the process of undertaking a review of defamation law

On 26 February 2019 the Council released a 43 page discussion paper titled “Review of Model Defamation Provisions.”    The NSW Attorney General also issued a media release.

There are 18 questions posed Read the rest of this entry »

Yang v Finder Earth Pty Ltd [2019] VSCA 22 (15 February 2019): application to set aside default judgment, importance of pleading

The Victorian Court of Appeal in Yang v Finder Earth Pty Ltd [2019] VSCA 22 again highlighted the caution the courts are now taking in dealing with applications which determine a claim without trial such as summary judgment applications and default judgment applications. It is also a case which highlights the fact that pleadings matter. 

FACTS

Luo and Yang entered into the principal agreement, in October 2015 (the ‘agreement’) [8] for the stated purpose of:

to successfully obtain the 888 visa for Luo and her family to migrate to Australia and to be granted the Permanent Resident Visa (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Immigration Project’).

The agreement:

  • was described as a partnership between Luo and Yang

Read the rest of this entry »

More high profile Cyber attacks in Australia

February 27, 2019

Following hot on the heals of the ransomware attach on the Melbourne Heart Group last week the Fairfax Press reports on 3 separate attacks, being the Catholic Archdiocese, TelstraSuper and Toyota with varying degrees of success. 

While the targets are high profile here, which makes for interesting the reality is that ransomware attacks are becoming Read the rest of this entry »

C Tina Pty Ltd v Warners Electroplating Pty Ltd [2019] VSC 66 (18 February 2019): Application to set aside statutory demand, s 459G Corporations Act 2001

February 21, 2019

In C Tina Pty Ltd v Warners Electroplating Pty Ltd [2019] VSC 66 Associate Justice Gardiner set aside a statutory demand.

FACTS

On 1 October 2018, the defendant (‘Warners’) served on the plaintiff (‘C Tina’):

  • a creditors statutory demand for payment of debt; and
  • an affidavit in support sworn by Grant Warner on 26 September 2018 [1].

The Demand related to two invoices totalling $166,332.10 for work and labour done and materials supplied [2].

On 19 October 2018, C Tina made application by originating process to set aside the Demand [3].

The application is based on the ground that C Tina has a genuine dispute in relation to the debt in that it never contracted with Warners and that Read the rest of this entry »

Likely ransomware attack at Melbourne Heart Group located at Cabrini Hospital affects 15,000 medical files

The Fairfax press reports in Crime syndicate hacks 15,000 medical files at Cabrini Hospital, demands ransom that the Melbourne Heart Group, specialists who lease rooms at the Cabrini Hospital has suffered what is almost certainly a ransomware attack. 

Ransomware attacks are particularly prevalent in the health care industry.  The impact of an attack is immediate and serious if not catastrophic and the need to remedy it, by paying the ransom, urgent.  Health data is particularly sensitive.  In early February an optometry clinic in Connecticut was hit impacting 23,578 patient records, In Jacksonvill Florida a Obstetrics and Gynecology practice suffered a data breach involving ransomware in early January while a health center in Rhode Island was hit by a ransomware attack in early December last year.   In November hospitals in Ohio and Ireland were hit by ransomware attacks.  And the list goes on and on and on.

Ransomware attacks are maturing and becoming more, not less effective.  The average ransom in the US has increased by 13% in the last quarter of last year over the previous quarter from $5,973 to $6,733. 

That a specialist cardiology unit at Cabrini could be so compromised by the attack indicates that there was either no or inadequate back up of the health records  in that unit.  If the records were Read the rest of this entry »

Out of a lot of nonsense about cyber attacks by foreign governments there comes a good article dealing with the key issue… poor privacy practices by individuals

February 20, 2019


There has been no shortage of breathless and generally meaningless articles about the Government’s statement that political parties and the Australian Parliament have been the subject of state sponsored cyber attacks.  The Government boffins have come out with statements both  highlighting the risk and claiming everything is under control.  It has given rise to ponderous commentary about attacks on democracy and then spins out to truly odd dystopian pieces as Peter Hartcher did with Farewell tech utopia: how governments are readying the web for war which swallows the  twaddle about the internet being balkanised and ruined. 

