A preemptive strike by One Nation to register dozens of website addresses that could be used in the Indigenous Voices referendum campaign in Parliament backfired, with several of the party’s new acquisitions set to be suspended.
- Pauline Hanson says her campaign acquired 46 website domains against an Indigenous voice in Parliament
- The ABC understands One Nation broke licensing rules that maintain the “integrity and trust” of .au domains.
- Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has warned that ‘scaremongering campaigns’ will plague the upcoming referendum
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said last Friday his party would become the face of the ‘no’ vote in a referendum that could give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people greater constitutional representation.
She said her campaign had scooped up 46 website domains, including five that closely match ulurustatement.org, a website address already used by First Nations Australians and supporters of a First Nations voice recognized by the Constitution.
“The ‘yes’ campaign is ill-defined and ill-prepared, not even having the foresight to register domain names that we will put to good use,” Ms Hanson said.
Some of these websites, registered en masse by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and One Nation Queensland division, included voicetoparliament.org.au and ulurustatement.com.au.
The practice of registering multiple domain names is known as cyber-squatting and can be used to help maximize search engine traffic.
However, One Nation’s efforts fell foul of the entity responsible for licensing Australian domains, the .au Domains Administration (auDA).
The domain license administrator, who was made aware of the websites after the ABC discovered 37 domains that appeared to be registered with One Nation, will suspend several of the One Nation domains containing a .au address.
It’s unclear how many domains will be taken down, but auDA policy states that entities must generally have a “close and substantial connection” with their registered .au domain name. For example, the domain should match the name they are known by or a service they offer.
“The rules contain strict criteria that registrants must meet to hold their domain name,” an auDA spokesperson said.
“Where registrants are found to have failed to meet the requirements of the .au License Rules, a .au domain name may be suspended or canceled by auDA.”
The ABC was able to locate 23 domains linked to One Nation’s opposition to a vote in Parliament with a .au address.
He found 14 others whose ownership details had been redacted, but domain records showed they had been registered by a Queensland entity around the same time as the others on August 2 and shared domain names. similar website address.
None of the domains had active websites.
After being informed of auDA’s decision to review .au domains, One Nation registered several new companies with names matching the domains in question.
These included the Uluru Declaration, the Voice in Parliament, and several variations of “no to the voice”. The newly acquired trade names could satisfy AUDA’s policy regarding entities having “close and substantial connections” to their website names.
One Nation declined to comment.
Senator Hanson has previously likened a proposed vote in parliament to apartheid in South Africa, the system of institutionalized racism that denied civil rights to non-white South Africans.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who warned that “scaremongering” would plague the referendum, said the Voice would not replace parliament.
“What he seeks to do, however, is to break with what I call ‘the tyranny of powerlessness’ that First Nations people have suffered [more than] 121 years since the Commonwealth made decisions in Canberra without respecting and consulting the First Nations people themselves,” Mr Albanese said last month.