peteg's blog - noise - politics - 2007 02 24 Boycotts

Costello bolsters the anti-boycott laws.

/noise/politics | Link

I was a bit shocked to see that infamous smirk on the news telling anyone who might organise or encourage a boycott that they may face damages for doing so. Would this apply to the Green Bans? You can bet your animal-product-free underpants it would, but the article makes it clear the existing laws already did.

I'm not sure what the limits of these new laws will be (sometimes being a lawyer would be most helpful) but I speculate they must also apply to Linux and Free Software proselytisers pushing a "Boycott Microsoft" line. Does it matter if one pays for an equivalent product, or is the word "boycott" a sufficient trigger? What about encouraging the free downloading of Debian, is that costing someone a sale? How about a system for "boycotting" ads on time-shifted TV?

The key observation is that, like the industrial relations laws, the government increases its discretionary role in this process. Rather than leaving it to the courts and (say) the National Farmers' Federation, we have the ACCC organising and funding the actions. Fair? Of course! Farmers are doing it tough. Heck, even Channel 9 is doing it tough. Remember everybody, have three kids and make sure they eat a pig at each and every meal.