Richard Neville’s PM parody site jerked offline by Government
Friday March 17th 2006, 8:07 pm

Richard Neville (image: Neville has a long history of getting up the noses of governments.

Neville did battle with 1960s and 70s social mores and the established authorities with his editorship of the bitingly satirical and often profane Oz magazine in Sydney and London.

Along with other Oz editors and writers, Neville was twice convicted for obscenity and sentenced to hard labour, once in Sydney in 1964 and again in London in 1971. Both convictions were overturned, but not without long legal wars.

Neville’s latest, a spoof of John Howard, in which the “PM” is purported to suddenly come to the realisation that the Iraq war is an utter, murderous fraud and apologises to his party room, is quite tame by Oz standards. By contrast, the PM parody relies on the facts of the Iraq war, especially the massive numbers of Iraqi civilians and journalists killed.

Neville’s parody

However, the Commonwealth, owner of copyright to the Prime Minister’s website, have taken issue with Neville’s use of artwork from the site in his parody.

On the behest of yet unknown Australian Government parties, registrar Melbourne I/T, whom Neville used to register the domain name, have invalidated JOHNHOWARDPM.ORG. The site itself was hosted on Yahoo facilities in the USA.

You can still see a PDF of the JOHNHOWARDPM.ORG website as it appeared before it was shut down, as hosted on another Neville site.


11 Comments so far
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Yay!!! Once again, little Johnny doing this country’s heritage of a free democracy proud!

BTW – I managed to inherit no small number of Oz magazines from my folks… STILL stellar reading, some 30 plus years later!

Comment by Marcus 03.17.06 @ 8:50 pm

Marcus, what’s my chances of borrowing some? I didn’t get to Australia until 1996 and never got to see the Oz, though I’ve seen a few online excerpts.

Comment by weez 03.17.06 @ 8:56 pm

Australia ranks 41 in the world for press freedom. This oughta knock us down a couple more!

Comment by foxman 03.17.06 @ 9:01 pm

The excuse given by Melbourne I/T, that the Neville site appeared to be a ‘phishing’ operation, is both offensive and nefarious. ‘Phishing’ involves seeking to obtain information from users like bank card or internet banking details; the parody does nothing of the sort.

Technically, the parody site is still online on the Yahoo servers, but you can’t get there by clicking up the URL. Melbourne I/T have shut off the DNS which turns the URL into the IP of the Yahoo server. Transferring the domain to another registrant would solve it.

Comment by weez 03.17.06 @ 9:19 pm

weez – yeah! for sure. I won’t be home for a couple of days, but yeah, just send me an email & we can work out a good time for you to grab them.

Comment by Marcus 03.18.06 @ 7:52 am

What a joke… Parody, satire and simply taking the piss have always been part of Australian culture. Just goes to show what the government’s real agenda is in this department – stifling any creative opposition to it’s ultra conservative follow the leader line.

Comment by Dave 03.18.06 @ 11:38 am

To be reasonably fair to the Gubmint (as if it’s necessary- they don’t play fair- see Scott Parkin), Neville didn’t alter the images he took from the website for use in his parody. Neville made it all too easy for the site to be knocked off on a garden-variety intellectual property infringement complaint.

I can think of a squillion things I might have done to the heading banner image to both send a bigger message about the Australian involvement in Shrubya’s oil war and more technically qualify the thing as a spoof. In example, Howard might have been shown to be surveying a Baghdad street full of corpses after a car bombing instead of addressing a group of out-of-focus though identfiably European faces.

I’m a bit surprised that an activist as experienced as Neville didn’t make it a bit harder to get the thing yanked by the Gubmint. However, the site being pulled offline on the orders of Australian officials was probably as good for the publicity of Neville’s point of view as the parody itself.

Comment by weez 03.18.06 @ 12:00 pm

Thanks for that Neville link!

Comment by Jennifer 03.18.06 @ 6:59 pm

No wux, Jennifer. Anytime the gubmint interferes with critical political commentary, it’s newsy enough to blog.

Comment by weez 03.19.06 @ 9:03 am

Now that’s when you have a whole pile of mirror sites ready to press go….

Comment by kakariki 03.21.06 @ 11:17 pm

“Iím a bit surprised that an activist as experienced as Neville didnít make it a bit harder to get the thing yanked by the Gubmint. However, the site being pulled offline on the orders of Australian officials was probably as good for the publicity of Nevilleís point of view as the parody itself.”


Comment by @ndy 03.25.06 @ 2:22 am

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