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Government

Submission + - Aussie game-banning AG's latest, & signs of se (theaustralian.com.au)

Philip_the_physicist writes: Michael Atkinson, the South Australian AG, who is responsible for the ongoing ban of 18-rated games, has added to his list of crazy tech-related ideas.

Firstly, he managed to get bipartisan support for a law which required all blog commenters making political comments during the campaign period (about a month) to give their name and postcode to the publisher, who was required to store it for 6 months. He claimed that "In blog sites, there is just no restraint. It is a jungle of criminal defamation (and) identity theft, a sewer of fraud," and that the media giants did not do enough to police their comment boards.

However, the public outrage, especially amongst young voters (who otherwise tend to favour his party), led to a reversal of this policy, as well as an admission from the opposition legal affairs spokeswoman Vickie Chapman that they had relied on Atkinsons explanation of the bill. The law will not be enforced for this election, and he has promised to repeal it after the election (20th of March)

The editorial column of the South Australian newspaper, has also published commentary (note that the paper in question is broadly pro-Liberal)
  • A Difference of Opinion will not be Tolerated: this one points out that Atkinson is cannot be demoted because he has the support of the Right faction of the Labor Party. Under the party's constitution, the central executive do the pre-selection for each seat, so his local branch cannot replace him as the official candidate, and the balance of power between the factions (which function almost as separate parties within the party) means that the Left can't demote him to where he can't do any harm or replace him as the official candidate. Furthermore, his seat is a safe Labor seat, so it is unlikely that he will lose his seat, unless Gamers4Croydon manage to draw enough preference from the young voters to support the Liberal candidate before him, which would be hard as well.
  • Censoring Free Speach in teh Secret State: This claims (with some justification) that the law was aimed primarily at their comments, which are generally as bad as you'd expect from a minor tabloid's readership, but tend more towards "flaming retard" than anything actually defamatory. They also point out that (a) the electoral commissioner couldn't possibly enforce this, but that they remove anything actually illegal from their site to protect themselves anyway.

One rather amusing aspect of the story is that Atkinson made a public denouncement of an example of a Liberal astroturfer, whom he referred to by name and claimed he knew did not exist. Unfortunately for him, that man actually was real, live 500m from his electorate office, and had an active web presence. The man in question has stepped forwards and Atkinson has publicly apologised to him.

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