Federal Court Shuts Down E-Safety Commissioner Attack On Free Speech

Written by:
13 May 2024
Federal Court Shuts Down E-Safety Commissioner Attack On Free Speech - Featured image

“Today’s ruling of the Federal Court denying the e-Safety Commissioner’s application to extend an injunction on X highlights the dramatic, ideologically driven over-reach by Julie Inman Grant,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

Today, Federal Court Justice Geoffrey Kennett denied the eSafety Commissioner’s application to extend an injunction forcing Twitter/X to hide footage of the alleged Wakeley terror attack in Sydney last month.

“Recent tragic events have shone a spotlight on how precarious our right to freedom of speech is in Australia,” said Mr Wild.

“The e-Safety Commissioner has proven to be a law unto herself, has no meaningful democratic accountability, and has wasted taxpayers’ money on a frivolous, ideologically driven lawsuit for purpose of self-aggrandizement.”

The matter underscores the importance of free speech online, which is under attack from the federal government. Worryingly, the Commissioner’s own lawyer, Tim Begbie KC, stated in court “This is not a free speech policy debate, this is about … the Online Safety Act.”

“What this shows is the e-Safety Commissioner has complete and utter disregard for online freedom of speech, and it reinforces the concern that proposed misinformation laws will be abused for political purposes,” said Mr Wild.

This matter is an ominous portent for online free speech, as calls to censor this footage reveal the real agenda behind the federal government’s proposed misinformation laws and how it will work.

“As terrible as this attack was, it might have been an opportunity to confront some difficult issues facing the nation. Yet, instead of asking the hard questions about social cohesion, the first reaction of the federal government was to censor the footage from the internet,” said Mr Wild.

“The federal government’s proposed misinformation laws will empower unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats like the e-Safety Commissioner, as well as biased ‘fact-checkers’, to determine the ‘official truth’ on matters according to their own ideologies.”

“The proposed federal misinformation laws are the greatest attack on freedom of speech in Australia’s peacetime history,” said Mr Wild.

To download the IPA’s previous research click here.

Support the IPA

If you liked what you read, consider supporting the IPA. We are entirely funded by individual supporters like you. You can become an IPA member and/or make a tax-deductible donation.