Pauline Hanson is under review by auDA for “cybersquatting” on matters relating to the Voice in Parliament and the Uluru Declaration.
Australian web domain administrator auDA is set to examine Pauline Hanson’s One Nation cybersquatting on Voice to Parliament and Uluru Statement from the Heart as part of the party’s Vote No campaign.
Last week, Pauline Hanson announced her intention to lead the campaign against the Voice in Parliament in next year’s referendum. In an interview with James Morrow of The Daily Telegraph, Hanson said his office had registered 46 website domains in preparation for the campaign.
Hanson mentioned VoicetoParliament.com.au and Ulurustatement.com.au as two of the domains. Additional work by the ABC’s Kevin Nguyen, Ariel Bogle and Michael Workman found 39 relevant domains registered by One Nation, including variations on notovoice.com.au, saynotovoice.com.au and more.
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Political parties regularly register domains to direct voters to information about themselves and their opponents. Earlier this year, Crikey published more than 1,000 registered by the two main parties. Registering a domain is cheap, easy, and can help with search engine optimization, a crucial part of getting people to know your information. This sometimes includes buying domains to launch negative campaigns against others.
But individuals and groups are only supposed to register corresponding web domains or “closely and substantially related to the registrant” under rules set by auDA, Australia’s web domain regulator. auDA has the power to suspend or cancel domain registrations and has done so in the past when the Liberal Party registered Albanese.com.au. The registration of these domains is unlikely to have a substantial impact on campaigns, and is usually more of a stunt.
While One Nation is free to claim variations on the Vote No domains, their claim on the Heart Uluru Declaration and Voice domains may be more difficult to substantiate.
An auDA spokesperson said Crikey that they were aware that One Nation was registering domain names as part of their campaign and that they had processes in place to review eligibility.
“Registrars are accredited to evaluate domain name applications and issue domain name licenses to applicants who meet the required criteria,” a spokesperson said.
Pauline Hanson had this experience firsthand In 2021, someone purchased PaulineHanson.com.au and redirected to the Refugee Council of Australia website – a redirect that has since expired.