Home' InDaily : February 5th 2010 Contents A little preparation
can help you survive.
Preparing your home is one of the first steps to being Bushfire
Ready, using some of the basic items in your garden shed. A well
maintained home has a better chance of surviving a bushfire.
Create a defendable space around buildings and remove fire
hazards such as bark, leaves and twigs. For more information
on how to prepare your home, visit www.cfs.sa.gov.au
5The Independent Weekly
February 5 - 11, 2010
MEDIA MENTIONS SA Election Index 28 Jan -- 3 Feb 2010
Much closer level of coverage between the leaders this week,
with Ms Redmond actually slightly ahead in broadcast media
mentions, although Mr Rann maintained a strong lead in press
and internet mentions.
Atkinson came under intense
criticism from some media after
announcing a regulation banning
anonymous online comment
for the duration of the election
campaign. Mr Atkinson originally
defended the law saying it
was an extension of existing
requirements for letter writers to
that it would fund a school
catering to the specific needs
of autistic children if it won the
election, receiving support from
a number of parent groups.
received plenty of coverage
when he announced he would
be contesting a speeding ticket
and questioned the accuracy
of speed cameras, while the
Government reiterated its focus
was to reduce the road toll.
Move Position Politician Press Radio TV Internet Total
-285 Premier Mike Rann 42 139 10 139 330
Redmond 20 158 18 44
Online comment law
Such speeding ticket
South Australia s Labor tacti-
cians were in panic. With an
election in just six weeks,
the state s Attorney-General, the
irascible Michael Atkinson, hit
the headlines in a way that could
make an experienced campaigner
crawl into a cave and roll a rock
over the entrance.
Atkinson was derailing four
years of work by Premier Mike
Rann and his team to be comfort-
ably returned on March 20.
On March 5 last year, Atkinson
introduced legislation to change
the SA Electoral Act.
These were very contentious
changes. Firstly, Atkinson
moved to increase the minimum
number of members a political
party needs to be registered,
and therefore to be capable of
effective electioneering. That was
to destroy single-issue com-
munity groups and the struggling
The second change was
to outlaw election posters
on Stobie poles. That was to
destroy low-cost campaigning
by independents and advantage
the cashed-up major parties, and
SA Labor is the most cashed-up
Third was to force voters to
put their date of birth on the
electoral roll, so an MP knows
when to send the birthday card,
and fourthly the changes made it
illegal to say anything political
in an election campaign on any
medium -- blog, news site, Twitter,
Facebook, even text messages --
without full disclosure of your
name and postcode address.
Media organisations had
to keep your real name and
address on file for six months
after the election. The Electoral
Commissioner could force a news
organisation to hand over this
information on pain of a $5000
Parliament went nuts.
Even in the Lower House the
Government amended its own
Bill to water it down a little.
When the Bill arrived in the
Upper House the Government
leader, Paul Holloway, sensing
trouble, assured the House that
full disclosure of names and
addresses "applies to the internet
to electronic versions of a journal
rather than any electronic
publication on the internet".
Holloway told MPs the
Government had addressed
concerns that it would also cover
"personal web pages and social
networking sites and the internet
publication of Twitter".
On that basis, the Opposition
and Greens MP Mark Parnell
passed that part of the Bill, and
on the insistence of the Liberal
Opposition, election posters on
Stobie poles would not be banned
until after this election.
But after Parliament agreed to
these changes, with amendments,
Atkinson said the new Act actu-
ally does include blogs, Twitter
and comments to news sites
like The Independent Weekly s
There was outrage.
"Parliament has been misled,"
shadow Attorney-General Vickie
Then finally Atkinson
recanted. He won t impose the
law, he said.
He -- the State s chief law officer
-- then told South Australians
they could break State law, a law
he said late on Tuesday night he
would repeal after the election.
Had the man flipped? Here was
a candidate up for election, his
fate in the hands of the voters in
the electorate of Croydon, telling
electoral commissioner Kay
Mousley not to enforce the law.
He said voters who wrote or
blogged anonymously would
be immune from prosecution
because he would back-date the
law after the election to remove
Mick Atkinson of Brompton,
what if you re not a member of
Parliament after the election?
What if you re not Attorney?
What then, Mick Atkinson of
By mid-morning on Wednesday,
Ms Chapman demanded Atkinson
change the mandatory identity
disclosure law immediately
or hand in his resignation as
Unless he did that, she said, Mr
Rann should sack him forthwith.
"Mr Atkinson has the power
to repeal the Electoral Act by
regulation today," Ms Chapman
said on Wednesday, "otherwise it
will still be illegal to use pseudo-
nyms on political blogs, Twitters
or comments to news sites."
Mr Atkinson couldn t possibly
do that, he said.
"We can t just suspend the
operation of the law, as Vickie
Chapman seems to think we can
do," he reckoned.
"It s unlawful."
But according to Mr Atkinson,
people could break the law
because it will be legal retrospec-
But after saying that Ms
Chapman was wrong, it turned
out she was right. Atkinson said
that he could, after all, negate the
legislation with regulation, and
he promised to do it forthwith,
Because, after all, South
Australia s Labor tacticians were
break the law
State Attorney-General Michael Atkinson.
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