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South Australia Outlaws Anonymous Political Speech

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the best-of-luck-enforcing-that dept.

Censorship 352

Sabriel writes "If you're online in South Australia and want to comment about the upcoming state election, be prepared to hand over your real name and postcode first — because this month it becomes illegal to do so anonymously (even under a pseudonym). Media organizations must keep your details on file for six months and face 'fines of $5000 if they do not hand over this information to the Electoral Commissioner.' This abomination was passed with the support of both major parties (Labour and Liberal), and to quote its sponsor, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, 'There is no impinging on freedom of speech, people are free to say what they wish as themselves, not as somebody else.' Apparently incapable of targeting a few impostors without resorting to 'nuke it from orbit' legislative tactics, Atkinson has forgotten that protecting anonymity is important to the democratic process; hopefully both major parties will get a reminder come the polls on March 20."

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352 comments

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Feh (5, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994420)

No critisism. Less freedom than the "suggestion box" at my office. Lame.

Australian citizens, PLEASE do the right thing. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994608)

I'm not an Australian, but as a fellow citizen of the Western world, I'm putting out a call to all Australians to do the right thing, and vote all of these fools out of power. Parties are irrelevant. Get some people in there who love democracy, who crave freedom, who protect privacy, and who promote free expression.

Australians, please take charge. Be the leaders that the Western world so badly needs. Show us that democracy can work, especially in the face of those who strive so hard to crush it.

Be to the Western world what Poland and Hungary were to the Eastern Bloc nations twenty years ago.

Re:Australian citizens, PLEASE do the right thing. (4, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994684)

I'm Australian, but NOT South Australian. They're ~7% of the Australian population, so all Australians can't do much, otherwise we'd have bounced Atkinson a while ago.

Re:Feh (0)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994676)

No critisism. Less freedom than the "suggestion box" at my office. Lame.

Nicely done! Wish I had some mod points to throw at you :)

A link for the newbies who don't get the reference [slashdot.org] .

They are stopping it! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994424)

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/victory-atkinson-loosens-gag/story-e6frea6u-1225826104175

Re:They are stopping it! (3, Informative)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994512)

Well, technically, from your link...

"I will immediately after the election move to repeal the law retrospectively."

So, it's in effect until after the election.

Re:They are stopping it! (4, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994556)

"I will immediately after the election move to repeal the law retrospectively."

Promises, promises. . .

-FL

MOD PARENT UP (4, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994564)

Re:MOD PARENT UP (4, Funny)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994602)

Today? TODAY? Are you new here, or do you have a short memory? ;)

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994636)

Today? TODAY? Are you new here, or do you have a short memory? ;)

Didn't the guy in Memento go on Slashdot? I forget

Re:MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30995074)

you mean sammy jenkins... iirc

Damn you George Bush! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994426)

I'll be glad when Obama is President. Wait.......this is in Australia? Nevermind......

oblig (4, Insightful)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994468)

If anonymity is outlawed, only outlaws will have anonymity...

My views (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994484)

Both parties suck.

Come find me bitches!

Re:My views (4, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994770)

Both parties suck. Come find me bitches!

What are you trying to do, bankrupt Slashdot?

Some quick calculations. $5000 AUS is about, er, 50 quid or somthing, um, so, by my estimations Slashdot will go offline in approx... er..

Re:My views (4, Funny)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994866)

If I could find some bitches I'd keep them to myself.

Obligatory Soviet Russia joke: (5, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994486)

The Soviet constitution guaranteed freedom of speech.

The American constitution guarantees freedom after speech.

Obviously the Australia constitution guarantees nothing.

Re:Obligatory Soviet Russia joke: (0, Offtopic)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994764)

The Soviet constitution guaranteed freedom of speech.

And the potential for a one-way paid vacation to Siberia for a few lucky winners!

Re:Obligatory Soviet Russia joke: (5, Insightful)

ztransform (929641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994832)

Obviously the Australia constitution guarantees nothing.

