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Vanstone - the dog at my homepage

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Australian Democrats Senator for South Australia

14th October, 1996 MEDIA RELEASE 96/659

VANSTONE - THE DOG ATE MY HOMEPAGE Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Australian Democrats' Technology and Youth Affairs Spokesperson, has lashed out at the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Senator Amanda Vanstone, after the Minister attacked the Democrats’ highly successful Internet Homepage in Question Time today.

According to Senator Stott Despoja, Senator Vanstone’s “cowardly act reveals the Minister's abiding fear of technology - particularly when in the hands of young Australians.

"I am disappointed Senator Vanstone has hidden behind a “Dorothy Dixer" question, to accuse the Democrats of breaching privacy in the use of our Higher Education Homepage.

“The Minister does not understands the nature of the Net. The site invites punters to post their names and addresses if they wish to be part of the Democrats’ campaign to fight higher education cuts. We promise to send their details to Senator Vanstone so that she can respond to their concerns. Where is the breach of privacy ?

“The Australian Democrats are neither ‘lost in cyberspace1, nor breaching privacy, as the Minister claims. That the Minister says she has not received any information from our site is a mystery, given we have faxed her over 30 postings since the launch of the site. Will the Minister be claiming the dog ate her-homepage ?

“If Senator Vanstone wishes to know more about what happens to the names people choose to give us, she need look no further than our homepage - all the relevant information is there - otherwise she could just check her fax machine.

“It is clear the Government is threatened by the Democrats understanding and use of technology. Unlike the old parties, we have embraced the Internet and are using it to make politics more accessible to young Australians.

“At least Senator Vanstone is surfing the Net - even if she doesn’t know how to look up our homepage to get her story straight. Perhaps this is one way of getting her office more in touch with the young people she is supposed to represent.

“At this stage however, Senator Vanstone is no Geek Grrrl - she’s just a girl who hasn’t checked her fax,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.

For comment contact: Senator Stott Despoja on 014 952 162 or (06) 277 3645 or Jo Chichester on (08) 8232 7595. COMMONWEALTH

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