South Australia Suppresses Online Comments, Repents

A Draconian South Australian law aimed at limiting online comments about the upcoming elections inflamed much of the population, resulting in an apparent repeal of the law.

The law in question came into effect on January 6 and sought to require any online user commenting on the March 20th state elections in South Australia to publish their real name and post code alongside their comments. According to Adelaide Now, a definite target of South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson, the law would have applied to comments posted to online news stories, as well any comment made on the election on social sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

The law was not scheduled to be enforced until writs for the March 20th election were issued. The writs could be issued anytime between now and 25 days before the election. The law was to expire at 6:00 PM on election day. An additional aspect of the law would have forced media companies to store commenter’s names and post codes for six months. They could have faced fines of $5,000AU if the information collected was not handed over to the Electoral Commissioner.

Atkinson said the law was all about “honesty,” adding that, “There is no impinging on freedom of speech, people are free to say what they wish as themselves, not as somebody else.” 

Specifically Atkinson also labeled the Adelaide Now website, “…a sewer of criminal defamation, it is a sewer of identity theft and fraud.”

It appears that an outraged populace has forced Atkinson’s hands for once, as new information coming out of South Australia indicates that Atkinson will repeal the law.

Adelaide Now reports that Atkinson stated, “I will immediately after the election move to repeal the law retrospectively.” 

He added, “It may be humiliating for me, but that’s politics in a democracy and I’ll take my lumps.”
While repealing the law after the elections would indicate that the law is still in place, Atkinson said it would not be enforced.

It’s important to note, and a little frightening, that the soon-to-be-repealed law was also supported by the Liberal Party, the main opposition to Atkinson’s Labor Party.

Thanks to readers iheartassassinmaid, Ryan and Anders for sending this story in.

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31 comments

  1. sharpshooterbabe says:

    SOunds like he was making it up as he goes along……but…..he should tell it to someone who cares.

     

     

    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. Aliasalpha says:

    I think he’s trying to prove he’s not prejudiced and he, in fact, hates EVERYTHING equally.

     

    Oh well, more ammo for Gamers4Croydon I guess, tear him a new one G4C

     

    Metaphorically

     

    "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."

    Has anyone seen atkinson & jack thompson in the same place at the same time? I’m seriously beginning to suspect a dual identity thing. Like Batman only dedicated to fighting fun

     

  3. Muetank says:

    Wait a sec, whats the point of making a law if you’re not going to enforce it and repeal it in such a short amount of time? Besides wanting to be creepy and stalk the people saying impolite things about you…..

    ____________________

    "Oh no! They are biting him… and stealing his pants!"

  4. Father Time says:

    That is really really stupid. I can’t think of anything you could watch that would make you attracted to kids why the hell would this do it.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  5. gellymatos says:

    For the record, I went into a laughing fit before typing this. That is hilarious!!! The guy really exists?! Seriously, Atkinson, after such claims as I read on the article itself, made such a mistake? You think he would have bothered to at least check if the person did exist. I wonder what he’ll say in response.

  6. Father Time says:

    "He added, “It may be humiliating for me, but that’s politics in a democracy and I’ll take my lumps.”
    While repealing the law after the elections would indicate that the law is still in place, Atkinson said it would not be enforced."

    Then why are you waiting till after the election to get rid of it?

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  7. TBoneTony says:

    Well as long as Australia keeps banning the things I really like, I have no choice but to move out of that fake free country after I finish university before more of my rights get taken away, like the right to move to a different country for example.

     

  8. Timbo2702 says:

    Something else to add to that… Atkinson made a comment on the radio that the laws were brought in to prevent people like Mr Fornarino from commenting, a man who according to Atkinson 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," he said. "That name has been created by the Liberal Party in order to run Liberal Party commentary."

    Only, he DOES exist. He even lives less than 500m from Atkinsons electorate office

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/mike-meet-aaron-he-lives-500m-from-your-office/story-e6frea6u-1225826082741

    – Tim Kowalenko

  9. Arcanagos says:

    Wow… repealing the law AFTER the election, as in "I’ll repeal the anti-free speech law that I wrote after you vote me back in for another term"?  How f**king transparent can you get?  Hopefully now Australia realizes what a corrupt a-hole they’ve kept voting back into office time and again.

    "Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson’ll justify it in the end." – nightwng2000

  10. axiomatic says:

    The only reason Atkinson is even relevant is because he holds the key to a (proverbial) locked door at the moment. The minute he looses control of that key his carreer becomes irrelevant.

    So it makes sense that he’s flailing at the moment doing all sorts of nonsensical things.