Pretty much.

Australian laws are largely created to criminalise anybody, anytime. You know the old joke, "I read my border entry form and didn't realise I had to be a criminal to qualify for entry to Australia!" - the reality is that everybody in Australia is a criminal, take your pick which laws you're breaking at any one time.

If you think you haven't committed any crimes today you'll have a retrospective law applied to you in the future. Never fear, nobody gets away!

Re:Obligatory Soviet Russia joke: (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994986)

When everyone is a criminal, crime is commonplace.

Stop working and go steal stuff. What do you have to lose?

N.B. This is not legal advice.

Re:Obligatory Soviet Russia joke: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30995054)

the reality is that everybody in Australia is a criminal, take your pick which laws you're breaking at any one time.

Wasn't Australia originally established as a penal colony? So really, the criminals' descendants are running around free!

Ghads!

I'm not Australian but... (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994488)

I would have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, there's Thomas Payne, who would have hanged had the British known who was posting those flyers. Anonymity is part of free speech.

OTOH, if you hear something good about a candidate, it's good to know that it was an oil company executive or an RIAA goon who who is so enthusiastic about that particular politician.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (5, Interesting)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994532)

I think the right to be anonymous is more important than knowing who said what. You just know that the politicians put this law in place so that they could harass or politically destroy those who would speak against them. It's a "strategic *law* against public participation".

Censorship is the road to fascism.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (2, Insightful)

ztransform (929641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994900)

I think the right to be anonymous is more important than knowing who said what. You just know that the politicians put this law in place so that they could harass or politically destroy those who would speak against them. It's a "strategic *law* against public participation".

I've been thinking about this lately. Been watching too many dramas where a criminal wants to "face his accuser".

Saying something that the established power base does not want to be heard has consequences. Revealing one's identity can result in injury or death. This is why so many criminals never face justice - what witness wants to have a gang destroy their lives? What individual wants to be targeted by a main political party with threat of police action or secret retribution?

Anonymity is a fundamental part of freedom of speech. Without it there can be no true free speech.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (2, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995242)

I know being a geek that I'm supposed to be all pro-electronic freedom and such, but I actually like some aspects of this. Certainly not all but some aspects in any case. I'm so tired of reading statements posted by anonymous people stating this person did this, and that person did that, and this one is the anti-christ, and that one is a pedophile, etc, etc, ad-nauseum. I suspect all of those 'bold' claims will disappear if people are forced to put their names behind their statements unless they have facts to back up their statements. The rhetoric is so thick now, I get disgusted just glancing at anything regarding politics on the net.

That said, I think whistle blowing is a critical right of free speech, and I don't see any protections for that in this legislation. If anything, it is worded so broadly that it will undoubtedly be abused by those in power, and no politician should be trusted to do the right thing.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994544)

whenever I hear something good about a candidate, I just assume it's a shill.

A politician is a liar and a cheat until proven otherwise.

You have to have a certain mentality to want to put yourself out there for power. It is all about power.

My system has never failed.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994666)

"A politician is a liar and a cheat until proven otherwise."

So you don't believe innocent until proven guilty is part of a healthy democracy and legal system then?

Re:I'm not Australian but... (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994870)

A misquote (because my memory isn't what it used to be) from Hunt for Red October: "Son, I'm a politician. When I'm not kissing babies I'm stealing their lollipops."

