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Brace for the new ‘mega-censor’ who will determine what is correct and true

By Graham Young - posted Thursday, 18 January 2024

With various Australia Day arguments circulating around, it leads to the question of what it means to be Australian.

Is Australia a place, or is it a set of ideas and sensibilities?

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One piece of legislation and one set of regulations might end those debates forever as they will censor everything so that we must all agree with the government.

The legislation is the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023, and the regulations are the Draft Online Safety (Relevant Electronic Services-Class 1A and Class 1B Material) Industry Standard 2024.

Both are under the control of the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA).

Originally a simple regulator, formed from the merger of the Australian Broadcasting Authority and the Australian Communications Authority in 2005, ACMA is morphing into a mega-censor, capable of directing or curtailing public political discussion and eavesdropping without a warrant on those merely suspected of potential terrorism and crimes.

The 'Misinformation and Disinformation' Bill

The Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation Bill will allow ACMA to regulate anything it deems misinformation (unintentionally wrong content) or disinformation (intentionally wrong content) on websites.

Large media companies that are members of the Australian Press Council are exempted and left to the Press Council to deal with.


Smaller players like blogs, political and organisational websites, niche internet publishers, and many of the authors on aggregated publishing platforms like Substack, would come under their control.

Through the use of imposed standards of conduct, ACMA will be able to determine the "truth" of what they publish.

If there is any doubt as to ACMA's role as a state censor, the legislation specifically states that government information cannot be misinformation or disinformation.

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This article was first published by the Epoch Times.

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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