On the Democracy Front

by Purple Wyrm on February 3, 2010

Well thankfully it looks like South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson has backed down over his ridiculous and anti-democratic laws concerning political blogging. Excellent!

For those late to the party, Atkinson got some new laws put in in South Australia this week forcing anyone who wants to post anything anywhere online about the upcoming state election to sign their comments with their real name and postcode. It seems that he was motivated to create such laws because he believed the opposition were using a false identity to harass him in the comments section of a local newspaper website (oh poor diddums!). Apparently this wouldn’t threaten free speech in any way because people could still say what they liked, they’d just have to say who they were at the same time (the fact that the option of anonymity is crucial to genuine free speech seems to have evaded his tiny mind).

In the face of (unsurprising) public outrage he’s had to back down and promised to retroactively cancel the laws after the election. He’s attributing this outrage to the “blogging generation”, which only goes to show how hopelessly out of touch he is.

Additionally, in a nice bit of irony it turns out that the ‘fake commenter’ created by the Liberal Party to harass him in the Adelaide Advertiser is in fact a real person who lives less that 500m from his office. Nice to know he keeps in touch with his electorate.

Of course Atkinson is the same guy who’s singlehandedly preventing an ‘R’ classification for computer games anywhere in the country, apparently on the basis that anyone who wants to play anything more sophisticated that Mario Cart is a ravening sociopath. He also claimed that the gamers lobby (who are trying to get such a classification set up) are sending him death threats – on the basis of one threatening letter that turned out to be related to a completely different case.

What can you say but roll on the election!

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