Re:I'm not Australian but... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994934)

Politicians are by definition politicians.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (1, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994994)

Innocent until proven guilty is important in court and before the government, but it is not such a good idea for private individuals. If you are a parent and rumor or your instinct tell that Person A is a child molester, don't leave your child alone with Person A until you are convinced that Person A is not a child molester (the same rule applies to other situations involving individuals, although the standard of proof may be less in most circumstances). However, people should not be locked up on the basis of rumor or somebody's instinct. They shouldn't be seriously investigated by the authorities on that basis, although a quick preliminary check might be called for (something along the lines of a quick background check to see if they have a criminal record).
There have been cases where police have pulled people over on "instinct" and found something serious that was later thrown out because they didn't have what the courts considered sufficient cause. On the other hand, people have been pulled over on suspicion and convicted of something minor that had little to do with why they pulled the person over in the first place. Both are wrong. If the cops pull somebody over because they were driving slowly through an area that has had problems with driveby shootings and all they find is a pipe with pot residue in it, they should let the person go. If on the other hand they find a fully loaded automatic weapon in a car with somebody who had previously been convicted of a gang related crime, well, that's a different story (and I would want further details before deciding what course of action the police should have followed).

Re:I'm not Australian but... (3, Interesting)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995038)

No, I don’t.

If a cop says I turned left at an intersection where there’s a sign saying “no left turn”, I’m guilty unless proven innocent. They don’t even have to reveal their tape footage from the car showing whether or not I actually did.

Innocent until proven guilty is a pathetic lie that’s maintained to placate us.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995056)

Then again, maybe the current legal system isn’t a healthy democracy anymore.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994598)

Usually, you need proof and some sort of evidence to provide negative feedback on a political party. What you bring speaks for itself, so you don't need your identity to be known for what you're saying to have an impact anyways.

If you want to back someone up, feel free, but your backing won't have much power if it's made by someone entirely anonymous. If nobody knows X Oil Company supports candidate Y, then he doesn't have the backing of the large company, just that of Anonymous User Z (which isn't much). I don't think there is a single positive point out of this new legislation.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994686)

Thomas Payne, who would have hanged had the British known who was posting those flyers. Anonymity is part of free speech.

If you need to be anonymous to exercise free speech, that is not free speech.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995098)

In that case, free speech can never exist. If you must expose yourself to certain retaliation to exercise it, then it's effectively meaningless. It's like black voting rights used to be here in Alabama: "Sure boy, you can vote--as long as you don't mind losing your job and having your house burned down tonight."

It should not matter who voices the opinion (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994852)

I don't care if its the ACLU, RIAA, Greenpeace, NRA, or George Clooney.

People accept views in line with their own usually without regard to source. Far too many put any effort in determining if quotes are from the actual source let alone what some of the those groups with fancy names really represent.

I want all the speech we can get, the day where we outlaw it because of some petty concerns, and yours are petty, is the day we start down the path of excluding groups by voluntary organization which in turn because those of involuntary association.

Sorry, either all or nothing and all is the only choice. Look at any politician who comes out against a particular type of speech and you will find an incumbent fearful of losing his power over others.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995002)

Yeah, but an oil company exec is smart enough and rich enough to conceal his identity. You're never going to see a political ad that says "Brought to you by the Exxon Corporation." Instead it will say "Brought to you by Concerned Citizens for a Reasonable Environmental Policy" (or something similar). Then, only if you dig into it, will you find out that the latter "citizens' organization" is funded by a bunch of oil companies. It's much more difficult for an individual with no resources to form a front organization.

Laws like this one and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision [wikipedia.org] may well deprive the individual citizen of what little voice they already have in politics.

Re:I'm not Australian but... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995170)

I don't know, it might make them coalesce and group together more effectively and organise effecting lobbying and political opposition.

If everyone has something to lose, they might well fight all the harder (no more armchair anarchists).

Well hitler was australian wasn't he? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994492)

or was it austrian...

Re:Well hitler was australian wasn't he? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994548)

Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Re:Well hitler was australian wasn't he? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994600)

Hitler was a proud Australian ... just like Basement Dad.

Re:Well hitler was australian wasn't he? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994760)

Hitler was a proud Australian ... just like Basement Dad.

I think Basement Dad is a pretty cool guy, eh comes from the land of Hitler and doesn't afraid of anything.

Re:Well hitler was australian wasn't he? (1, Informative)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994738)

Dunno, tried the White Pages, couldn't find any. Couldn't be stuffed looking further.

