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Scott Morrison renews crackdown on social media users

For the second time this year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, bereft of the will and the capacity to announce anything useful, has again declared he will go after “anonymous trolls” on social media.

His cunning plan requires forcing tech giants who own the platforms to either identify the “trolls” so they can be pursued for defamation, or pay defamation costs themselves. The proposal also requires social media users to provide proof of identity before being allowed to use the platforms. You can’t sue anonymous.

This proposal is unlikely to be legislated and equally unlikely to be useful in the event it becomes law, except for the privileged few who can afford to pursue legal remedies.

It is worth remarking on as yet another performance of hypocrisy on the part of Morrison and some members of his Government. Backbencher Andrew Laming, for example, renowned for his photographs of a woman bending over at work, created dozens of Facebook accounts specifically to troll his opponents using identities other than his own.

Morrison regularly trots out the social media bogeyman, including an address he gave to a Christian convention on the Gold Coast earlier this year in which he described social media as the “work of the Devil” and a “weapon used by the evil one”.

It is remarkable how Morrison’s Pentecostal religious convictions frequently appear to dovetail with the business of his Government. His war on social media is but one example. Think of his attacks on people with reduced means in the form of Robodebt and the cashless debit card, attacks that are consistent with the Pentecostal principle that material benefits accrue to believers and deny God his due results in misfortune.

Then consider Morrison’s current efforts to pass the so-called “Religious Freedom” Bill, a 2019 Election promise and one that some in his own Party fear will undermine existing rights preventing discrimination by religious institutions. The LGBTQI community will be most affected by the Bill, which nicely fits with the Pentecostal abhorrence of homosexuality.

Not all members of the Morrison Government are followers of the Pentecostal cult – or, indeed, any religion – however, they are all committed to a neoliberal project that fundamentally corrodes society and destroys trust in its institutions. There is in Australia an unfortunate convergence of interests between Pentecostals, conservative Christians and neoliberalism that creates a substantial powerbase, enabled by supportive media.

The most powerful antidote to this cabal is social and independent media. These platforms offer “ordinary people” the opportunity to express disagreement and to challenge the edicts of the political class. They are the cyber equivalent of heckling and discomfiting politicians and their enablers in the streets.

Inevitably, the authoritarian populist regime headed by “Scomo” not only wants to silence public dissent, but it also wants to punish the dissenters. What better way to do that than threatening ruinous defamation action? After all, despite the Prime Minister advising marching women they were lucky not to be shot, we have not yet reached the stage where people protesting their government’s actions can be disappeared off the face of the Earth. And defamation action is legal.

The pre-election pearl-clutching around the “evils” of social media deflects from the major site of abuse and concealment in Australia today: the Morrison Government.

Morrison, assisted by other MPs, senior advisors and staffers, is suspected of concealing his knowledge of the alleged rape of Ms Brittany Higgins in a ministerial office just down the corridor from his own, in March 2019.

But social media is the problem.

The Morrison Government is attempting to introduce voter identity law, when voting is already compulsory and there is, according to the Australian Electoral Commission, no evidence at all of widespread voter fraud. This legislation will likely disenfranchise many groups of voters.

But social media is the problem.

Alleged rapist and former Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter had his legal fees covered by secret donors. He has not declared their contributions, which are estimated to be up to $1 million, making a mockery of the declaration of interests required of MPs.

But social media is the problem.

The Morrison Government is committed to the coercive control of millions of Australians through the imposition of the cashless debit card.

But social media is the problem.

Millions of public dollars have been commandeered by the Morrison Government to fund extensive rorts as part of its election campaigns.

But social media is the problem.

I could go on, itemising the numerous ways in which Morrison and his MPs have deceived, defrauded and abused the Australian people, but I have a word limit.

So let me finish with a link to an ever-growing list of Scott Morrison’s lies. The Prime Minister is, indisputably, a serial liar. He even appears to lie without purpose, when nothing is achieved by the lie, or when the lie compounds an earlier lie.

We are now at the stage where nothing he says can be believed, because so much of what he says has proven to be a lie. There really is little point in listening to him, because, lies.

But social media is the problem and Morrison has the solution. Praise be.

 

 

 

This article was originally published on Independent Australia.

 

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13 comments

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  1. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Jennifer;

    Yes, so many of these latest attempts at legislation have been stymied or seriously endangered, at least partly because social media offers ordinary people the opportunity to put their views, And yes, to troll, if that’s their bent..

    But, as your article makes clear, it allows the same opportunities to elected members of government. These same elected members also have the opportunity of parliamentary privilege, and the further opportunity to promote their views (and harm others, if they like) via the mainstream media attention they naturally and inevitably receive, as elected members.

    If Morrison does succeed in his attempt to force through his proposed legislation re. social media, he might actually find that it comes back to bite him and some of his fiercest allies.

