Subject: ABC news item
SA Attorney-General wants racist website closed down
The World Today - Tuesday, 31 January , 2006 12:42:00
Reporter: Nance Haxton
ELEANOR HALL: In South Australia, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has called on the state's police to investigate and close down a race hatred website based in Adelaide.The White Crusaders site attacks Jews and what it describes as "mud races" and asks for donations.And as Nance Haxton reports from Adelaide, the South Australian Attorney-General is asking the communications and media regulator to remove the website.WEBSITE AUDIO: Racial greetings my white brothers and sisters. Welcome to the White Crusaders of the Racial Holy War website. RAHOWA.NANCE HAXTON: This is the greeting that confronts people when they access the website that has caused so much concern to South Australia's Attorney-General Michael Atkinson. He says he wants it closed down.MICHAEL ATKINSON: The White Crusader website appears to be a mirror of an American web portal, although there is a contact here in Adelaide who's styled the Reverend Cole Campbell the Third. I don't know who that is. It may be being run by people in Adelaide. Its reasoning appears to me to be quite insane and I rather doubt that it will acquire a following.NANCE HAXTON: Nevertheless Mr Atkinson says he's referred the matter on to police who can investigate and prosecute the website owners under the state's racial vilification laws.MICHAEL ATKINSON: We have a law in South Australia against racial vilification enforced by the police. We have a national classification system to protect people against offensive material. I'm sure that that system operates sensibly. We have to balance free speech with our law to protect people from unsolicited offensive material. It's always a difficult question. I've read the material of the White Crusaders of the Racial Holy War. They appear to be quite mad. The degree to which the law should crack down on them is a fine judgement. It is undoubtedly offensive material. In a way, it's a pity that public attention has been drawn to it because the White Crusaders of the Racial Holy War will glory in the publicity, with a view to recruitment. NANCE HAXTON: The state's police Commissioner Mal Hyde says police will do all they can to prosecute the website's creators.MAL HYDE: Well, it depends on the circumstances and the general laws can apply, so that if racial vilification includes inciting violence or actually taking some sort of violent action, or offensive behaviour or something of that nature, we can take action there and if it includes a website, it may be that it offends against telecommunications legislation as well. We don't see a lot of racial vilification in South Australia but we do have particular groups who from time to time, raise their head. Often when they see that they're getting some sort of legitimacy in the community and they do raise their head. They're groups that we monitor if they have some sort of violence or inciting of violence or threatening of violence behind it, they're the sort of groups we monitor. ELEANOR HALL: That's South Australia's State Police Commissioner Mal Hyde ending that report from Nance Haxton.