Easy to forget (3, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994518)

Part of the problem here is that when one is in power it is easy to forget why anonymity is important. The main worry causing anonymous speech is threat of retaliation. When one is a powerful politician, one doesn't need to worry about that as much. Moreover, since every political act politicians do is public, they have trouble understanding more general motivations behind anonymous speech. Thus, this behavior is understandable although very bad. I'm also inclined to wonder if this will apply to bloggers and people who comment on blog threads.

Message !=messenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994524)

Address the message, not the messenger.

Anonymity separates the message from the messenger.

Breakin the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994530)

You'll never catch me, you bastards!

Time for outsiders to plunge in (4, Insightful)

spywhere (824072) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994554)

The rest of the English-speaking world should start posting anonymous political comments in South Australian Web sites. Maybe 4Chan should get involved...

Re:Time for outsiders to plunge in (1)

Serilleous (1400333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994702)

Had I mod points, you would get +1 Insightful....

Re:Time for outsiders to plunge in (3, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994722)

By 4chan you mean a bunch of nerdy teenagers?

Onoes what will they do!

Re:Time for outsiders to plunge in (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995032)

They'll gather in their dozens wearing Guy Fawkes masks, screaming "1984 is a warning, not a manual!"

Re:Time for outsiders to plunge in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30995082)

Anonomously post cartoon kiddie porn in the editorial blogs hoping that it won't all be censored before some one sees it.

Just think of this as a big employment project in Australia. They're going to have to hire a whole whack of new thought and identity police to enforce all the new laws.

Re:Time for outsiders to plunge in (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30995252)

It doesn't matter if anyone sees it. It matters that it disrupts and pisses off the people who are trying to maintain control. They have to remove it.

Re:Time for outsiders to plunge in (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994754)

Question: how do they know I provided accurate information? I can see a lot of 'Michael Atkinson - Adelaide' comments.

Re:Time for outsiders to plunge in (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994790)

Maybe 4Chan should get involved...

The problem with this is, no one would be able to recognize those statements as anything political.

"hopefully both major parties will get a reminder" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994572)

Ah yes, the every hopeful optimism of democracy. They politicians we voted for screw us, so lets vote for new politicians!

When will people finally realize that "the people" simply don't have to be listened to? Even if every single incumbent were to be voted out, the new batch would still benefit from that law. Same story, different faces. No government worker is going to repeal a law that benefits them so much.

Re:"hopefully both major parties will get a remind (1, Troll)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994940)

True, all elections are rigged, no matter what you do, a politician always wins.

Re:"hopefully both major parties will get a remind (1)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995156)

You may have meant that as a joke, but I'm afraid this is a lot more insightful than it is funny, sadly.

Enforceability (3, Informative)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994576)

The commentary at the bottom of this article [adelaidenow.com.au] says it all I think

John Quiggin, a long-time blogger and Research Fellow in Economics and Political Science at the University of Queensland, doubted whether the laws were enforceable. "They can pass as draconian law as they like, but without the capacity to impose their own internet censorship it's going to be a dead lemon," he said. "Anyone who wants to can set up an anonymous blog. "It will be totally ineffectual with someone who sets up a Wordpress blog post in the US under a false name and publish whatever they want."

Re:Enforceability (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994700)

Sure, but would anyone read such a site? The Internet has a pretty bad SNR when it comes to politics, and Wordpress and other blog sites are notorious for their spam problems which makes it all the worse.

If you're saying something, then you want to be heard. If the politicians have forced anonymous speech down in to the same slums as spam, then even though it's not a fool-proof system they've still won in curtailing effective anonymous speech.

Re:Enforceability (4, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994828)

That implies they care about universal enforcement of the law. They don't really care if someone whines about a traffic fine anonymously on the blog. No, they'll go after "particular" offenders, or they'll use it to punish dissidents they particularly dislike after already having them so they have something that can stick. That's how modern democracy works, after all--enough laws and you'll be able to nail someone on something eventually.