The reality is that cyber attacks by state players, mainly Russia, China and North Korea have been a regular occurrence for a decade.  Then there are the plethora of non state hackers in India, the various Stans and Africa who sometimes are engaged by instruments of state to create mischief.  It is a feature of life in the age of the internet. 

Rather than reading the Henny Penny the sky is falling reportage and the end of innocence blather the best article to get an understanding of what is going on and why is the ABC piece Cyber attacks by foreign governments, malicious companies and enterprising hackers are on the rise. And the biggest problem is you. It sets out in plain undramatic terms that most cyber attacks succeed because someone in an organisation or government agency is fooled by an email containing malware.  And, as the article makes clear, that problem is one of Read the rest of this entry »

Nearly one in ten adults admit to taking nude images without consent

February 19, 2019

The Guardian with Revenge porn: nearly one in 10 adults admit to taking nude images without consent and the Canberra Times in One in 10 Australians have perpetrated ‘image-based abuse’ have reported on research by RMIT and Monash University in Image-based sexual abuse: The extent, nature, and predictors of perpetration in a community sample of Australian residents which found that 10% of adults have engaged in this problematical (and in many jurisdictions is criminal) conduct.  

The stories are not a product of detailed analysis but a pick up of the media release by the RMIT on Monday, 18 February 2019 which Read the rest of this entry »

Yet another reheated article about the Privacy Act exemptions for political parties being wrong… correct but nothing new in any of that

David Crowe, one of the more energetic commentators at the Fairfax Press has put together a piece about the ridiculous exemption that political parties have from regulation of the Privacy Act 1988 in Political parties should be stripped of Privacy Act exemptions after hack: experts.  It is one of those topics that columnists dust off from time to time. Peter Van Onselen has repeatedly drawn from that well though pretty much saying the same thing again and again and again in an Australian article in Political parties violate our rights to privacy  on 23 July 2011, raising the issue Read the rest of this entry »

In the matter of Polar Agencies Pty Ltd [2019] VSC 43 (8 February 2019): winding up application, ss 440 & 447A Corporations Acct 2001

February 14, 2019

Judicial Registrar considered an application to wind up a company when administrators had been appointed shortly before the hearing In the matter of Polar Agencies Pty Ltd [2019] VSC 43.

FACTS

The plaintiff  a statutory demand served on the defendant by the plaintiff by post sent on 18 October 2018 [4].  The demand is in respect of debts totalling $558,508.56 for goods supplied by the plaintiff to the defendant and invoiced in the period March to August 2018. The defendant failed to comply with it [4] and made no application to set aside the statutory demand [5] thereby failing to comply with the demand in about midNovember 2018 which gave rise to a statutory presumption of insolvency under s 459C(2)(a) of the Corporations Act (the Act).

By an originating process filed on 16 November 2018 [3] the plaintiff applied for the defendant be wound up in insolvency pursuant to s 459P and s 459Q of the Act [1].

The proceeding first came on for hearing on 19 December 2018 where:

  • the plaintiff appeared and the defendant did not.
  • the Court was informed that negotiations were underway. Directions were made that any request for a further adjournment was to be supported by an affidavit to be filed and served by 4 February 2019,
  • the hearing was adjourned to 6 February 2019 [6].

Read the rest of this entry »

ACCC Chairman Sims gives speech on Digital Platforms Inquiry, raising privacy issues to be addressed

February 12, 2019

Yesterday, Rod Sims in a speech to the IIC Australian Chapter highlighted the issues that the ACCC raised in its Preliminary report on the Digital Platforms Inquiry.  The final submissions close on 15 February 2019.

As with the Preliminary Report Sims highlights the privacy issues that are associated with the current regime of data collection, the matching and lack of consent.  These are matters that should of primary concern to Read the rest of this entry »