The Examiner newspaper is now, through its lawyers, making threats to institute defamation proceedings against Tasmanian Times.

It has made similar threats against Alliance member and former Examiner cadet Wes Young.

In their letter to Tasmanian Times, The company’s lawyers assert that:

“Many of the allegations made about our clients are false and without foundation”,

that the published material:

” …may well constitute a contempt as there are proceedings before the Australian Industrial Commission”,

and that:

“Many of the issues raised in the publication will be subject to determination by the Australian Industrial Commission”.

Perhaps the Examiner hasn’t told its lawyers … The issues they say will be subject to a determination by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission have already been raised — on the record — before the Commission and as such are already on the public record.

Moreover, at the AIRC hearing on the 6th September 2005 — at which these issues were raised, the company was provided with an opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses to substantiate its version of events — in essence, to support its contention that the allegations are “false and without foundation”.

The Examiner was unable or unwilling at that hearing to do so. As we have previously noted, not one piece of evidence in support of the company’s position was tendered at the hearing, and the acting Editor — whose version of events we are being asked to accept — did not even attend. It seems strange that they are now concerned about these issues being discussed openly.

As for the company’s claim that the published material may be defamatory? The level of interest in this matter and the comments posted on the (albeit virtual) public meeting that is Tasmanian Times clearly indicate that the treatment of this young worker by the Examiner — and its reasons for doing so — are very much a matter of public interest.

What is clear is that The Examiner is keen to avoid public scrutiny of its actions in relation to the termination of Wes’s employment.

Tasmanian Times is to be commended for ensuring it is brought to light. The Alliance will be acting in support of the Editor of Tasmanian Times and of course of Cadet Wes Young in relation to this latest threat.

Andrew Muthy
Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance