Anti Trolling or Pro Litigation

Is old rhetoric or public good driving the latest batch of bills proposed by the Morrison LNP government.

The government’s anti-trolling laws are shaping up to be the cornerstone upon which the Morrison Liberal government runs it’s 2022 election campaign. These laws however seem to solely focus on the ability to litigate defamation cases rather than actually tackle online trolling for the everyday Aussie.

The reforms will give victims of defamatory online comments two ways to unmask trolls and resolve disputes.

Prime Minister & Attorney General Media Release

In the above media release there are 12 references to defamation and defamatory comments as the target of the new law. This appears to be at odds with the generally held consensus of what online trolling actually is. Even the Prime Minister himself described the offending online behaviour as “… anonymously going around, and harm people and hurt people, harass them and bully them and sledge them. That’s not Australia[n].”, in this interview on the ABC. However the media release has zero references to online harassment or abuse, initially I thought this was because the ability to reconcile this in a legal sense would have no precedent but that isn’t the case at all. Harassment, bullying and abuse have very well documented parameters in terms of legal prosecution, surely if the new law can target defamation it could also include these equally if not more severe cases.

This bill along with the religious freedom act seem, in my personal opinion, to be a desperate last ditch effort of a flailing political party to inflict old and often outdated rhetoric onto a populace that is tired of being ignored. Finally able to speak their mind directly to those who purport to represent the community as a whole, everyday people now have the capacity to voice their critique and opinion of officials on how they conduct themselves whilst holding public office.

When we speak truth to power we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst.

Jeremy Hammond

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