15 Mar 2009

ACMA enforcement against Whirlpool very likely unconstitutional

Submitted by Troy Rollo

The ACMA last week took action against the popular Whirlpool discussion site for posting a link to a web page on the ACMA's list of banned web sites. The banned web site was, apparently, an anti-abortion web site. An edited version of the offending post shows that in the context the post (and the use of the link) clearly amounts to political expression. Furthermore, the link was apparently to a web site containing political expression. It is very likely that the ACMA action breaches the implied right to freedom of political expression in the Constitution.

It seems that neither Whirlpool, nor their hosting provider, was prepared to fight the ACMA action. As a result the original post has been taken down and only the edited version remains available. This is likely to be the result in most, if not all, such actions by the ACMA in the current economic climate, since providers are less likely to have the money available to take the fight up on principle alone.


Electronic Frontiers Australia has posted a link to the "banned" web site. It appears they may be hoping that somebody complains to the ACMA about it so that the ACMA issues a take-down order against them. If that happens it is likely that EFA will take up the fight in court.