oh dear SA forum members...

JLN, we expect you to follow your state’s new rules when posting here…


South Australia has become one of the few states in the world to censor the internet.

The new law, which came into force on January 6, requires internet bloggers, and anyone making a comment on next month’s state election, to publish their real name and postcode when commenting on the poll.

The law will affect anyone posting a comment on an election story on The Advertiser’s AdelaideNow website, as well as other news sites such as The Punch, the ABC’s The Drum and Fairfax newspapers’ National Times site.

It also appears to apply to election comment made on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The law, which was pushed through last year as part of a raft of amendments to the Electoral Act and supported by the Liberal Party, also requires media organisations to keep a person’s real name and full address on file for six months, and they face fines of $5000 if they do not hand over this information to the Electoral Commissioner.

The Right to Know Coalition, made up of Australia’s major media outlets including News Limited, publisher of The Advertiser , has called the new laws “draconian”.

“This is one of the most troubling erosions of the right to free speech in Australia for many years,” Right to Know spokeswoman Creina Chapman said.

BEAT THE CENSOR: Have your say now. Normal moderation rules apply - until the writs for the March 20 election are issued.


"It is a fundamental principle of our democracy that voters are able to express personal views about the competing claims of political candidates without the fear that they might end up on a hit list held by a government whose policies they may have opposed.

“Isn’t the whole point of public debate that it is public and that Australians, including South Australians, are smart enough to read or listen to the views of others and make up their own minds?”

Ms Chapman also pointed out that newspaper blogs such as AdelaideNow were moderated and publishers and broadcasters took responsibility for the material they published.

Attorney-General Michael Atkinson denied that the new law was an attack on free speech.

“The AdelaideNow website is not just a sewer of criminal defamation, it is a sewer of identity theft and fraud,” Mr Atkinson said.

“There is no impinging on freedom of speech, people are free to say what they wish as themselves, not as somebody else.”

Mr Atkinson also said he expected The Advertiser to target him for sponsoring the law. “I am also certain that Advertiser Newspapers and News Limited will punish me personally, viciously for being the attorney-general responsible for this law,” he said.

“You will publish false stories about me, invent things about me to punish me.”

The Advertiser’s editor, Melvin Mansell, said: "Clearly this is censorship being implemented by a government facing an election.

"The effect of that is that many South Australians are going to be robbed of their right of freedom of speech during this election campaign.

"The sad part is that this widespread suppression is supported by the Opposition.

“Neither of these parties are representing the people for whom they have been elected to govern.”

While Tasmania has similar provisions, it is believed the SA law is the most heavy-handed in Australia.

The SA law also differs from federal legislation, which preserves the right of internet users to blog under a pseudonym.

The new legislation could also apply to talkback radio.

The law will apply as soon as the writs for the March 20 election are issued. The writs for the election can be issued any time between now and 25 days before the election. The law will then lapse at 6pm on polling day.

Mt Atkinson said there was no intention to broaden the law to take it beyond the period of elections.

Similar laws have been in use in South Korea for some time and China also introduced a similar requirement last year.

Opposition justice spokeswoman Vickie Chapman said yesterday while the Liberal Party had supported the amendment to the Electoral Act, she believed it would be too broad to implement if it included Facebook and Twitter and said Mr Atkinson should introduce a regulation to limit its scope.

“It is clearly not the intention of what we understood that to be,” she said.

Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman predicted the new laws would have a “chilling” effect on free speech and said South Australia was building a reputation as a secretive state.

“Freedom of speech is generally not high on the agenda for (the South Australian Government) in any given 12-month period.”

John Quiggin, a long-time blogger and Research Fellow in Economics and Political Science at the University of Queensland, doubted whether the laws were enforceable.

“They can pass as draconian law as they like, but without the capacity to impose their own internet censorship it’s going to be a dead lemon,” he said.

"Anyone who wants to can set up an anonymous blog.

“It will be totally ineffectual with someone who sets up a Wordpress blog post in the US under a false name and publish whatever they want.”

This is bullshit!

JLN not ZLTN, 5000.

But seriously, Leaving your fulll name and postcode on the AdelaideNow website? ooooh look out. After seeing some of the comments on there in the past, I’m not suprised.

EDIT: I work for the Attorney-General’s department. :wink:

Mike Randy sucks balls!!

Hugo James Murray 5082

who wants to move to canada?

Don’t you all know each other over there anyway? No big deal.

Pretty much.

looks like it’s time for you to strap on some home made dynamite and become a martyr for your web toed Adelaide brethren then…

not just that website dude, any of the news websites that can be viewed in SA.

and does the dude who enacted the law sound paranoid much

Mr Atkinson also said he expected The Advertiser to target him for sponsoring the law. “I am also certain that Advertiser Newspapers and News Limited will punish me personally, viciously for being the attorney-general responsible for this law,” he said.

"You will publish false stories about me, invent things about me to punish me.

i don’t see the big issue, it will simply rat out the right wing cranks who undoubtedly post all sorts of garbage under 50 different usernames because they have nothing better to do.
it’s actually democratically empowering to know that all that right-wing propaganda is coming from members of opposition political parties.
given some of the insane, borderline criminal claims and threats, it would be nice to put a name to some of these people.

rights and responsibilities etc.

"You will publish false stories about me, invent things about me to punish me.

Not just The AG, this is the standard MO for everything in that worthless rag

ABC news: SA backs down on internet comment control

thank christ…



thing is, the online forums DO “censor” and check the posts.

y’know, for libel laws and all that jazz.

and if you google the dude a little, you’ll find he has approached the Electoral Commission in the past in an attempt to get address details after researching peoples names & locations on forums when they have said stuff he isn’t happy with (homeboy is currently under investigation by the Ombudsman for attempting to influence a local council planning decision in favour of one of his party’s donors.)

he has also demanded the removal of facebook groups and posts that didn’t directly refer to him, just hinted at “corrupt” politicians.

you know speakers corner in London?

where any citizen can get up and say their bit?

well they don’t have to wear name tags…

and the hypocrisy of the politicians over this matter is astounding - don’t forget donations to political parties can still be anonymous (why no, that developer CERTAINLY didn’t donate $100K just when he needed a project green lighted) and the fuckers can say far, far worse that what can be said on the forums under the protection of “parliamentary privilege”…

I don’t believe you. :wink:

meh, they are a mouthpiece for government and private corporate interests…