Federal Government Re-commits To ‘Misinformation’ Bill Censorship

Written by:
23 November 2023
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“The federal Minister of Communications confirmation today that the government is committed to introducing the most draconian censorship Australians have ever faced outside of wartime, highlights it has not listened to community concerns,” said John Storey, Director of Law and Policy at the Institute of Public Affairs.

At the National Press Club today, while announcing a review into the Online Safety Act, the federal Minister for Communications also announced the government is committed to introducing a revised version of its internet censorship laws, in early 2024.

“It is completely disingenuous for the Minister to seek to conflate the protection of Australians from predators online with the federal government’s plan to empower bureaucrats in Canberra with the right to determine what is the official truth and censor mainstream opinion through its ‘misinformation’ bill,” said Mr Storey.

“The federal government is cravenly using heightened concerns about current tensions in parts of our community, and the fears of parents and others about harmful online content, as a trojan horse to push forward laws that will in practice impose political censorship.”

The federal government’s internet censorship laws, the Communication Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill, will require foreign owned social media companies to censor mainstream Australians to the satisfaction of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which will be able to impose fines in relation to social media posts.

“You cannot have a functioning democracy if one side of a debate is silenced. That’s exactly what will happen under the federal government’s proposed laws, which will supercharge online censorship and empower biased ‘fact-checkers’, who have proven they cannot be trusted to be impartial,” said Mr Storey.

“Throughout the referendum campaign, Australians witnessed unparalleled levels of online censorship driven by the intervention of so-called ‘fact-checkers’. It shows why the government’s proposed misinformation laws must be scrapped.”

“The referendum showed just how out of touch the elites and political class are from the views of mainstream Australians. That is why it is crucial that Canberra-based public servants are not in a position to determine what can and cannot be said on the internet,” said Mr Storey.

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