Conroy wants Coalition filter explanation

Conroy wants Coalition filter explanation

Summary: The office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy last night challenged the shadow treasurer to explain the Coalition's opposition to Labor's controversial internet filter policy.

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The office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy last night challenged the shadow treasurer to explain the Coalition's opposition to Labor's controversial internet filter policy.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has returned fire at Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey on the Coalition's plans to block the controversial mandatory internet filter.(Credit: Liam Tung/ZDNet Australia)

Hockey revealed on Triple J's "Hack" program yesterday afternoon that the Coalition would block the filter legislation when it appeared in parliament, in a move that signals the death of the controversial project if the Greens control the balance of power in the Federal Senate after the upcoming election in several weeks.

"Joe Hockey needs to explain why refused classification material hosted on overseas websites should be available, while RC [refused classification] material on Australian hosted sites is not," Conroy's Office said last night in a statement. "The current online content regulations regarding prohibited content were introduced by the Howard Government in 2000," it added, referring to laws against RC content being hosted in Australia.

Shadow Communications Minister Tony Smith last night said a coalition government would not introduce a mandatory internet service provider (ISP) filter. Instead it would implement what he described as "practical and effective measures to enhance online safety and security", including returning to the PC-based filtering approach utilised by the previous Howard coalition government.

But Conroy's office immediately challenged such a proposal.

"Let's not forget the Howard Government's free PC filter program was a dismal failure, despite a $15 million advertising campaign.

"The Gillard Government does not support refused classification (RC) material being available on the internet," Conroy's Office said. "This content includes child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act."

Under Australia's existing classification regulations, such material was not available in newsagencies, libraries, on DVDs or TV or at the cinema, the Office pointed out.

"RC material is also not available on Australian hosted websites," it said. "The government's policy is to introduce ISP level filtering for overseas hosted material which is RC under the existing National Classification Scheme. There's no silver bullet when it comes to cyber safety and that's why the government has a comprehensive $125.8 million, which includes education for parents and young people, law enforcement, research and ISP level filtering."

The Coalition's policy decision is, however, already being celebrated by those who have lobbied against the policy over the past two and a half years since it was introduced — with Liberal parliamentarians, the Greens, Electronic Frontiers Australia and others all welcoming the move.

Topics: Censorship, Government, Government AU

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9 comments
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  • The laws already exist against child pornography, and everything else he list. Forcing these people underground any further only means that they will be harder to find and arrest. The most successful police raids around the world have been due to the fact that there is no filter, and they were easier to find and apprehend, this would not have occurred had there been a filter in place.

    So if you want these people to be able to be caught and removed from society, leave the bloody internet alone.

    As for the rest of his desired filtering programme, that would be to interfere with freedom of speech, freedom of association, gaining information on medical and scientific research into cannabis, and its health benefits to all humanity.

    Not bloody likely Mr Conroy.
    littlbit
  • In Australia RC material is already illegal to provide or obtain. The government should be spending this money on taking down illegal material and educating the public about the various existing opt-in filters (google, Windows, your ISP, etc). They certainly shouldn't be adding manditory filtering using secret blacklists (that can anyway be effortlessly circumvented by anyone so inclined, see "5 ways in 2mins" video).
    blamer-09d19
  • How's this for an explanation, Senator? The Coalition - (and the Greens) - have actually listened to the people. People do not want your draconian filter. The end. Democracy sucks, doesn't it Stephen?
    mwyres@...
  • "The Gillard Government does not support refused classification (RC) material being available on the internet,"
    Oh Really? Thats nice. How about this one? "The Australian People do not support Mr Conroy's unworkable dickbrained scheme".
    You are supposed to be representing us, you ignorant **** its time to start doing your job.
    tpontin
  • "Conroy wants Coalition filter explanation"

    Let's see, the fact that it slows down internet access? The fact that anyone with half a working brain can - and will - bypass it with ridiculous ease? The fact that it censors free speech? The fact that the vast majority of Australians are against it?

    You have the facts slapped down in front of you; perhaps you need someone to glue your eyes to the sheets before you read the damn things.
    Hyperion09
  • Most RC material ISN'T illegal, it's just the idiots who hate freedom of speech who say otherwise.
    Hyperion09
  • "Joe Hockey needs to explain why refused classification material hosted on overseas websites should be available, while RC [refused classification] material on Australian hosted sites is not," Conroy's Office said...

    Maybe it's because material hosted overseas is just that "overseas", and therefore not subject to Australian law...seems pretty obvious to everyone except Conroy.

    "The current online content regulations regarding prohibited content were introduced by the Howard Government in 2000,"

    Which once again only applies within Australian jurisdiction....

    "The Gillard Government does not support refused classification (RC) material being available on the internet," Conroy's Office said.

    Well, the Gillard government needs to understand the internet is *international* and therefore much of it is outside the jurisdiction of any Australian government.

    "Let's not forget the Howard Government's free PC filter program was a dismal failure, despite a $15 million advertising campaign."

    Yes, it failed but it wasn't as expensive, draconian, or as conceptually flawed as Conroys filter...

    "This content [RC] includes child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act."

    Ummm, isn't that already illegal in Australia? I don't see anyone disputing that, it's what the government later decides is RC that concerns most...

    Someone needs to explain the concept of 'jurisdiction' to Conboy, clearly he has no understanding that the internet is not just an Australian thing.
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • I think you need to research what the refused classification actually means.
    Ty this for size - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Classification_Board

    And for an excerpt -

    * RC (Refused Classification)

    Films which are very high in impact and/or contain any type of violence in conjunction with real sexual intercourse are rated Refused Classification by the OFLC. Films which may be Refused Classification include content that:

    * Depict, express or otherwise deals with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.
    * Depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult a minor who is, or who appears to be, under 18 (whether or not engaged in sexual activity).
    * Promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence.

    Classification is mandatory, and films that are rated Refused Classification by the OFLC are banned for sale, hire or public exhibition, carrying a maximum fine of $275,000 and/or 10 years jail. It is, however, legal to possess RC films, unless they contain illegal content (eg child pornography).

    You may need to read the last line again.

    Cry Freedom
    Cry_Freedom
  • Conroy want's an explanation why the Coalition opposes the filter - He just needs to read most of the IT forums, that would give him the explanation. Except he doesn't want to hear it.
    Conroy is ignoring the majority of Australians who understand his plans and who have already voiced their concerns. He has ignored us like the rock ignores the rain. But even a rock must succumb to constant weathering, and weather you we will until the day that you are just an annoyance in Australia's political history.
    Cry_Freedom