Heads up: No political commentary. Also, spoiler alert, this is a non-story.
In 2018, I talked about the time that someone hijacked Scott Morrison’s domain name (scottmorrison.com.au – it currently redirects to scottmorrisonmp.com.au). Back then I spoke briefly to the prankster who declared (rightly) that they weren’t doing anything illegal. Anyway it was pretty light-hearted and they quickly handed the domain back to Morrison and published their own release (which borrowed a bit from my article) about it.
So anyway, someone has registered the domain craigkellymp.com in early September. It’s currently pointing to a Craig Kelly “Fan” Page. It hosts a few memes and a disparaging remarks about Kelly + a link to a Friendly Jordies video about about Kelly (since I started writing this article, the webmaster has updated the disclaimer to point out that they are not affiliated with Friendly Jordies:
Someone (presumably the same person) has also registered craigkellymp.com.au and implemented a 301 Redirect to the same fan page. When I first read about this on Facebook earlier today, there was some commentary stating that, similar to Morrison in 2018, Kelly had lost control of his domain. On inspection, that does not appear to be the case. The Way Back Machine first saw this domain in September this year, and Google doesn’t have any cached results from earlier either.
Kelly does have a .com.au – craigkelly.com.au, registered to his Government email address.
Is there anything Kelly can do about these pages?
I dunno, ignore them?
He could have registered these before someone else did. I’ve seen some companies start to buy up all of the permutations of their domains before bad actors do (who may use them for phishing campaigns, for example).
So the .com domain has been registered with some privacy settings turned on, and .com takedowns aren’t very simple.
.com.au domains, however, are governed by the Australian Domain Authority. You need to enter an ABN or ACN when registering for a .com.au. To get an ABN, you’ll need some proof of identity. It’s a quick process to do both of these things, but whether or not you are actually associated with the ABN you enter is not validated at time or registration. auDA do stipulate that you should have a valid reason to use the domain, so if Kelly lodges a complaint with auDA, they may investigate and deregister it on the grounds that that there is no valid business reason for using this domain.
The other angle would be the web host, which appears to be Go Daddy. Many of the larger web host providers will often pull websites if there is enough pressure to take them down.
Anyway, the person who registered the craigkellymp.com.au isn’t trying to disguise themselves. A WhoIs Lookup shows that they’ve registered with a valid ABN and their full name and an email address are visible.
As usual, I’ve sanitised this screenshot so you can do your own lookups.
God Speed, guy.
Does the law say anything about this?
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.
The Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth):
“Section 474.17 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Commonwealth) criminalises the use of a phone or the internet to threaten, harass or seriously offend somebody. A message or post could be considered offensive if it is likely to cause serious anger, outrage, humiliation or disgust. The maximum penalty for such an offence is 3 years imprisonment.” – from Lexology.com.
This, combined with the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020, which was recently passed, could conceivably come into play here (again, I am not a lawyer, and I am not trying to deter political commentary). This piece of legislation gives law enforcement the power to take over online accounts if they believe that an “an offence has been, is being, is about to be, or is likely to be committed”. So the bar is set quite low for these new laws to be leveraged.
The craigkellymp.com.au domain will be deregistered early next week and nothing else will happen.
I’ll update this article if anything else happens.