Attorney-General Christian Porter

The Barbra Streisand effect on Australian defamation cases and political communication. Craig McLachlan, Christian Porter and Ben Roberts-Smith etc

The courts are currently awash with failed defamation cases instituted by high profile people like Craig McLachlan, Christian Porter and Ben Roberts-Smith etc in an attempt to hide the truth from the public, but most have backfired badly and have ended up doing more damage to their reputations. It is what is known as the Streisand effect and it is out of control with the latest “casualty” being high profile ARL chairman and Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys losing his defamation case against the ABC.

Even if they win they quite often lose such as Geoffrey Rush who won his defamation case against The Sydney Telegraph in 2019, who alleged that Rush engaged in “inappropriate behaviour” with a female actress. But during the course of the court case another actress, Yael Stone, came forward alleging Rush “exposed himself to her backstage, sent her sexually suggestive text messages, and attempted to spy on her while she was showering”. (Click here to read more) Rush never sued Yael Stone or the media who published her story, which gives the impression that Rush admits that at least some of her story is true if not all of it.

When it is a case of where there is smoke there is fire the people suing are playing a dangerous game that is now being proven to backfire badly in many of the high profile defamation cases,

Streisand effect (As outlined on Wikipedia)

The Streisand effect is a social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove, or censor information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information, often via the Internet. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt to suppress the California Coastal Records Project’s photograph of her residence in Malibu, California, taken to document California coastal erosion, inadvertently drew further attention to it in 2003.

Attempts to suppress information are often made through cease-and-desist letters, but instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity, as well as media extensions such as videos and spoof songs, which can be mirrored on the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks.

The Streisand effect is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, they are significantly more motivated to access and spread that information. (Click here to read more)

Craig McLachlan

Craig McLachlan filed defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media, the ABC and actress Christie Whelan Browne on Thursday 1/2/18 (Click here to read more) after being accused of sexual assault and harassment by numerous women.

The defamation case was stayed by the court after Craig McLachlan was charged with criminal offences relating to mostly the same sexual assault allegations.

Craig McLachlan won the sexual assault case in December 2020 and I wrote at the time: “Craig McLachlan has avoided possible jail by winning the sexual assault case against him today (15/12/20) but in doing so he has almost certainly lost his defamation case and his career is in tatters as the magistrate found his sexual behaviour was “lewd” and “inappropriate”.” (Click here to read more)

The defamation case has restarted but does not have a future court date so it is going nowhere at the moment and could be thrown out if Mr McLachlan does not prosecute it in a timely manner. Craig McLachlan has used his time to do an interview which will be broadcast on Channel Seven on Sunday (16/5/21) with previews showing him claiming to be the victim. And right on cue, the media have published further evidence from the defamation case, which was released by the Supreme Court this week, with 3 more women giving evidence that they were also sexually harassed/assaulted by Craig McLachlan. (Click here to read more)

Craig McLachlan should have quit while he was ahead.

Ben Roberts-Smith

It seems every week more evidence is published alleging war crimes by Ben Roberts-Smith or crimes he has alleged to have committed to cover up the alleged war crimes. I wrote last year “Alleged war criminal Ben Roberts-Smith is digging a massive hole for himself trying to avoid criminal charges for alleged war crimes by running a blocking manoeuvre by suing for defamation hoping that will stifle any criminal charges being laid.” (Click here to read more)

The SMH, who Roberts-Smith is suing for defamation, has now revealed (15/5/21):

A new police taskforce investigating former soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has uncovered scraps of paper with the hand-written names and addresses of SAS soldiers, created as part of an alleged plot to threaten witnesses to a war crimes inquiry.

The discovery of the scraps of paper, along with witness testimony alleging that Mr Roberts-Smith was behind the 2018 plot to intimidate witnesses, is the biggest breakthrough yet for the recently launched Australian Federal Police taskforce as it investigates the former soldier for serious criminal offences. (Click here to read more)

If Ben Roberts-Smith does not go to jail for the alleged war crimes he could go to jail for the attempted cover-up.

Peter V’landys

Peter V’landys appears to be a decent person and he is appealing his loss on Friday but his lawsuit on the face of it seems frivolous at best.

The ABC reported: The boss of Racing NSW has lost a defamation case over an ABC expose on animal cruelty and wastage in the industry.

Peter V’landys sued the broadcaster in the Federal Court over a 7.30 episode titled The Final Race, which revealed retired racehorses were being slaughtered in a Queensland abattoir.

