Filter Bill could await election: Ludlam

Filter Bill could await election: Ludlam

Summary: Greens Senator Scott Ludlam today predicted legislation around the Federal Government's internet filtering project would have to wait until after the next federal election.


Greens Senator Scott Ludlam today predicted legislation around the Federal Government's internet filtering project would have to wait until after the next federal election.

"I predict that the filter legislation wlll not be on the table before the election," Ludlam told journalists at the Kickstart conference in Queensland today.

Ludlam said the Senate at the moment "could politely be described as constipated", due to what he claimed was opposition attempts to delay and "block everything" passing through the upper house. The Greens senator described the political action as "quite a destructive move" on the opposition's part.

In a wider sense, Ludlam said he thought the government had really "mis-stepped" by pushing the filter initiative. He said the government's "inflexibility", attempting to just crash through with its agenda, had lost it support. "They are probably just going to have to think again about that," he said.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this week said the government wouldn't apologise for pushing ahead with the initiative.

The Greens senator has quite a lot on his communications portfolio at the moment, with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy having recently published exposure drafts of legislation relating to the National Broadband Network Company, and also looking to pass legislation around the break-up of Telstra.

But he said the filter debate remained "the single biggest issue" for him. "It's something I've been pursuing and will continue to do so until it gets resolved," Ludlam said. Last year the politician described the policy as "pointless" and "misguided".

Ludlam believed that the Telstra legislation, on the other hand, would get through before the election, despite one attempt by Conroy to introduce the Bill into the Senate being shot down in flames last week. At the time, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert had said her party was ready to debate the legislation.

In early February, Labor Senator Kate Lundy had said she believed the filter legislation was on track to be introduced into parliament in the late February/March time frame.

Topics: Censorship, Government AU

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  • Long Live Communist Australia!

    First we'll get the communist break-up of Telstra - replaced by a government controlled ISP retailer & higher taxes, then sometime afterwards we'll get the communist filter.
  • Filter scheme = lost my vote K. Rudd.

    Filter scheme = lost my vote K. Rudd.

    The nbn is great, but now you've gone too far.
  • Dodgy Kevin

    Is this because Rudd is afraid that he may loose the next election if this is brought in before voting day? ie, the people wont like it? That sounds very dodgy of Kevin to me.
  • Kids

    Yes, what has happened to parental responsibility?

    All these Internet kiddies stamping their feet because someone may take away their toy.

    "We'll all be rooned, said Hanrahan".

    Let's not worry about workplace practices or pay, or the environment, or foreign policy, or health... out Internet toys are the centre of the universe.

    It is our 27th Amendment right... sorry, Internet is not a constitutional right? Damn these Commies.

    Into the naughty corner for you, kiddies, until you learn to play nicely with others
  • No more Labour

    Howard went one step too far with work choices and lost my vote.
    Rudd has gone one step too far with this filter and lost my vote.
    Ive got no problem with a opt in, opt out solution, but the free filter I have on my sons computer does a better job. It blocks everything I need it too.
  • Even that is too much

    >>Ive got no problem with a opt in, opt out solution<<

    Even that is going too far. Forcing ISPs to install a filter period is wrong, whether used or unused. If an ISP wants to offer a filtered product, like webshield, fine. But forcing it is going too far. Incidentally, the sheer fact that webshield is only a relatively small ISP shows how few people actually want this.
  • Observer

    What a ridiculous post. You cannot excuse rampant censorship just because you support some of the government's other actions. This is the halo effect: since they are good somewhere you admire, they can do no wrong. What utter absurdity. Workchoices was wrong and had to go. The filter is wrong and must go the same way.
  • Re: Kids

    You obviously don't see the ramifications of the Internet filter. It has nothing to do with protecting children and everything to do with controlling debate and the flow of information to the public. No dictatorship can flourish where information is freely availiable, and face it, a dictatorship is what the politicians of today are after.

    But freedom issues notwithstanding, another grave danger of the filter is the sense of false security it will impart to unknowledgeable parents and users. Censorship of the Internet doesn't work because the Internet sees censorship as damage and attempts to route around it. Remember it was designed by the US military to function even in the event of a nuclear war. So having a filter in place will cause parents to believe they can safely leave their children unattended online when this is not the case. Other users will believe the filter will protect them from being hacked, which it certainly won't.

    So relying on such a filter is analogous to feeling you can safely leave your car unlocked because it is parked in front of a police station. It's actually no safer there than parked in a seedy alleyway.

    Finally, like it or lump it, the Internet is no longer just a toy. It's become a vital tool of research and communication every bit as necessary these days as telephones and radios. Without it, many businesses, such as mine, could not function. So your description of the Internet as a kids' toy is facile at best and delusional at worst. It's not merely a constitutional right. It has become an essential part of modern commerce and education.
  • just annother ploy by Conjob

    So Labor and Conroy may finally recognise that their lobby group backed filter stinks with the electorate.

    What I'm reading this as is - To avoid it being an unwinnable issue in an election, Labor may slow down the passage of removing our freedoms of speech so they can claim a mandate by the people if they win the election.

    It's just another attempt at smoke and mirrors by his holiness Conjob and KRudd. As long as Conroy stays, I refuse to vote Labor again.
  • exactly right

    This issue is a turkey, it'll fly under the radar, most people won't vote based on this, and if they come back from an election they'll declare they have a mandate.

    Don't be fooled, Conroy might be a slimy fascist git but he is cunning (you'd have to be to float to the top of the labor cess pool as he has)
  • Why are they called ISPs anyway?

    They are Internet ACCESS Providers. I have yet to encounter one that provides "service".

    jackboot johnie's suggestion of a free filter that could be installed on the User's end is far more workable.

    It enables parents to install on a child-access PC, with the assurance that anything blacklisted will be BLOCKED BY THE PC ITSELF.

    CONroy is doing a good job a blurring the issues. Is he trying to prevent access by adults to Kiddy Porn? Or, is he trying to prevent access to any form of Porn by Kiddies, and everyone else by default as well?

    I regularly access many sites that are NOT pornographic, but that I have evey reason to believe that CONroy would filter ASAP.

    Now that he has been caught out censoring his own site from searches on "ISP filter", it is more than obvious that his motivation is "I know what's best for everyone."

    I have argued numerous times that the real criminals in this area (trading in kiddy porn) do not download from sites--they trade encrypted emails. Making an IAP-enforced filter completely unworkable.
  • Claiming a "mandate" doesn't mean you have one!

    Jackboot johnnie achieved government with only 33% of primary votes, yet claimed to have mandates to sell Telstra and to introduce the Goods and Services Theft Act.

    These were LIES.

    A mandate requires 50% +1 of all primary votes in ALL states and territories.

    While we have one party masquerading as two, both "parties" are in the same cesspool--that's the only way to account for Abbott...
  • Let's define a mandate

    @Mic, your headline is right but you seem to be unclear about what the pollies (all of 'em) like to refer to as a mandate.

    Parties are said to have a mandate when they announce a policy before an election and are then elected. It has nothing to do with 50%+1 in all states (perhaps you are thinking of the requirement to change the constitution).

    The worrying thing is that none of the parties including the Greens have been prepared to come out and clearly say they will vote against imposing secret government censorship. Only Nick Xenophon, to his great credit, has said he will vote it down.