Posted by Chuq
Are you a Tasmanian with an opinion? Specifically, a Tasmanian who uses the internet to post your opinion on the upcoming state election?
Be careful - since 6pm tonight (Friday, February 19), any online commentary about the state election must include your full name and address. This is according to section 191 of the Tasmanian Electoral Act.
This is a completely impractical situation. The law covers all kinds of internet activity including Facebook status updates and Twitter posts. For obvious reasons, many people are not comfortable with their full home address being linked publicly to either of these accounts. Some reasons, such as privacy and risk of stalking or assault are obvious, but there are also some less obvious reasons.
Digital Tasmania, supported by groups such as Electronic Frontiers Australia and the Australian Privacy Foundation, has written to the electoral commissioner requesting to not enforce this particular law, and for the leaders of the political parties to review the legislation when parliament next resumes after the election. (Media coverage: ABC, iTWire, The Examiner)
The lack of practicality of this law was demonstrated by (or lack of) by iBleeter on Twitter who has started a drinking game - take a drink each time you see an example of the law being broken. He was probably off his face after the first couple of hours, after breaches were spotted on the Facebook or Twitter feeds of David O'Byrne, Lisa Singh, Daniel Hulme, Will Hodgman, Jeremy Rockliff, ABC News Tasmania, The Mercury, Kim and Dave, Bob Brown, Forestry Tasmania, David Bartlett and Nick McKim. Clearly if the Electoral Commission don't want to have a mockery made of this law they should prosecute all of the above.
Lisa Singh's breach is particularly amusing as she was on Stateline tonight - along with Cassy O'Connor and Brett Whiteley -where they were asked about the s191 law, and all of them supported it in its current form.
Even Mercury cartoonist Jon Kudelka has stated he will not be publishing his cartoons online until after the election.
One Western Australian has come to our rescue - just enter anything you want at his site at http://s191.org and he will automatically generate an authorisation for you - with his address way over in WA attached to the end. No risk of vigilantes who disagree with your stance on the pulp mill, the Polytechnic, or water reforms egging your house!
And on that note - http://s191.org/56.
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