“There is a growing concern in the community that the Voice to Parliament debate is being rigged by government, big business, and foreign big tech companies, working together to censor mainstream opinion,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.
Last night, analysis was provided to the Prime Minister detailing three recent IPA research videos which had been censored by Facebook and Google, as well as advice on how the government can immediately stop foreign big tech censorship that is preventing a free and fair debate.
Specifically, Schedule 2, Part 2, Section 3 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 requires broadcasters to offer political parties the opportunity to broadcast election material during an election. To ensure a free and fair debate, Schedule 2 should be amended as follows;
- The definition of ‘broadcasters’ should include digital and social media platforms, to ensure equal treatment between traditional and online media platforms.
- The requirement to give opportunity to broadcast referendum material should be extended to all referendum participants (not just political parties as is currently the case), to ensure that the diverse views of the community on the Voice will be heard.
“Australians have every right to be deeply concerned that foreign owned big tech giants are exerting significant influence over domestic political and cultural matters,” said Mr Wild.
“These big tech companies have shown a repeated pattern of behaviour of censoring anyone who merely questions the role, scope, and function of the proposed Voice to Parliament, and have displayed a callous indifference towards the right of Australians to be fully informed in this debate.”
“Just last week the Federal Minister for Home Affairs warned Australians about foreign powers seeking to influence democratic processes in Australia, the IPA has now brought clear examples of this to the government’s attention.”
“The Federal Government has said that it wants the debate on the Voice to be open to the whole community. It is now time for these words to be matched with action.”
“Foundational to the Australian way of life is that every Australian should have an equal say over the big issues facing our nation’s future, and for debate to be conducted in a free and fair manner,” said Mr Wild.
Recent research by the IPA on the Voice to Parliament can be found here, here, and here.