Thursday, 24 November 2016 13:39

Govt slammed over 'intimidation' on Medicare website

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The activist group GetUp has slammed the federal government over its threat to an elderly man who runs a website called Save Medicare where he publishes information about government changes to healthcare services and launched a petiton asking Canberra to back off.

Last Thursday, Mark Rogers, whom GetUp described as a 66-year-old grandfather from suburban Sydney, received a legal threat from the solicitor-general asking him to take down his website within 48 hours.

He was told that he would also have to agree to never again use Medicare branding.

Rogers has not complied with the government threat as yet. He told GetUp it was important that people were able to know the truth about Medicare – "that’s why I’ve been working on getting information out through my website since December 2014".

“I fit it in where I can, around babysitting the grandkids and spending time with family.

“The government is acting as if I've committed a terrible crime – and yet I only disagree with their direction. I see a stronger Medicare building a better future for Australians.

“This is a government that is so concerned with free speech, and yet here they are trying to stop me telling the truth about what they’re doing to Medicare.”

GetUp’s economic fairness campaigns director Natalie O'Brien dismissed the government threat as "petty intimidation tactics from a government looking to silence dissent on Medicare".

“This is a true David v Goliath story – a vindictive government using the enormous legal resources at their disposal to intimidate everyday people," she said.

“Enraged by their poor election showing, the government is trying to silence community members speaking up about their concerns for Medicare.

“It certainly begs the question: how many more people fighting for local issues in their communities have been silenced by these types of bully tactics?

“With lawyers breathing down Mr Rogers' neck, we've launched a petition calling on the government to back off and stop its bullying.

“We'll prove that attempts to silence community voices on Medicare will only make them louder.

“The ability for a citizen to speak out about issues that directly affect them is a basic democratic right. We are certainly considering the legal ramifications of Mr Roger’s case.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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