Free Speech

eSafety’s Julie Inman Cant

It was before her time, but as an American born and raised, not to mention a one-time Microsoft lobbyist versed in the ways of Capitol Hill, eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant might have heard of Vermont Senator George  Aiken, who in 1966 was very much in the news. A Republican and early critic of US policy, although not of involvement, in Vietnam, he was widely reported to have coined a phrase that has lived long after him — “just declare victory and go home”. Whatever else Ms Inman Grant might know of Aiken, she has certainly taken to heart the advice that a thorough thrashing should be presented as dignified disengagement and, with a dash of spin, almost a victory of sorts.

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner earlier this week dropped her threat to fine Elon Musk as much as $785,000 a day for hosting 60-plus tweeted clips of a teenage Muslim fanatic stabbing an Orthodox bishop at the altar of his Western Sydney church. With aspirations far beyond those of a provincial censor, the Commissioner actually thought she had the authority to scratch the video everywhere and anywhere. We will never how Malcolm Turnbull described the job when putting her on the public payroll in 2017 but surely he didn’t promise her the world.

In the interests of free speech, and because it’s always fun to watch arrogance humbled,  the Commissioner’s statement is reproduced. Her words are in italics with commentary below.

Today I have decided to consolidate action concerning my Class 1 removal notice to X Corp in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

‘Consolidate’. Think of it as squashing a wheelie bin’s contents to make room for yet more rubbish.

After weighing multiple considerations, including litigation across multiple cases, I have considered this option likely to achieve the most positive outcome for the online safety of all Australians, especially children.

The general rule of blather when shilling a bill of goods is that “doing it for the children” always comes late in the pitch. To invoke the little darlings’ welfare as early as the second paragraph suggests a certain desperation.

As a result, I have decided to discontinue the proceedings in the Federal Court against X Corp in relation to the matter of extreme violent material depicting the real-life graphic stabbing of a religious leader at Wakeley in Sydney on 15 April 2024.

It’s an eSafety Commissioner’s prerogative to change her mind.

We now welcome the opportunity for a thorough and independent merits review of my decision to issue a removal notice to X Corp by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

That’s the great thing about taxpayer funding: after forcing your target to hire lawyers, respond, and mount a defence, you drop the original action and switch the attack to another front.

Our sole goal and focus in issuing our removal notice was to prevent this extremely violent footage from going viral, potentially inciting further violence and inflicting more harm on the Australian community. I stand by my investigators and the decisions eSafety made.

The logic here is fascinating. Visual evidence of an unprovoked attack on “a religious leader”, aka a Christian bishop, by a Muslim zealot isn’t the prime issue of concern. Rather, it’s that the stabbing, and the ideology which inspired it, might prompt further violence, which would be the greater and more dangerous offence. Therefore, news and images of the initial violence must be suppressed.

Most Australians accept this kind of graphic material should not be on broadcast television, which begs an obvious question of why it should be allowed to be distributed freely and accessible online 24/7 to anyone, including children.

Second reference to kiddies and their welfare. Of course, Australia’s children have never heard of Larry, Curly and Mo.

Indeed, a key issue of concern for me throughout this process, was the ease by which children were able to access this extremely violent stabbing video on X.

Third reference. Time to put the kids to bed, Commissioner.

As the national online safety regulator, I expect responsible companies to be taking action in relation to this type of content.

By “this type of content” you mean the news that there exists within the broader community followers of a religion that asserts its right — indeed, according to its holiest book, the obligation — to attack critics.

And by its own admission, X Corp routinely does. In a recent Digital Services Act transparency guide prepared by X Corp for the European Commission, X Corp said it took action on 226,000 items of content following reports of illegality and “globally deleted 40,000 items of content”. 

Yes, X Corp “took action” on 226,000-odd posts, but the reasons weren’t that the tweets were “illegal” (although some undoubtedly were). It was for “abuse and harassment”, as detailed in X’s submission to California regulators

X Corp’s CEO also told the European Commission in October that:

“…our service has clear rules that prohibit violent and hateful entities, perpetrators of violent attacks, violent speech, sensitive media and the synthetic and manipulated media policy.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we strictly adhere to our policies concerning illegal content and we continue to remove illegal content, including terrorist content, from our platform.”

Again, the eSafety Commissioner is under the impression that her edicts alone are enough to make a post “illegal”.

Other major social media platforms and search engines complied with our requests and notices, including Meta, Microsoft, Google, Tik Tok, Reddit and Telegram.

That list includes many of the same social media companies which obligingly deep-sixed references to Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 US presidential election, banned Donald Trump from tweeting and gave maximum exposure to the Russiagate hoax.

So, it was a reasonable expectation…

No it wasn’t, not in a society where free speech and unfiltered access to news remains valued.

when we made our request to remove extremely graphic video of an attack, that X Corp would take action in line with these publicly stated policies and practices.

“Request”? The definition of that word must be rather different in the Commissioners’ dictionary. Translated from Julie-speak, request means ‘ordered to do my bidding under threat of $785,000 daily fines’.

Through this process, eSafety has also welcomed the opportunity to test its novel regulatory powers – set out under Australia’s Online Safety Act – to protect Australians from online harm. We also welcome the Government’s Online Safety Act review currently open for public submissions, and the recently announced select committee inquiry into social media.