Re:Enforceability (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994936)

You seem to be forgetting the Great Australian Firewall that the Aussies are working on implementing:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Australia

As soon as the government can shut down your Wordpress blog by blacklisting it, you'll either have to give up political speech entirely or opt for a non-anonymous blog.

Common Sense (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994588)

Thomas Paine would not approve.

Re:Common Sense (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994918)

Maybe, but Max Payne would do something about it.

So, homeless people are out of luck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994592)

So people without a postal code can't comment? I thought only the USA did that.

Re:So, homeless people are out of luck? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994796)

A 'postal' code is like an American ZIP code and covers a pretty big area or do you have nomadic homeless covering large grazing ranges?

Re:So, homeless people are out of luck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30995244)

fwiw, in the UK a post code covers one road or section of it if it's particularly long.

i'd guess something in the region of 100-200 properties.

ignore them, do it anyway (2, Insightful)

chris.alex.thomas (1718644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994606)

why are you even taking notice of what they say, there are some laws that can't be taken away, even by passing a dozen of these bills through the houses of law around the world, just ignore them, post anonymous political commentry, make sure you don't keep logs and use 7 proxies. then when it comes to polling day, throw them out in favour of the others, I've been thinking about this and some people say that it's not enough to throw the others out and get the new gang in, because the new is as bad as the old, but there is a big difference in the way that we should do it. instead of throwing them out for "unknown" number of possible reasons, tell them, explicitly, you were thrown out, because of enacting laws that we didnt like, we changed you like a pair of socks. new government, be warned, you're next if you fall out of line, yeah sure, the new guys are as bad as the old guys, but self preservation might actually make them listen, you're going to get thrown out, if you don't do what we say, we don't care who replaces you, as long as you're replaced. your message will get across someday, but in the meantime, do what you want, ignore what you want, post what you want, feel what you want

Won't get fooled again (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995044)

Here come the new laws
Same as the old laws

-The Who

What the fuck (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994610)

Ok, just finished reading TFA and in TFA they say that this law is set to expire right after the elections are over. That's such a blatant attempt to censor for specific electoral ends it isn't funny. If there were a genuine motivation here they'd have implemented it indefinitely. This doesn't seem that different than when some countries take over or close their media right before an election. Not cool.

Australians, ever competitive (1)

Bertie (87778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994646)

Obviously they've been stung into action by those pesky Pommies' headlong rush into totalitarianism, and as usual are pulling out all the stops to get one over on their old rival...

Ironic (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994662)

since this is the country that first made the secret ballot mainstream.

I have a better idea for reforming Western politics: allow anonymous speech, but get rid of anonymous voting, especially on referenda.

If you vote for a big expenditure on a local ballot like a new bond, I want the government to personally assess you a new tax so you can put your money where your mouth is if I decide to vote "no" on it.

The fact of the matter is that secret ballots don't protect people from reprisal where it counts. If an employer wants to fire you for your views, they'll find out soon enough based on conversations at work. Employers scummy enough to scan through public voting records are also going to do the same for Facebook, etc. so there is no point in even wasting one's breath trying to preemptively stop them.

I would also add... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994732)

That one benefit to allowing the government to track how people vote on referenda and then hold them personally accountable would be that people would actually wake the hell out on how much government costs. The first time the working class and lower middle class get pounded back into the stone age financially for voting for expensive new programs would be the last time they'd automatically vote themselves largesse from the treasury!

Austrailian Censorship (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994674)

Not really a shocker from a Western Nation with some of the most outrageous censorship laws as applied to movies and video games. That sort of thing just grows...ThinkSpeak

system (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994682)

hopefully both major parties will get a reminder come the polls on March 20.

That's some heavy stuff you're smoking there, you sure it's legal?

