Image for ‘Cable car proponents threaten legal action over protest website’

*Pic: ROB WALLS. Richard Flanagan’s memorable speech to an anti-pokies rally in Cascade Park a month ago. The speech was before thousands of people. Read the speech: HERE

The Mount Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) has threatened legal action and is currently attempting to forcibly acquire the domain of an anti-cable car website - mtwellingtoncablecar.com.au – owned by a local community member.

The owner of the domain, South Hobart resident Louise Sales says “nine months later, no legal action has been taken so it appears the letter was sent simply to intimidate. I am not intimidated and I call on the cable car company to stop threatening people for having their say.”

The company has also now lodged a formal complaint that seeks to have Ms Sales’ website forcibly transferred to the cableway company on the grounds that it is a “protest page”, “oppositional” and that the website is being used “in bad faith”.

Ms Sales argues in her Response to the company’s Complaint that it discloses no evidence of registering a business name, a Trademark, or a Service Mark in “Mount Wellington Cable Car”. The company’s only registered name is in fact “Mount Wellington Cableway Company Pty Limited”.

“I have just as legitimate an interest and right to describe what is proposed for our mountain as any company. I call on the company to withdraw their Complaint,” says Ms Sales.

MWCC has registered at least 22 domain names including respectthemountain.com.au (the name of a local group opposed to the cable car), nocablecar.com and kunanyi.org. [1] Last year the company redirected a number of these domain names to a Parliamentary petition supporting the Mount Wellington Cable Car Facilitation Bill, in an apparent attempt to hoodwink people opposed to the cable car into signing the petition. The Bill (now Act) allows the Government to compulsorily acquire land within Wellington Park for the proposal.

Ms Sales says “I find it frankly appalling that the proponents would stoop as low as buying up a suite of anti-cable car domain names and diverting them to a pro-cable car petition. This company are clearly prepared to stop at nothing to try to get this deeply unpopular project off the ground.”

“nocablecar.net, nocablecar.org are truly baffling domain names to register if you are a proponent for a cable car,” says Ms Sales. “So why do it? - To attempt to stifle debate.”

In response to outrage from the Aboriginal community over the purchasing of the kunanyi domains MWCC’s CEO Adrian Bold is quoted as saying that the internet belongs to no one: “It’s first in, best dressed.”[2]

“To claim that no one owns the internet, and to then threaten local community members with legal action when they establish a website opposing the proposed cable car action and accuse them of acting in bad faith is a staggeringly hypocritical.”

“MWCC is acting in an outrageously acquisitive, covetous and predatory fashion. They want to monopolise the name kunanyi/Mount Wellington. We oppose that. This is a matter of free speech,” says Ms Sales, “and we will not be silenced.”