  11. sharpshooterbabe says:

    That’s just too bad. I am fake cryign now.

     

     

    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  12. Thomas McKenna says:

    As AG of South Australia, didn’t he have to approve of this at some point for it to become a law?

  13. nashligo says:

    Yes! He’s the one who said something to the effect of "I don’t understand why all these people are demanding we give them pornographic violence", painting gamers who want 18+ as just wanting porn and gore.. nevermind that nigh anything with a gun-shaped object gets rated 18+ until the developer spends thousands replacing the blood with confetti.

     

  14. gellymatos says:

    "In a number of publicized emails, he refused to respond to even logical, well thought out arguments against his positions because he, in fact, had no intelligent response to them.  So, he refused to respond to the discussion because, he falsely claimed, that anonymous debators were "crank" commenters.  In fact, he was merely upset that he could not retaliate and take dishonorable and unethical action against the opposing voice."

    Not surprising. We’ve all seen it before. He can’t respond to intelligent points, so he ignores them.

  15. Arcanagos says:

    I believe that’s called the Ad Hominem fallacy, a favorite of the anti-gamer crowd.  (The "focusing on who is speaking, not what is being said" part)

    "Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson’ll justify it in the end." – nightwng2000

  16. nightwng2000 says:

    Tin-Pot-Dictator-Wannabes, like Michael Atkinson, show their true colors when they focus more on WHO says something rather than WHAT is said.  The fact that he wants the identities of his opposing voices shows that what he really wants is the ability to misuse his power and authority to retaliate against anyone who does not share his opinion.

    In a number of publicized emails, he refused to respond to even logical, well thought out arguments against his positions because he, in fact, had no intelligent response to them.  So, he refused to respond to the discussion because, he falsely claimed, that anonymous debators were "crank" commenters.  In fact, he was merely upset that he could not retaliate and take dishonorable and unethical action against the opposing voice.

    Mr. Atkinson has already stated that his constituants do not care, nor should they care, about the issue of Freedom of Speech.  Considering his position, it’s clear that it is his opinion that they shouldn’t care because HE is there to make the decision as to what is or is not appropriate for the people of Australia based on his own personal, religious, and/or political beliefs.

    Like any Tin-Pot-Dictator-Wannabe.
     

    Nightwng2000

    NW2K Software

    http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  17. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Now that I think about it, it does make sense. Pretty underhanded, but unless he’s just doing it for the sole purpose to get votes, it’s pretty effective.

    —————————–

    "A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

  18. DarkSaber says:

    "
    Adelaide Now reports that Atkinson stated, “I will immediately after the election move to repeal the law retrospectively.”"

    It almost makes it sounds like he introduced this deliberately so he can say "Vote for me and I’ll repeal this"

    ————————————————–

    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  19. nightwng2000 says:

    Ah, but that’s not the BEST part.

    He will do it RETROACTIVELY.

    Michael Atkinson has discovered time travel!

    Sure, you won’t be able to speak freely before the election.  But after the election, he’ll give you the ability to speak freely before the election.

    "I hate temporal mechanics." – Miles O’Brian x 2, Deep Space Nine.

    Nightwng2000

    NW2K Software

    http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  20. Zerodash says:

    LOL, Atkinson will repeal the law AFTER the election.  Did he actually say that with a straight face?

  21. Magic says:

    The whole situation reminds me of a certain politician:

    "It is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling. I love democracy. I love the Republic. The powers you give me I will lay down when this crisis has be abated! My first act, with this new authority, is to create a Grand Army of the Republic, to counter the increasing threat of the Separatists."

  22. Neeneko says:

    Yeah.. never trust an AG when they say ‘oh, I will not enforce the law, trust me’.  Laws like that have a sneaky way of coming back up when you need a reason to arrest someone or simply make their life difficult.

    The US legal system is a minefield of these ‘wink and nod, no we will not enforce this law because that would be silly!’ laws. Time and time again they pop back up when someone has an axe to grind or wants to make a name for themselves by randomly enforcing a law that 99% of the time people get a free pass on.

  23. EvilTikiMan says:

    While in a weird way I can understand the creation of the law in a strictly analytical sense, It still is wrong.

     

    Responsibility: Its time that the next generation takes up the reigns of power in our government, before the old fools who hold them steer this country of ours closer to capsizing. We must act before its to late to repair the damage. Write to your congressmen/women for redress.

  24. Ashura01 says:

    Holy crap, what the hell was Atkinson thinking?!! Did he seriously think that people were going to just take this lying down? Wow, It looks like South Austrailia has bigger problems than just a lack of a mature rating system for videogames…..

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