The political system of the west is built to let blunders of this kind disappear. Because you can not vote on issues, only on parties. And if party X has 90% of your opinion, you're going to vote for it rather than party Y which only has 60% of your opinions.

Until something like that Pirate Parties "liquid democracy" becomes a reality, that's the way it is and the major parties can pretty much fuck you in the ass as long as they make sure you don't have any realistic alternatives to vote for instead.

Re:system (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994788)

The political system of the west is built to let blunders of this kind disappear. Because you can not vote on issues, only on parties.

Not in the USA. We vote for individuals, not Parties. Which is why, for instance, La has one Democratic Senator and one Republican Senator, elected independently in two separate statewide votes.

If we're of a conservative bend, and our local Dem is conservative, he'll be as likely to get the vote as the Republican (assuming that the Republican is conservative - not all of them are, in spite of what you may have read in the news).

Likewise, if we're liberally inclined, we can (and will) vote for a liberal Republican (yes, there are even a few of those) over a conservative Democrat (and a few of those).

Re:system (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995070)

I call bullshit. Most of the people who identify themselves as Democrats will vote for whoever is running on the Democratic ticket. Most of the people who identify themselves as Republicans will vote for the Republican candidate. The only time you're voting for 'individuals' is when you're voting in a primary where you have more then one candidate from the same party to pick from, and even then, in a lot of cases, it's a choice between clones. "Do I vote for the white guy who is spouting the party line, or do I vote for the other white guy who is spouting the same party line?"

The only people who don't fall into that are people who consider themselves independents, and a lot of the time, they're stuck with a bad choice or a worse choice. (And even then, if the candidate they like is from a party that isn't demographically favored in their area, their choice means fuck all.)

Yes, that's pessimistic. But saying that the U.S. is different because we vote 'for individuals' is disingenuous at best.

Re:system (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995220)

For Republican/Democrat, that’s generally true, but a person who identifies himself or herself as “Conservative” will tend to vote on issues, not party – jumping to a third-party or even a Democrat candidate in the rare case when the Democrat is more conservative.

The same could somewhat be said of people who identify as “Liberal”, but there are fewer of them, and the Democrat candidate is almost always the most liberal so it basically translates to an automatic Democrat vote.

Re:system (1)

ztransform (929641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994958)

Because you can not vote on issues, only on parties.

Imagine a parliament filled only with independents. Then having to form a true consensus about an issue with a real debate!

Re:system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30995028)

Yeah, look what happened when the Yanks voted in that half-white dude along with the rest of his party. They tripled their debt in just the first 3 months of have all the same party in power!

Suggestion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994746)

Australia... change your govern NOW!.

Federalist, aka The Federalist Papers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994780)

What will my modern-day South African spiritual counterparts do?

--Publius

Fortunately, the U.S. SCOTUS Disagrees (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994804)

"Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority."

Of course, Scalia and Thomas disagreed.

australia has been stuck in the antipodes too long (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994806)

we need to tow australia up to the northern hemisphere, give it someone to talk to and play with. it's kind of getting cabin fever down there in the nothingness and kind of losing its mind. all it has to talk to is new zealand, and we all know what that's worth

No secret ballot, too (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994812)

If you can't have an anonymous opinion, why not go all the way and publish people's names and how they voted?

WTF is with Australia lately? (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994838)

That government has been on quite the moral tear lately--banning videogames, arresting people for looking at naked Simpsons characters, etc. I always thought the U.S. was supposed to be the puritanical country in the English-speaking world, but lately it seems like the Australia and the UK are making America look open-minded and progressive by comparison.

Re:WTF is with Australia lately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994992)

We're leading the way, though.

It's this whole TV rhetoric BS.

"He's soft on child pornography!"

"He's soft on terrorism!"

The typical person just gets their information from the TV and radio. They're too lazy or don't have the time to dig deeper. The people want simple explanations, They want simple answers and they want someone to blame.

Australia isn't alone.

People want to be sheep.

