Anonymous blog comment safe in Australia

by John Quiggin on October 12, 2005

The issue of how (if at all) to regulate political comment and advertising on blogs (and the Internet in general) has been coming up in many countries as the electoral cycle catches up with the blog explosion. In Australia, the last election produced threats to regulate blogs and other Internet comment on political matters, in particular by requiring identifying details to be posted[1].

This was one of the subjects addressed by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters Inquiry into the Conduct of the 2004 Federal Election and Matters Related Thereto. I made a submission attacking the idea, and arguing that only paid advertisements should be subject to this requirement. Amazingly enough[2], the Committee agreed.

My post and submission here
A supplementary submission here
The Committee report here

fn1. Note the equation of bloggers and spammers !
fn2. I’ve appeared before dozens of these Parliamentary committees and inquiries, and this has hardly ever happened. Sometimes one side of politics has liked my submission, but that usually means the other side hates it. Its nice to see consensus for once.



rollo 10.12.05 at 5:41 pm

“The historic sense may recognize a picturesque incident in the selection by Lafayette of Thomas Paine to convey the Key of the Bastille to Washington.
In the series of intellectual and moral movements which culminated in the French Revolution, the Bastille was especially the prison of Paine’s forerunners, the writers, and the place where their books were burned. “The gates of the Bastille,” says Rocquain, “were opened wide for abbés, savants, brilliant intellects, professors of the University and doctors of the Sorbonne, all accused of writing or reciting verses against the King, casting reflections on the Government, or publishing books in favor of Deism, and contrary to good morals. Diderot was one of the first arrested…”


Natalie Solent 10.13.05 at 4:12 am

Good for you. You performed a public service, and not just for Australians, since electoral authorities in other countries will be influenced by the Australian decision.

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