MICHELLE ROWLAND MPSHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
TIM WATTS MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CYBER SECURITY
MEMBER FOR GELLIBRAND
MORRISON DELAY ON ACMA MISINFORMATION LEGISLATION
The Morrison Government has failed to empower the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to act on misinformation and disinformation, despite evidence of it circulating online during the Black Summer bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and around elections.
Only now, in the dying days of the 46th Parliament has the Government flagged a process to “scope” ACMA powers, nine months after the ACMA recommended legislation and almost three years since the ACCC recommended an enforceable code for disinformation and misinformation.
Last year, the ACMA put on record that “it would be useful to obtain information that would enable ACMA to assess compliance with platform commitments, for example complaints handling data” but “does not currently have the powers to compel information from digital platforms about their approach or actions in relation to misinformation” – yet Scott Morrison did nothing.
Meanwhile, Minister Fletcher falsely claimed in his October 2021 mini-book ‘Governing in the Internet Age’ that the ACMA had “registered” a voluntary Code of Practice on Misinformation and Disinformation developed by the digital industry – when the government simply had not empowered the ACMA to do so.
The Morrison-Joyce Government is always too little, too late – whether by incompetence or design.
Rather than announce measures when they’re needed in the public interest, their cynical modus operandi is to hold back until it suits LNP electioneering and to avoid a party room that is divided when it comes to online misinformation.
Scott Morrison says he’s keeping Australians safe online but he has permitted members of his own Government to peddle harmful COVID-19 misinformation and deliberately left the ACMA toothless against what the UN Secretary General referred to as an “infodemic” of misinformation two years ago.
Australians deserve a Prime Minister who puts their safety first, ahead of LNP electioneering and above his backbencher misinformation superspreaders that he’s failed to pull into line.
PNINA HAGEGE (ROWLAND) 0402 394 790
KIERAN INGREY (WATTS) 0432 507 439