Hands Off Online Free Speech!
VICTORY! (of sorts): According to media reports dated 14 November 2023, the Albanese Labor Government "will overhaul a draft bill targeting misinformation and disinformation online after strong pushback against the proposal" and "will also delay introducing the legislation into parliament until 2024". Media reports further indicated that the strong reaction against the bill was attributable to CitizenGO's campaign. CitizenGO will continue to monitor this issue and will examine the new bill for anti-freedom elements when it is released in 2024. While we take the win, the entire Combatting Misinformation & Disinformation is BAD and we won't settle for anything less than its complete abandonment.
UPDATE #1: Submissions against the proposed Combatting Misinformation & Disinformation Bill closed on Sunday, 20 August 2023.
UPDATE #2: The Australian Government extended the deadline for submissions from 6 August 2023 to 20 August 2023. By signing this petition you will be making an automatic submission to the government against this bill.
UPDATE #3: CitizenGO turned up in force in Canberra during the week from Monday, 31 July to Friday, 4 August to deliver a clear message to the government, politicians, and bureaucrats: Hands Off Our Online Free Speech! With the generous donations of CitizenGO members and supporters, we were able to secure two mobile billboards to drive around Canberra with that exact message. Along with that, supporters turned up to hand deliver over 20,000 submissions against the bill (that this petition has already garnered) to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.
George Orwell wrote the book 1984 in which a totalitarian government regulated the truth.
It’s quite a coincidence, then, that on Orwell’s 120th birthday, the Albanese Labor Government announced it would begin regulating the truth, here in Australia.
A chilling draft bill from the Australian government, the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023, is threatening to plunge the nation into an Orwellian nightmare.
This proposed legislation aims to have so-called "misinformation" removed from the internet by fining social media companies and other online companies that allow free speech.
The clock is ticking, and we must act now to protect our fundamental right to free speech. Sign our petition today to demand the government abandon this dangerous bill.
The new draft bill empowers the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to enforce an industry-wide "code of practice" and request records from digital platforms such as Google and Facebook. Those records could include your social media posts!
However, the real danger lies in the bill's vague definitions of "misinformation" and "disinformation," which are open to interpretation and abuse by those in power. And then there is the question of who decides what is ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’. Instances where official fact-checkers have gotten it wrong or labeled satire and humor as misinformation are not uncommon. And entrusting a government agency to be the arbiter of truth is eerily reminiscent of the dystopian "Ministry of Truth" from George Orwell's 1984.
Free speech is a near absolute right, and laws should not be made for subjective matters. The notion of keeping people 'safe' from misinformation is itself misleading, as speech, even based on falsehoods, cannot cause real, direct harm. Laws should not be made for highly personal and subjective matters.
The definition of harm in the proposed bill is also highly subjective, encompassing anything deemed hateful, disruptive, or harmful to various aspects such as society, democracy, environment, and economy. These terms are open to interpretation and cannot be considered facts.
The time to act is now. We must stand together and fight against this attack on free speech before it's too late.
Sign the petition to tell the government to abandon the proposed Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023.
Let us not allow Australia to descend into a totalitarian future where our right to speak up is silenced forever.