Re:WTF is with Australia lately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30995238)

Amusingly the same guy who sponsored this law is the same one who is responsible for video game censorship. For a state MP he's getting a lot of international coverage.

Easily avoided? (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994848)

Seems like it would be easy enough to get around this: set up a site for discussing for elections, and have it hosted outside South Australia. People can post as anonymously or pseudonymously as they like, and it's well outside the reach of the authorities. What an utterly useless law.

Law to be repealed (2, Informative)

KenMcM (1293074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994854)

Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has just vowed to repeal this law [adelaidenow.com.au] .

This is common sense, guys (0, Troll)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994898)

This is no infringement on free speech. Yes, anonymity may be useful if you're blowing the whistle on wrong-doing by the powerful, but in normal political debate anonymity is a bad thing. When you see a thousand comments with a thousand different names all supporting the same view, how do you know whether it's a widely held view or one loon with nine hundred and ninety nine sock puppets? How do you know whether it's astroturf by a foreign corporation or foreign government meddling in your affairs?

You don't.

This law doesn't stop anyone expressing any political opinion they like. All it does is require that they are prepared to put their name to it.

This isn't denying freedom: it's protecting freedom by preventing manipulation.

(And no, I'm not going to 'post anonymously')

Re:This is common sense, guys (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995092)

It doesn't matter who says what is being said. Ideas live and die on their own merits, regardless of who supports the ideas. Saying otherwise is an ad hominem fallacy.

Re:This is common sense, guys (2, Insightful)

tick-tock-atona (1145909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995150)

And? If an online article has a thousand comments supporting one view, what of it? Do you really have such little faith in the general public (a small minority of which even read all the comments on an online news article) that you believe they're going to become confused and change their vote because Anonymous Coward 1, 2, and 3 all say they should?

Why don't we just publish everyone's votes after the next election? After all, people should be prepared to put their name to their opinion shouldn't they?

Protect freedom? I don't think so. It's just another example of Australian politicians deciding that they are better than the average joe, and have to protect the public from freedom by denying it to them. The internet filter is the best example. Why the fuck didn't our founders write a constitution!?

Next (2, Insightful)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994922)

Next up: no more anonymous voting. As Attorney-General Michael Atkinson might say:

There is no impinging on the freedom to vote, people are free to vote for whomever they wish as themselves, not as somebody else.

How is this different... (2, Insightful)

Harin_Teb (1005123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994956)

How is this different from laws we have in the US where we require people in public protests to be "unmasked"? Example: The KKK used to do their marches in the full hoods and robes. states started passing laws requiring their faces to be revealed during their marches in order to "shame them" into not doing it. Those laws were ruled constitutional because their right to speak is impinged in any way shape or form.

I'm failing to see how this is different. A right to speak is not the same as a right to speak anonymously.

(Unintended?) Consequences (1)

Software Geek (1097883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30994960)

This law is problematic even beyond the restriction to anonymous speech. By setting specific record keeping requirements to make speech not be considered anonymous, they can label any kind of casual speech as anonymous. Then they can supress it.

hopefully both major parties will get a reminder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30994974)

or not ... people are stupid
EOF.

The U.S. has solved this problem (1)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995010)

The U.S. has solved this problem by removing the significance of honesty from party politics.

Understanding the relationship between political parties, and political rhetoric
in the U.S. What is a Political Party? [bit.ly]

I_Voter
My very amateur Web Site:
Citizen's Political Power in the U.S. [google.com]

Outlaw this (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995040)

I'm Australian, and I don't know who is running for the South Australian parliament. Ergo, they must be a bunch of useless bastards. Feel free to moderate me (+1, Rebel.)

Comments through foreign proxies (1)

jr0dy (943553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995100)

We should organize a web community through which Aussies tell us foreigners what they want us to post, and we go post it on their behalf. This is insane.

If Anyone Wants (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30995200)

For a small fee I would publish any political content from the US concerning Australia under my own name. So much for their laws!

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