Mr V’landys alleged the program, which aired in October 2019, defamed him and damaged his reputation as a regulator.

He claimed he was denied procedural fairness because he was not shown hidden camera footage recorded in a Meramist abattoir before or during his interview.

Justice Michael Wigney today ruled that none of the four imputations allegedly contained in the program were conveyed, and dismissed the case with costs against Mr V’landys.

The judge said the overall impression of the report was that the slaughter of thoroughbreds in knackeries was occurring because rules put in place by the industry were “inadequate and ineffective”. (Click here to read more)

I suppose we will wait and see how his appeal goes but from what I’ve seen he doesn’t have much of a chance of succeeding. If V’landys had not sued his interview in the ABC show would have long been forgotten.


Christian Porter

The Christian Porter v ABC defamation case is rapidly turning into a circus. The matter was in court twice on Friday. In the morning Justice Jayne Jagot, who is hearing the defamation case, adjourned the matter until it is determined if Christian Porter’s barrister Sue Chrysanthou can represent him. The second hearing on Friday, at midday, was before Justice Tom Thawley who is hearing the application by Jo Dyer, a friend of Katharine Thornton, to have Sue Chrysanthou stopped from acting for Porter because Chrysanthou previously acted for Ms Dyer last year.

My Notice of Motion to intervene so I can argue against Christian Porter’s application for suppression orders against some of the ABC’s defence is set down next Wednesday at 10.15am for a Case Management hearing (Click here to read more) which will be broadcast live on the internet on the link here: (Click here to watch at 10.15am on the 19-5-21) It could change as I have emailed the other parties to see if they would agree to consent orders allowing me to intervene. I will put any updates in the comment section below and on my Twitter account here:

Update 17/5/21: Because the main matter has been adjourned the judge has adjourned the Case Management Hearing for my Notice of Motion and it is now listed at 9:30am on Thursday 27 May 2021 and will be broadcast live on the internet on the link here: (Click here to watch at 9.30am on Thursday the 27-5-21)

There are numerous other cases with federal MP Peter Dutton suing a Twitter user and other politicians claiming they will sue social media users or threatening to sue. There is a real battlefront starting to appear between those suing journalists, independent journalists and social media users and on the other side those defending the public’s right to free speech and political communication.

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5 replies »

  1. Great to see the legal sector being put to good use. I do hope that all involved get what is coming to them. General population will not be kind to any of these scumbags. It would really make my life worthwhile to see Porter, Dutton and Roberts – Smith behind bars. Hayne behind bars was also a great event. Imagine if it included Morrison, Taylor, McKenzie Sukar, Roberts and Hume….. oh my that is an exciting prospect. The whole LNP is fit for jail or the grave ……just sayin….

  2. I seem to remember something, I believe quite apt; from my upper high school english literature class … many years ago now … from Walter Scott I believe.

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave …
    When first we practice to deceive”

    Although originally attributed to an affair of the heart, I think this quotes referred meaning of ‘to act dishonestly brings further problems and obstacles’ certainly applies today, more so in these stated defamation cases. All the best with your motion KCA!

    • So very true Fred. I am utterly dismayed at the direction this government is taking us. At the age of 82 I hope to go to my grave knowing that this government has been thrown out & a government who cares for ALL residents is governing our country. I despair.

  3. I have no respect for our political mover & shakers as they perform stunning imitations of crooked, self-serving, opaque, narcissistic, mealy-mouthed, unprincipled scumbags. There are other politicians who do less damage as they edge their way towards a lifetime pension. These are the ones who are either too witless to climb the ladder of criminality, or who suffer from being principled (a minority?).

  4. Thank you for your ongoing work on your website.
    What is most interesting from this list of high profile individuals is a common personality type and, judging by the behaviours that they have demonstrated in the publicly reported domain, even to suggest Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They demonstrate a fragility in their ego that they cannot face their accusers, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, without deflecting/casting blame onto others and lashing out with threats of retribution so as not to be crushed internally. They will do whatever it takes not to take responsibility for their actions. They create their own reality to protect their ego. You cannot reason with a person with NPD. Their responses to sue are entirely consistent with this and their future actions will also be predictable.
    We see it so often in other ways in public figures such as MP Andrew Laming not taking responsibility for his recent actions, and claiming he has ADHD( try Narcissistic Personality Disorder). Don Burke famously excused his behaviour towards female staff as having Asperger’s ( again try NPD). Unfortunately, people in these positions of power will never seek the help they need nor have an interest in analysing their own patterns of behaviour and the world around them suffers.

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