SA Bans Anonymous Comments

[EDIT]: South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has committed to repeal these unpopular amendments.

Amendments to the South Australia Electoral Act 1985 that came into effect on the January 6 will mean that anyone wishing to post a comment about the SA state election will be legally required to include their real name and postcode. The restriction will only apply during the election which extends from after the writs have been issued until 6pm on polling day.

Many supporters for the introduction of the R18+ for games debate are hoping for SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson to lose his seat in the upcoming election as he is strongly opposed to an R18+ for games and has the power to veto the change.

The change to the act was included in a number of amendments that were made last year and was supported by the Opposition. The part of the act that has been changed is quoted below with the changes emphasized.

116—Published material to identify person responsible for political content

(1) A person must not, during an election period, publish material consisting of, or containing a commentary on, any candidate or political party, or the issues being submitted to electors, in written form, in a journal published in electronic form on the Internet or by radio or television or broadcast on the Internet, unless the material or the programme in which the material is presented contains a statement of the name and address (not being a post office box) of a person who takes responsibility for the publication of the material.

Maximum penalty:

(a)     if the offender is a natural person—$1 250;

(b)     if the offender is a body corporate—$5 000.

(2)     This section does not apply to—

(a)     the publication in a journal (including a journal published in electronic form on the Internet) of a leading article;

(b)     the publication of a report of a meeting that does not contain any comment (other than comment made by a speaker at the meeting) on any candidate, or political party, or the issues being submitted to electors;

(c)     the publication in a journal (including a journal published in electronic form on the Internet) of an article, letter, report or other matter if—

(i)     the name and address (not being a post office box) of a person who takes responsibility for the publication of the material is provided to the publisher of the journal and retained by the publisher for a period of 6 months after the end of the election period; and

(ii)     the journal contains a statement of the name and postcode of the person who takes responsibility for the publication of the material;

(ca)    the publication of a letter (otherwise than as described in paragraph (c)) that contains the name and address (not being a post office box) of the author of the letter;

(d)     a news service or a current affairs programme on radio or television or broadcast on the Internet;

(e)     any other prescribed material or class of material.

(3)     In this section—

journal means a newspaper, magazine or other periodical.

10 comments
  1. TickledBlue at 13:47 2010.02.02 Reply

    So would posting a comment to this require me to include those details?

  2. BiafraRepublic at 23:26 2010.02.02 Reply

    How would this pertain to journals published or based outside of South Australia, or the Commonwealth as a whole?

  3. Anonymous at 01:16 2010.02.03 Reply

    I think Mike Rann should be voted out of office!

  4. Alexander Lewis Sterling at 01:43 2010.02.03 Reply

    Has Australia just begun to circle the drain? Or is this kind of mindlessness about to hit an oppressive climax?

  5. Anonymous at 02:26 2010.02.03 Reply

    Uh oh… things are going to get tough for me real soon…

  6. anon at 03:14 2010.02.03 Reply

    I’m just happy America isn’t the most backwards country in the world anymore. Sucks for you guys…

  7. ProxiesAreAwesome at 03:37 2010.02.03 Reply

    Yeah good luck with that Southern Australian politicians.

  8. crscheid at 04:46 2010.02.05 Reply

    hey look, forced identification. Sounds a lot like the mandatory cards issued to black south Africans during the apartheid.

  9. Anonymous at 07:25 2010.02.05 Reply

    Good thing he’s going to repeal them, Atkinson should be removed from office, hopefully when a new government is voted in ;)

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