Magda cops ‘avalanche of hate’


Beloved Aussie actor Magda Szubanski was hit with "volumetric attacks" after she appeared in a COVID safety ad, the eSafety commissioner has told Senate estimates.

Szubanski in August appeared in a Victorian government video encouraging residents to obey stringent lockdown rules.

Donned in a netball outfit she made famous on comedy show Kath & Kim as the character Sharon Strzelecki, Szubanski says in the ad: "The sooner we obey the rules, the sooner this will all be over and we can get back to the stuff that really matters."

Australia's eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said an "avalanche of hate" was directed at Szubanski over the ad.

"The volumetric attacks on Nyadol Nyuon, who is an African Australian activist, as well as Magda Szubanski in the wake of her public service announcement around wearing COVID masks were all co-ordinated right-wing extremist attacks," Ms Inman Grant told a hearing on Wednesday night.

"We're aware of it, we're watching it," adding it was important to promote and protect diverse and at-risk voices online.

Volumetric attacks online involve a target being flooded with hate from trolls.

Szubanski hit out at haters on Twitter following the release of the video.

"Bring it Covid Deniers - let's see what you got. Let's bring you right out into the sunshine. Let's see your real names. And your real facts," she wrote.

In the wake of the Christchurch atrocity, Ms Inman Grant said the eSafety Commission was given a substantial set of new powers around "abhorrent, violent material" and internet service provider blocking in case of an online crisis event.

"Events we had to assess in the last year have involved right-wing extremism, including the Halle terrorist attack that happened on Twitch, and Poway, El Paso and others," she said.

"We have of course been following things such as QAnon, the Boogaloo movement and some of the right-wing extremists here in Australia because some of the volumetric attacks that I mentioned have targeted Australians."

Australia's domestic spy agency on Tuesday told an estimates hearing it was ramping up its capacity to tackle right-wing extremism, which it says has spread across the country.

Up to 40 per cent of priority counter-terrorism investigations this year involved right-wing extremists.

Originally published as Magda cops 'avalanche of hate'

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