Big Tech censorship of Australia’s voice debate must stop: think tank

Google and Facebook have been accused of censoring debates over a controversial proposal to change Australia’s constitution to include a special parliament representing Aboriginal people.

The Melbourne-based Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) said it had provided the prime minister with three examples of a program created by Indigenous Voices to Parliament, which has since been censored.

IPA Executive Director Daniel Wilde said: “Australians have a right to be deeply concerned about the influence foreign big tech companies have on domestic political and cultural affairs.

“These big tech companies have repeatedly demonstrated a pattern of behavior of censoring anyone who only questions the role, scope and functioning of the proposed Voice to Parliament, and the debate has left Australians fully informed. showing callous indifference to the right to

Epoch Times photo
Cody Shaw, 10, rides a bicycle in the street outside the home of his aunt and indigenous activist Barbara Shaw, Mount Nancy Town Camp, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia, October 13, 2013. (via Greg Wood/AFP Getty Images)

On February 14, 2023, the IPA ruled that Google did not allow the video to be promoted on its platform for being an “Australian election advertisement featuring an Australian federal party or a candidate for the Australian House of Representatives.” said. ”

The video was titled “IPA Study Leads Debate, Audio Pamphlet Forces Federal Backflip” and featured IPA researchers and no politicians.

In September 2022, another video by IPA featuring Senators Jacinta Price and James McGrath was blocked by Meta’s Facebook, which blocked advertising on that platform.

“On four occasions, Facebook has acted to minimize the visibility of videos.

“IPA tried to pay more social media users to share the videos, but they said the videos were inconsistent with Facebook’s policy on ‘Social Issues, Elections or Politics Advertising Policy’. Refused,” the IPA wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pdf).

The Epoch Times reached out to Facebook and Google Australia for answers, but did not receive them in time for publication.

the battle of voices continues

Australians will go to a poll this year to decide whether to incorporate a near-permanent Indigenous voice to parliament into the country’s constitution.

Opposition parties have criticized the proposal for lacking details on how the advisory body would actually work and the extent of its mandate.

Labor Prime Minister Albanese said the details would be sorted out after Australians held a referendum.

Epoch Times photo
(LR) ACT Prime Minister Andrew Barr, Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan, Northern Territory Prime Minister Natasha Files, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrotet, Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews, Queens Rand Premier Anastasia Paraszczuk, South Australian Prime Minister Peter Malinaukas and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliffe after the National Cabinet Meeting held at the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia on 3 February 2023. I sign a statement of intent in support of the First Minister for Voice to Parliament. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

But imminent legislation in South Australia introduced by the Labor government offers some insight into what the voice model might look like.

The proposal would cost local taxpayers about $10 million (US$6.89 million) and include the election of 46 delegates across seven local and one state voice agencies.

Only voters of Aboriginal background are allowed to vote for delegates and must declare their heritage with the state election commission.

Delegates also have the power to address the South Australian House of Commons (the House of Commons) and the Legislative Council (the Senate) on legislation they believe may be of interest to them.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Albanese has campaigned hard for a voice in the federal government and was recently revealed to have joined the country’s largest sports league to win public support.

The Australian Football League (AFL), National Rugby League (NRL), Netball Australia, Football Australia, Cricket Australia and Tennis Australia are engaged in a coordinated campaign to start in late 2023.

But former National Basketball Association president Andrew Bogut has accused the league of “sportswashing.”

“We have seen it with COVID and elections. Sports organizations and clubs need to bow to the government and promote these ends. Because I know that I won’t give you anything,” he previously told the Epoch Times.

“Whether or not I agree with Voice, I think it’s blatant ‘sports washing’. I don’t think it should be promoted through sport,” he added.

“I believe that all money is spent on voices, promoting legislation, and [money for] Lawyers who have to write it — that money would be far better off going to actual Indigenous communities and building sports facilities. In fact, have some great things in your community that young children can aspire to. ”