A secret complaint forced our most important Australian website KillTheBill.com.au off the internet today.
On the eve of one of the most controversial bill votes in living memory, which would grant Victorian Premier Dan Andrews dictator-like powers, our domain name was cancelled.
The domain was established to point to our petition which had recorded the will of more than 110,000 people calling on the Governor of Victoria to block Andrew’s outrageous power-grab.
The bill puts Victoria into a permanent state emergency and gives the Andrews’ government additional control over the lives of everyday Victorians already suffering under some of the harshest lockdown conditions anywhere in the world.
It leads us to ask an important question, who would benefit from this action? Well, the answer is secret.
Our domain registrar, a company called GoDaddy, has sold us dozens of websites in Australia with no problem. In fact, Rebel News has over 1,000 domain names for our different projects, like FightTheFines.com.au or YeminiReport.com. The unique domain names make it easier for people to find our different stories. It makes it easy for people to remember them.
And plenty of people remembered “Kill The Bill”. Thousands have been chanting those exact words on the steps of parliament in Melbourne.
Rebel News has a great relationship with GoDaddy — because we have so many domain names they call us a “VIP” client. So it must have to be a pretty powerful person who pressured them to cancel our website.
A few days ago, GoDaddy warned us about what they were going to do. They didn’t say who put them up to it. Or why, out of the 1,000+ websites we have, this was the one they were coming to shut down.
But we didn’t take any chances. When we heard their plans, we hired Australia’s top media lawyer — a Melburnian named Justin Quill — to send a careful letter explaining in detail why we had every right to use that domain name, and showing that whoever was putting GoDaddy up to this was wrong.
Read that letter for yourself below — you’ll be impressed.
We did all this quietly. We didn’t make a fuss. We assumed it was just a mistake by GoDaddy and we really just wanted to fix it.
We assumed they would read Mr. Quill’s letter and realise they just had no right to cancel their contract with us or delete our website.
The rules about Internet domain names are crystal clear.
As you can see in Mr. Quill’s letter, we had the right to use KillTheBill.com.au — that domain name has a “close and substantial connection” to what was on the website itself (a petition to kill the bill). It accurately describes what was on the page; and it doesn’t infringe on anyone’s “personal name or brand name”.
Those are the rules. So there was no legal reason to delete the name. It’s 100% bullying.
Shame on GoDaddy for censoring a petition signed by more than 110,000 Australians. So much for their dedication to freedom of speech or democratic values. I’m deeply disappointed with them.
Even after Mr. Quill contacted them with his letter, they simply ignored them. They obey Dan Andrews now.
Well, we’ve got to take a stand. If this is how peaceful protests and freedom of the press are treated now, imagine what it will be like if this bill is ever enacted.
So we’ve asked Mr. Quill to go to court for an emergency injunction, to seek a court order requiring GoDaddy to reinstate the website, to honour their contract with us, and put our website back up.
And — just as importantly — to find out who threatened GoDaddy!
GoDaddy is a bully, for sure. But they must have been pressured into doing such an illegal act by someone much, much worse.
If you want to know — and if you want to help us fight back — please click here. We’ve already asked Mr. Quill to prepare the emergency court case. He’s literally working on it right now.
It’s not even about Rebel News or our website. It’s about freedom and democracy in Australia — and whether powerful people can secretly pressure Internet companies into deleting political websites.