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This is part one of a two-part look at defamation reform.

To the casual observer, defamation law in Australia probably looks like an absolute mess. Thankfully, we have a strong corps of defamation law experts in the country who agree that our defamation law is an absolute mess.

Three things happened recently, each momentous in its own right. First, the New South Wales government announced that the so-called stage one amendments to the Defamation Act, painstakingly negotiated over several years and agreed to in principle by all eight states and territories, will finally come into effect on July 1 this year.