    For myself, it has been alarming to see details of some of the proposed legislation, but then it’s been delightful to see the defeats and setbacks that have occurred.

  2. Mason

    The PM, Parliament House 29 November 2021, address on “report into parliamentary workplace behaviour | ABC News” – see 28-34sec mark – the good olde hidden hand gesture of the Freemasons – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQUBLin5a6k What hope with such a ‘leader’?

  3. Michael Taylor

    From Grumpy Geezer’s article yesterday:

    First they came for the ABC. Then they came for journalists and whistle-blowers. Now they’re coming for the tweeters.

  4. New England Cocky

    “‘Inevitably, the authoritarian populist regime headed by “Scomo” not only wants to silence public dissent, but it also wants to punish the dissenters. What better way to do that than threatening ruinous defamation action?”

    Now which leaders of two European countries wanted ”to silence dissent” and ”punish dissenters” in the first half of the 20th century?

    A handy hint: One was strung up from a lamp-post and shot, the other allegedly committed suicide in a bunker ….

  5. GL

    Mason,

    Um…er…what are you babbling about? Scummo a freemason? All I saw was an unconscious hand movement.

  6. skip

    Well howdy NEC!

    We’ve got a beed on that great big target U with your ‘strung up’ . . . etc. Gladys and eye have gotch ya numbah . . . oh yes who is ‘eye’? Hint nudge nudge . . . the burning bush, those ten on the stone tablets

    yep stralya . . . Defamation Alley and boy how does it reek!!!!

  7. margcal

    General comment – not re this article per se …

    Readers of The AIMN learn a lot that they otherwise wouldn’t thanks to the time, effort and skills of the article authors.
    However, I suspect that most readers are already on-side.

    What I would like (and I know that I shouldn’t be suggesting something that I won’t work on!) is a list of 3-5 succinct reasons for not voting Liberal* together with links to relevant ‘short simple’ articles that give the basic details about those 3-5 points.

    I’m thinking of this as a sort of social media election campaign advert to possibly, with luck, catch the eye of those not interested in politics before they scroll on, people for whom AIMN articles would be too long/detailed/confusing and in quite a few cases, the subjects simply too esoteric – a sad reflection on such voters, not the authors.
    Something that readers here could post on their social media accounts, reaching our infuriating friends.
    * In this situation I think “Put Liberal last” (my preferred slogan) is too blunt for the target audience I’m imagining.

    Something like,
    If you vote Liberal you are voting to … / Don’t vote Liberal otherwise you will be voting to …
    – keep Australia’s most vulnerable citizens in poverty (link)
    – keep home ownership out of reach (link)
    – keep refugees in indefinite detention – 7/10? years and counting (link)
    – keep underfunding public hospitals, public schools, and universities (link)

    Maybe other points – I’m wondering what will resonate with the politically uneducated/wilfully ignorant so that we will get rid of this government – not necessarily what is most important or what is foundational to what will resonate.

    Any thoughts on any of this?

  8. Williambtm

    The Facebook revelations today about a huge act of treachery by this nations State and Federal government revealed on an inter-chat broadcast to all Facebook users, is available just below.

    A suggestion is to start at the 1-hour 11-minute mark.

    The three person’s engaged in this Facebook cast are or should be considered as heroic Australian persons for revealing this Act of treachery.

    This also implicates the CBA Bank being involved in this national treachery.
    Furthermore, it will put a closure to the L/NP maintaining their leadership party role in government.

  9. Michael Taylor

    margcal, I’ve done a couple of articles like that in past election campaigns. I should drag them out of the archives and model something on them.

  10. margcal

    Michael, that would be excellent!
    Thank you 🙂

  11. Andrew J. Smith

    ‘Think of his attacks on people with reduced means in the form of Robodebt and the cashless debit card, attacks that are consistent with the Pentecostal principle that material benefits accrue to believers and deny God his due results in misfortune.’

    Also consistent with radical right libertarian, white Christian nationalist and authoritarian regimes, underpinned by eugenics; it’s informing and driving UK, US and Australian ‘conservative’ parties, ditto similar also in Poland, Russia, Hungary etc. and includes ‘pensioner populism’ (as oldies who vote out number young people).

    Three names across the Anglosphere and beyond, are Koch, Tanton and Murdoch…. libertarian think tanks, alt right/eugenics, with legacy/social media PR comms support.

    Great company we keep…..

  12. wam

    I pray for you, Dr Wilson, to prevent you descending further into satanic socialism. god made you unclean and unequal for 1 week in 4 and you should refrain from activity for that week.
    The lord sayeth:
    There may be Australians in need of those interventions. So, accept collateral damage because action from a profile is easier than any method involving individuals.
    god bless

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