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Thursday, 7 February 2013
Page: 538


Mr ENTSCH (LeichhardtChief Opposition Whip) (12:30): I welcome this opportunity to again address the scourge of internet trolls. Since my last speech, many people have revealed their experiences with Cairns blogger Brian McCarty. I have also found out that, although hillybillywatch.com is the brainchild of McCarty, there are others, such as Deryck Thompson from Machans Beach, who are also contributors. I put them on notice that they will also be held accountable. It is clear that McCarty's influence has spread far beyond just my electorate and is a national and an international issue. On 14 January, in a groundbreaking move, a South Australian court gave Google 28 days to reveal the identities of the persons behind five Google-owned blogs. These blogs allegedly defamed the former footballer turned businessman Shane Radbone and he rightly wants to sue the blogs' authors. This is an Australian first. No longer will bloggers be able to hide behind anonymity and its expected that Google will name Brian L McCarty as the key perpetrator.

I must point out that Shane Radbone has never met Brian McCarty; their paths only crossed when Mr Radbone was the CEO of Allied Brands. Allied Brands is the company that owned and operated the Baskin-Robbins ice-cream franchise. For a number of years, Brian McCarty has held the franchise for Baskin-Robbins in Cairns. He used his position there to undermine the Baskin-Robbins franchise by establishing a fake Allied Brands blog. Allied Brands tried to terminate this franchise, but were unsuccessful. It would be interesting to see how the current owners, Dunkin' Brands International, will respond to McCarty's behaviour.

McCarty's revenge on Mr Radbone, as the CEO of Allied Brands, was singlehanded, vicious and defamatory. McCarty emailed the school that Mr Radbone's children went to claiming that Mr Radbone was a fraud and a crook. He contacted family members and business contacts, directing them to a blog which said that Mr Radbone was a criminal and an incompetent footballer. The final straw was when he targeted Mr Radbone's wife, Victoria.

Mr Radbone is a pretty tough sort of person—to play top level football and then become the CEO of major international brands, you would have to be—but there are others who do not have the profile and the funds to take on this individual. They are desperate to clear their names. People such as Jack Sakalisfrom Melbourne and Tony Cavanaghfrom Brisbane were high-level executives earning in the region of $150,000 to $200,000. Tony now has been forced to change his name. Why? Because when prospective employers search his profile online they come across McCarty's lies.

I have also learned that a gentleman by the name of Robert Morein, from Pennsylvania in the USA, has had McCarty writing blogs and professional references in Mr Morein's name for at least the last 10 years. He and his family have been continually harassed. McCarty even distributed leaflets around his neighbourhood describing Mr Morein as a dangerous stalker and a mental case. After talking to McCarty's victims, his modus operandi became clear: he is skilled at stalking people online, corrupting their networks and impersonating correspondence. He uses sexual innuendo and demonstrates his misogyny by insulting people's wives. Personally, I do not understand what pleasure McCarty takes in ruining the corporate and personal reputation of people he has never met. However, he has now come up against something that he never thought possible. Hopefully, after the court imposed deadline, McCarty will have to face the music, and there are many out there that are going to be watching as this event unfolds.

Let's not forget the pressure that is also on Google. Google are culpable here because Shane Radbone told them about these defamatory comments being posted on Blogspot four years ago and they did nothing. Adding to this pressure is the fact that Google recently lost another court case in Victoria, having to pay a Melbourne man $200,000 after linking his photograph to a notorious Australian criminal. From a legislative point of view, something has to be done to stop individuals like McCarty using the internet as an unregulated forum to vent lies and ruin lives. I eagerly await Google's revelations later this month.