South Australia recently passed a law that will require all Crow Eaters to publish their real name and postcode when making a comment on next month’s state election online, and the Adelaide Advertiser has gone balls-to-the-wall with its coverage and outrage today.

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Michael McGuire: Labor gags internet debate

South Australia has become one of the few states in the world to censor the internet under laws created by Attorney-General Michael Atkinson.

The new law, which came into force on January 6, requires internet bloggers, and anyone making a comment on next month’s state election, to publish their real name and postcode when commenting on the poll.

“The AdelaideNow website is not just a sewer of criminal defamation, it is a sewer of identity theft and fraud,” Mr Atkinson said.

Editorial: Censoring free speech in the secret state

South Australia is a state that grants more suppression orders than any other, it is a state where it is acceptable to leave hundreds, if not thousands, of parliamentary questions unanswered for years at a time, where pursuing Freedom of Information requests is nothing short of a battle.

The people of South Australia who elected these MPs of both persuasions are having their rights eroded in the most undemocratic fashion.

Crikey is still waiting on comment and clarification from the South Australian Attorney General’s office on just how this new law will affect us.

UPDATE: Here is the full legislation:

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.

You can download the legislation here [PDF] (Section 116, page 89).