Website Bullied By Coalition Lawyers

Earlier this week, a rather blunt and straightforward website came online, voicing displeasure against a swathe of Coalition election policies.

The publisher has a right to have a say, right? Until the Coalition’s lawyers got wind of it, apparently.

The owner of the website, Jesse Richardson, issued a media statement (click for full size):

“My ISP contacted me on Wednesday afternoon to let me know that the federal opposition party’s lawyers were demanding my personal details. Despite this being a personal project not paid for or endorsed by anyone, I gave them permission to hand over my name, address, and phone number so that the site could stay up.”

“Approximately one hour later I received several phone calls making implied threats about my professional career. Who exactly was responsible for these phone calls isn’t entirely clear, but I do have the phone number of one of them at least.”

While I don’t necessarily approve the style and the language use of the website, what I absolutely do not approve of is the use of bullying tactics against a person who has every right to voice his political opinion, particularly during an election campaign.

This is particularly infuriating after Tony Abbott’s call to protect free speech:

“The Opposition Leader said that, if elected, he would work with his attorney-general, George Brandis, to require the commission to champion, instead of restrict, the right of free speech in Australia.”

Equally, while it might not be perfectly clear who made the threatening calls to Jesse, if he is to be believed, it is most curious that they should start shortly after he agreed for his details to be handed over.

It appears the opposition wants to be a bully towards free speech, despite proclaiming a desire to protect and even enhance free speech.

Nobody likes a bully.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this to see if anything comes of it – but something is certainly on the nose here.