IntroductionI am writing an article on Australian Senator Archer rumoured to being involved in corrupt practices. The article will be published in a widely read local magazine with at least a picture of the Senator meeting with local investors in his home and another picture showing him watching representatives of these investors counting the money in front of him and handed it to him afterwards. These pictures were taken discreetly within the premises of the residence of the Senator. Subsequent research into the life and activities of Senator Archer revealed that he had received money from various sources, mostly from businessmen who are in the industry highly regulated by the government and those who are lobbying for approvals of laws that could either hamper or advance their business interests such as issues on health care legislation.
In his 10 years service in the government of Australia, the Senator has been very controversial in his statements usually going against public clamour. For example, he was pushing for the passage of Euthanasia Bill allowing doctors or relatives of patients to use drugs to end the lives of their patients and relatives terminally ill.
Afterwards, he was seen meeting with representatives of drug companies manufacturing the Euthanasia drug. Corruption on the incident was not proven. However, subsequent involvement of the Senator on controversial issues became rampant which were usually followed by report of him meeting discreetly with lobbyists for the legislations he is pushing for. Lifestyle check showed that he has lavished properties and stock ownership from companies whose interests he has advance by supporting legislations favouring their products or businesses. Also, investigation of funds under his committee in the Senate has been found to be inappropriately spent for his personal consumption such as purchase of a vehicle which is not being used for the Senator’s transportation but that of other member of his family.
Other inappropriate disbursements of these funds were tracked down towards a purchase of materials used for the renovation of the Senator’s yacht. In the last election, he was rumoured to have quashed his opponent by committing fraud in the counting of ballots believed to be financed by his businessmen cohorts.
The Senator has been involved in so many controversies but no facts have been presented in public that could pin him down with corruption charges initiated by the public itself. Writing this article and publishing it is really an expose’ that could dent the Senator’s political image permanently. The sensitivity of this publication could result to the Senator’s camp lashing out at the publisher of the write up. As a desktop publisher I research on the legal issues that can be used for and against me in this particular publication.
Below is the result of my intensive research related to the issue that I am writing on. Legal Issues for ConsiderationDefamation In writing the article and publishing it, the Senator can sue for defamation in virtue of the Defamation Act of 2005 which assumes everyone has a good character until proven otherwise (Legal Services Commission of South Australia). The Senator can wisely raise the issue of the article as defaming his character and reputation particularly since his integrity is at stake being a political figure. The distinction between slander and libel is not recognized anymore in Australian Courts in terms of suing for defamation (Defamation Act of 2005, par.
7). In writing about the corrupt practices of Senator Archer, the Senate as a government body is forbidden by law to sue for defamation of the Senate in lieu with those accusations against one of its members (Legal Services Commission of South Australia). However, the law allows any elected official such as Senator Archer to sue for defamation when he believed his reputation is at stake (Legal Services Commission of South Australia).
Thus, I have to be ready just in case the Senator will file a case of defamation with special damage (Law Handbook) against me or our publication in publishing such article and photo about his corrupt practices. However, writers and publishers can raise a defence against defamation when they can prove that what they wrote is true and correct (Defamation Act of 2005, Section 31); hence when the article will label Senator Archer as corrupt and accepting bribes from several sources can be proven by the photos of him accepting money from a source.