Elon Musk has deep pockets, so the cost of defending X from the Commissioner’s attack in Federal Court won’t bankrupt him. Still, like any outfit selected by fiat to serve as a laboratory rat in the testing of a bureaucratic agency’s “novel regulatory powers”, he has every right to be as miffed as he is out of pocket.

eSafety remains committed to exercising the full range of provisions available under the Online Safety Act to hold all tech companies to account without fear or favour, ensuring they comply with the laws of Australia and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all Australians. We will not waver from this commitment.

Of course there will be no wavering.

When you’re building a regulatory empire, complete with a budget sufficiently large to fund six-figure taxpayer-funded grants to allied and supporting groups, nothing quite so trivial as the right to free speech can be allowed to stand in the way.

18 thoughts on “eSafety’s Julie Inman Cant

  • Podargus says:

    I don’t access social media so what is presented on X etc is not going to offend me.
    But having overpaid and over here, aggressive,manipulative nannies from the Nasty Nanny State censoring legitimate content I find extremely offensive.

  • Tony Tea says:

    The question is: who lent on her to proceed? She can hardly have thought it would succeed on its merits.

  • Daffy says:

    The reason the X problem arose is that the narrative (as we say these days) of the ‘religion of peace’ was demonstrated to be not so much. That’s all. Protect the myth was the game being played.

  • John Murphy says:

    Send her emails of complaint.

    You can’t get her direct email address because communication with a peasant is beneath her dignity, but send to enquiries@esafety.gov.au.

    Address your message to “Jumped Up Totalitarian Tart.”

  • Watchman Williams says:

    Another egregious appointment of the monumentally incompetent Turnbull.

  • Keong Yip says:

    Julie Inman Grant’s true title is “Australia’s eThreatening Commissioner” but disguises as eSafety Commissioner to deceive the ignorant public.

  • johno says:

    Would Ms Inman Grant”s decision have been the same if the footage had shown a Christian youth wounding a Muslim cleric? Would she have checked with the Federal Labor Cabinet first and come to the opposite conclusion?

  • Adelagado says:

    “Elon Musk …. has every right to be as miffed as he is out of pocket.”
    .
    Can’t he sue for expenses? Surely its an open and shut case when someone threatens to take you to court, causes you great legal expense, then drops the action.

  • Qdrnt Fan says:

    The ‘woke’ preoccupation with defending the ‘unknown other’, in this case ‘especially children’, is a trap set for all of us. They want you to bleed for those we don’t know and have never seen; and if we don’t like that, invent our preferred ‘other’ that we should bleed over; say a poor ‘Christian’. Stop it. Having supervised school playgrounds, I can say categorically that the intent and assault was tame compared with the cruelty children will witness in schools impulsively inflicted on each other at one time or another. Not permitted or nice, but they learn.
    We have no use for overpaid petty bureaucrats who invent victims of invented media crimes. We should simply be unanimous that the eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant must be told in no uncertain terms that her involvement was uninvited. She should have a coffee and calm down!

  • Tony Martyr says:

    On your last reference to the “eSafety Grants”. If you click through and do a bit of googling on the various initiatives and projects, there doesn’t seem to have been anything actually delivered by any of them. Many are slated to “produce a toolkit” or similar – this was 2 or more years ago, with nothing to show for it?

  • Tricone says:

    “That’s the great thing about taxpayer funding: after forcing your target to hire lawyers, respond, and mount a defence, you drop the original action and switch the attack to another front”

    This is the approach of every NGO and pressure group in the world, whether funded by taxpayer or billionaires.
    Media should be a more aware of this and call them out instead of pandering. Government should not be doing it at all.

  • en passant says:

    Firstly, let’s get rid of the Orwellian doublespeak and give him/her/it the more accurate title of ‘Thought Police Commissar’.
    To get the full picture, I watched several clips of the multiple stabbings at a political rally in Mannerheim in Germany by a muslim. One policeman dragged off a man who was pinning down the jihadi terrorist, while another pointed his pistol at him. The freed terrorist then killed his ‘rescuer’ before being shot and wounded by the second policeman.
    Did our TPC get the picture?
    Oh, for an ‘El Loco’ Javier Milei to clean out the Oz Augean Stables of these useless taxpayer funded parasites and Green Termites!

  • irisr says:

    https://www.rebelnews.com/petition_sack_ekaren_now

    10K signatures already in.

    Thought Police must be cancelled.
    Our taxpayer money must not be wasted on personal vendettas by overpaid bureaucrats. Surely any court action involves costs, even when withdrawn. She’s now going off on another tangent against the same X – again involving courts and our money,

  • Garry Donnelly says:

    The same strategy is employed by the Teachers Federation when asking for more money or less work (pupil free days)…..”.its for the good of the children.”

  • pmprociv says:

    This is the problem with any exorbitantly-paid 3M (Mickey Mouse Matters) Commissioner, be it for “racism”, “universal human rights” or whatever — to protect and build their empires, and to justify their useless jobs by sounding important, they start looking for misdemeanours in every nook and cranny. This was well-covered by, and fully predictable from, Parkinson’s Laws (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_law). It’s why Australia remains one of the world’s most racist and genocidal countries.

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