03 February 2010

A-G backs down ... but not out

Attorney General Atkinson has backed down but won't resign report the ABC and Adelaide Now

For me and probably many South Australians the question now is how can we have confidence in Mr Atkinson as chief law officer of the state when he appears to be thumbing his nose at the basic principles of Westminster democracy and even Premier Rann. That he could falsely claim that that one of his online critics doesn't exist beggars belief.

Update 4/2/2010

At least we now know that at next month's election a vote for the ALP is a vote for Michael Atkinson as Attorney-General (probably) for the next four years, even though as The Advertiser/ Adelaide Now said in an editorial yesterday "Lawyers and Left faction luminaries Patrick Conlon and Jay Weatherill could walk seamlessly into the job tomorrow."

And today
"Singapore on the Torrens", an editorial in The Australian , makes some good points

A little more civility on the internet would be no bad thing, but that's no reason for the nanny state approach adopted by the South Australian government. The decision by Attorney-General Michael Atkinson to introduce laws to censor free speech in the blogosphere was ill-conceived at every level. That Mr Atkinson was forced to back down and promise to repeal the laws says much about the value users put on an open web: outraged consumers had flooded sites to complain.

South Australian politicians are increasingly taking Singapore rather than Westminster as their model by resorting to legal action where political redress would be more appropriate. ..Surely the ballot box, not the courts, is where an opposition should be brought to account.


The internet is a robust and immediate forum - a modern-day version of the town square meeting at its best. It relies on the freedom of ordinary people to join a public conversation without fear their details will be collected by a central bureaucracy. Australian users are well equipped to filter the web: they do not need the state to do it for them.

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