Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull has revealed plans to host a forum against Labor's mandatory internet filter policy this Saturday in his electorate, dragging in an old colleague — former OzEmail and Telstra chief Justin Milne — to help with proceedings.
"The proposed filter is a hot issue in Wentworth, with many voters expressing concern over the government's plans. Some argue mandatory filtering of internet content is a breach of their civil rights and borders on censorship, while others question the plan's technical feasibility and effectiveness," said an event invitation posted on Facebook over the past several days.
Three panellists will speak at the event: Turnbull himself, who with his background as OzEmail investor and chair as one of the parliament's most tech-savvy politicians; former BigPond and OzEmail chief Justin Milne; and Simon Sheikh, national director of political advocacy group GetUp!
The invite stated that the forum would consider adopting community resolutions which captured views on the filter, and presenting such resolutions to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Prime Minister Julia Gillard "as a reminder of the community's determination to fight the proposal".
The event will be held this Saturday, 7 August, at 3:30pm at the Paddington RSL Club on Oxford St in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.
A spokesperson for Turnbull said the event wasn't being widely publicised (only to the MP's Facebook and iPhone app friends) to limit the size of the turn-up for event capacity reasons. They noted Turnbull was personally opposed to the filter policy.
The forum comes as neither the Liberal Party nor the broader Coalition have revealed a formal position on the internet filter policy, with Shadow Communications Minister Tony Smith having stated that a reaction would await Labor delivering the actual legislation associated with the policy.
However, Liberal MP Jamie Briggs said recently that he hadn't spoken to anyone within the party who was in favour of the policy, and the recent conference of the Nationals adopted a resolution against the controversial filter.
Senior Liberals such as Joe Hockey have also publicly spoken out against the filter, as well as Briggs and other MPs such as Alex Hawke, Michael Johnson and Simon Birmingham.