Statement To New Matilda Readers Regarding Barry Spurr Federal Court Case


New Matilda has this morning settled its Federal Court dispute with Professor Barry Spurr over the publication of a series of stories earlier this year.

In October, New Matilda revealed that Professor Spurr – a Sydney university lecturer and a consultant to the Abbott Government’s review of the National School Curriculum – had written a string of emails which expressed deeply racist and misogynistic views.

Professor Spurr responded by claiming that his correspondence was taken out of context by New Matilda, and that it was merely a “whimsical linguistic game” he played with old friends. As a result, New Matilda published a partial transcript of the emails.

Professor Spurr subsequently sued New Matilda, and owner Chris Graham in the Federal Court of Australia, alleging that we had seriously breached his privacy. Professor Spurr sought to have the stories removed from our website, and demanded that the identity of the source who leaked the emails be revealed.

New Matilda and Professor Barry Spurr have agreed to settle their dispute, on confidential terms. Consent orders have been filed with the Court, bringing the proceedings to an end. Both parties are satisfied with the outcome.

New Matilda has taken care to preserve the anonymity of its source throughout these proceedings, including by way of the settlement.

We’ll bring you a wrap-up of our coverage on this issue later this week, but in the interim, we’d like to offer our sincere thanks to the legal professionals who have steered New Matilda through some rough waters of late.

Geoff Holland, New Matilda’s in-house lawyer, remains our very wise counsel and is the reason we’re able to publish with the vigor for which we’ve become known.

We also owe a massive debt of gratitude to Sydney law firm Banki Haddock Fiora, in particular Eli Fisher, Tim Senior and Kate Haddock. We owe the same debt of gratitude to Sandy Dawson, who appeared for us in the Federal Court. If you want 'ethical’ AND ‘awesome', these guys fit that bill.

And of course, we also owe our readers an enormous thank you. Your ongoing support of our reporting is the reason we can hit send on our stories every day.

It’s been a pretty challenging year for New Matilda. And on that front, it’s not quite over yet.

We’re researching a major feature which touches on much of the privacy issues that were initially broached in the Spurr story. We hope to have that story ready for publication in the New Year.

In the meantime, watch this space for some stunning new revelations later this week about racism in the Australian education system.

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