Wednesday, 3 February 2010


The state of South Australia has a new election law that went into effect January 6, and its effect was shocking: anonymous political speech on the Internet was simply destroyed.

The law required anyone posting a political comment online during an election period to supply their real name and address or face a fine of up to AUS$1,250. The measure was grossly discriminatory—it applied only to bloggers and commenters, not to online "journals" (newspapers or magazine which are written by Real Journalists).

Politicians had apparently developed a thin skin to anonymous commentary, some of which no doubt did devolve into rank defamation, but Australia already has defamation laws that could be used against truly egregious material. Ending online anonymous speech was an extreme solution, one not appreciated by the targets of the law.

The law was backed by South Australia's Attorney General, Michael Atkinson. Atkinson took the radio yesterday to defend the new rule, saying that anonymity was being used by political opponents to attack him in secret.

Fornarino, the man who doesn't exist
"I'll give you an example: repeatedly in the AdelaideNow website one will see commentary from Aaron Fornarino of West Croydon. That person doesn't exist," Atkinson said on the air. "That name has been created by the Liberal Party in order to run Liberal Party commentary."

This morning, AdelaideNow took great delight in posting a picture of Fornarino posing with a Mac and his young daughter. He's a second-year law student who moved to the area last year and "lives in a flat on Port Rd, about 500m from Mr. Atkinson's electorate office."

The cries of the outraged citizenry have had an effect. While defending the new rules as recently as yesterday, Atkinson suddenly backed off from them today. He sent a statement to AdelaideNow, one remarkable for its candor.

"From the feedback we've received through AdelaideNow, the blogging generation believes that the law supported by all MPs and all political parties is unduly restrictive. I have listened. I will immediately after the election move to repeal the law retrospectively... It may be humiliating for me, but that's politics in a democracy and I'll take my lumps."

Please go and read it all:

So USE the internet. See, it CAN work.

Of course, that does require you to have democratically-minded politicians in the first place. Something New-Liebour, LibDims and the Cameroids all  lack.


PS As it happens I already use my real, legal, name. There are a few of you who have seen the proof of this in my passport.



"I will repeal this law AFTER the election" do you believe that aussies?

Anonymous said...

I was going to retire in Australia... now the leftarded fools have infected those lush shores, I'm at a lost... now I really do wish for global warming!

The Shadow Bastards that Be love the internet as much as us plebs. The public face of the Bastards that Be, not so much. Their own fault though for being sell-outs.

The Shadow Gov't love the internet as it is the easiest way to monitor people. What better way than through our electronic footprint is there?

Think 'Telescreen' except a bit more advanced.

Still, one of those damned if we do, damned if we don't. Also, while there are 'loopholes', anything is possible.

Probably why the Public and the Shadows spend umpteen millions on the 'police'.