Coalition filter stance angers Christian lobby

Coalition filter stance angers Christian lobby

Summary: The Australian Christian Lobby has slammed as "incomprehensible" a revelation by Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey late yesterday that the Coalition would vote against Labor's controversial mandatory internet filtering project if associated legislation made it into parliament.

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The Australian Christian Lobby has slammed as "incomprehensible" a revelation by Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey late yesterday that the Coalition would vote against Labor's controversial mandatory internet filtering project if associated legislation made it into parliament.

Church

(Church image by Luz Maria Espinoza, royalty free)

If the Greens hold the balance of power after the upcoming Federal Election in several weeks, the Coalition's block will doom the filter legislation in the Senate. Many anti-filter campaigners are already celebrating the news as the death-knell for the filter project.

However, the ACL (a non-partisan group that lobbies on behalf of Christian interests) said in a statement that it couldn't believe the news. "This announcement is incomprehensible on a number of levels," said ACL managing director Jim Wallace.

Hockey said the filter technology simply didn't work, but Wallace said trials showed that it did. "To have a system that orders take-down notices for Australian sites carrying Refused Classification (RC) material, but allow it to come in unhindered from overseas sites is simply illogical," he said.

It appears that the Coalition plans to re-introduce its policy of providing PC-based filtering technology that parents can apply to their machines themselves. "To imply that parents rather than the [internet service providers (ISP)] are best equipped to manage the technology by presumably introducing the discredited Net Nanny system, again simply defies technological reality," said Wallace.

The ACL chief described the anti-filter effort as "a well-funded scare campaign" on the issue, including "conspiracy theories that saw us all becoming like China and North Korea". "On every level arguments against ISP-level blocking of RC material have been disproved or shown to be illogical," Wallace said.

Wallace finished his statement by noting that it was important to understand that ISP filtering was only part of the solution to the problem of RC material on the internet and that the government's policy also included additional police funding to intercept illegal peer-to-peer material and find the perpetrators.

"The government is absolutely right to retain its resolve on this issue," Wallace said, "and it is extremely disappointing to see the Coalition adopt a policy that, as the civil libertarians behind it intend, will establish a principle where this medium is beyond regulation — quite unlike the supposedly free seas."

Topics: Censorship, Government, Government AU

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11 comments
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  • "On every level arguments against ISP-level blocking of RC material have been disproved or shown to be illogical"

    Um, I think you'll find it's actually the other way around there, Jim.

    The simple fact is that ISP-level filtering will not work. It can be easily circumvented (see the "5 ways around the filter in 2 minutes" video on YouTube); it doesn't block content in Email, FTP, Peer-to-Peer or Usenet at all; it doesn't block encrypted web pages; it doesn't block any of the things that parents would actually WANT a filter to block from their children (such as "regular" R and X-rated material); in short, it is expensive and ineffectual. Anybody who would support spending millions of dollars on something that doesn't even do what it sets out to do needs their head checked.
    Dean Harding
  • These christians need to put a sock in it. Politics and religion do not mix.
    maxwarren-a40f0
  • The so-called "Christian lobby" is a minority group of conservative religious nutters & luddites. They don't even represent the Christian minority in Australia, let alone the rest of Australia.
    Doctor_Sardonicus
  • I am always saddened to see people who claim to have the highest ethical and moral standards deliberately deceive and mislead people by omitting the full facts. You (the ACL) bring disrepute to people of belief/faith whether conservative or progressive. G.W. Bush taught us one thing well, that the "ends do NOT justifies the means" (or the lies), no matter how strongly you believe in them.
    Packer-a0379
  • Unfortunately the loudest Christians are often the ones with the biggest secrets. More interested in the appearance of doing right than actually doing right. Perhaps they are concerned that there may be pictures of themselves on some of the sites they wish to filter?
    xBeanie
  • I am not a christian so I do not want Christians telling me what I can and cannot watch. Maybe a better idea would to give warning notices to the Christians like they do Aboriginal and Torres straight islanders when something is going to be shown that could possibly upset them. This would then give them the option to either watch it or not. Remember Christians, nobody is forcing YOU to watch anything.
    Trevor C
  • BAWWWWWWW more, butthurt fundamentalists.
    Hyperion09
  • Learn by example?
    The "discredited Net Nanny system" looks a more solid option than the Filter.
    Intelligent children will outwit cencorship - what ideals do we perpetuate when acting as if we do not trust their innate strength and discrimination?
    mark275@...
  • I am Christian. But, I'm concerned that the words "Jesus", "Christi", "Muslim", "Muhammad", "Jehovah" and other religious words would be filtered in the future by a government run and headed by atheists.
    voiceofreason-e3b96
  • Describing this bunch of professional lobbyists as "a non-partisan group that lobbies on behalf of Christian interests" is courageous to say the least.

    Behind all the mindless repetition of empty catchphrases, somewhere there seems to be a good old-fashioned desire to impose a very narrow political/religious straitjacket on everything we are allowed to know.

    Sounds pretty partisan to me.
    gnome-8be8a
  • Don't mistake the puppet Gillard with the rest of us.
    Hyperion09