The National Review’s website has now been shut down, apparently after a campaign of vandalism.
The site, which had more than 400,000 registered users before the election, had been running with an article from Andrew Bolt’s conservative news site, The National.
It was one of many news stories that the National had used to promote its election campaign, which has been criticised for promoting populism and conspiracy theories.
But the site’s owner, David Hirst, announced the site had been taken offline after a complaint from a “frightened” member of the public, The Canberra Times reported.
Hirst told the newspaper the website was not “a legitimate news outlet” and that the article was a “sick joke” that was “incredibly dangerous”.
He told the paper the website had been shut for “security reasons”.
“It’s absolutely not a legitimate news source,” he said.
“We have a great deal of respect for the Australian people, they have given us the right to operate.”
He added that he believed the vandalism was “an attack on free speech”.
“I don’t think there’s any other way to interpret it,” he told the Times.
“There’s no way to take it seriously.
I’ve done nothing wrong.
I’m just not going to stand here and take the risk of being a laughing stock.”
The National said it was not seeking legal action.
“This is a deeply concerning incident that shows the dangers of our hyperpartisan political discourse, which is the source of the rise in online hate speech,” the website said in a statement.
“The National has an unwavering commitment to free speech, free thought and the free exchange of ideas.
This was not the case.”