Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has vowed not to run away from the proposed mandatory internet service provider (ISP)-level internet filtering policy, stating that the advent of iPhones and iPads compromised parent's ability to supervise their children.
Rob Oakeshott, Tony Jones, Fiona Patten and Stephen Conroy (Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)
Speaking on ABC's Q&A program last night, Conroy responded to comments from fellow panellist, Independent MP Rob Oakeshott, that the best "net nanny" in the home was to keep the computer in an open space such as a family room where parents can monitor internet usage.
"Unfortunately, an open space doesn't exist when an iPad exists and when an iPhone exists," Conroy retorted. "The argument that you should put it in a family room is now technologically bypassed."
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has previously stated that he believed his company had a "moral responsibility" to keep pornographic material off the iPhone.
Conroy said legislation for the mandatory internet filtering policy had not yet been drafted, while the review of the scope of refused classification content had yet to take place, but he refused to back away from the policy.
"You don't because you get a lot of criticism say 'I'm going to run away from that policy'," he said.
The minister touted the voluntary child pornography filtering promised by Optus, Primus and Telstra as proof internet filtering would not lead to slower internet speeds but rejected suggestions this could be used in place of the mandatory filtering policy.
"There's two internet service providers have said they will not block child pornography, two of them have stated they will not block the list. They're on the record," Conroy said. Internode has said it would not comply with the proposal, while iiNet CEO Michael Malone said he would wait for details of the proposal before deciding whether to opt in.
Shadow Innovation Minister Sophie Mirabella said the Coalition didn't support the policy on the grounds that it "didn't work".
"It won't stop the peer-to-peer discussions, it won't stop chat-room discussions. You haven't actually shown how it will work," she said.
"It is 100 per cent accurate. Blocking individual URLs as is in Europe at the moment is 100 per cent accurate. It does work," Conroy responded.
"I've said repeatedly, the filter is not an attempt to deal with peer to peer," he added, citing additional funding for police and education programs will be in place with the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Australian Sex Party President Fiona Patten said although the Coalition was opposed to the policy now, that didn't mean the party wouldn't be in favour of internet filtering.
"Joe Hockey may have said he won't support the filter as it stands, but certainly [Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott out at Rooty Hill of course said he would do whatever he could to stop people looking at filth," Patten said.
Oakeshott, whose vote played a key role returning Labor to power, said he looked forward to seeing the filter legislation in detail when it is entered into parliament.