Gillard speaks out on the filter

Gillard speaks out on the filter

Summary: New Prime Minister Julia Gillard today said she understands concerns about the government's controversial mandatory internet filtering policy, but said that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was putting in an effort to get the policy into shape.


New Prime Minister Julia Gillard today said she understands concerns about the government's controversial mandatory internet filtering policy, but said that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was putting in an effort to get the policy into shape.

"Well look, I know that there is some concern here, and I believe that the minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has been trying to work through to get a resolution," she said in an interview with ABC Darwin's Julia Christensen.

"We obviously want a fast internet that meets people's needs, that's why we're rolling out the National Broadband... But there's also a set of concerns about the dark side of the new technology, if I can use that expression," she said.

"Clearly you can't walk into a cinema in Australia and see certain things, and we shouldn't on the internet be able to access those things either. So, Stephen Conroy is working to get this in the right shape."

When asked if she was comfortable with the filter given people's comparisons of Australia with China's internet policies, Gillard said that she was happy with the "policy aim".

"You're not able to go to the movies and see those kinds of things. Why should you be able to see them on the internet? I think that that's the kind of, you know, moral, ethical question at the heart of this.

"But I understand that there's a set of technical concerns about internet speed, and also concerns that somehow this accidentally doesn't move into taking away legitimate use of the internet."

The comments represent the first time Gillard has commented publicly on the filter policy since winning the Labor leadership several weeks ago.

Her predecessor Kevin Rudd had publicly defended the policy several times, on one occasion noting he would not apologise for the policy.

Labor Senator Kate Lundy has previously said she believes the change in leadership could present an opportunity for the policy to change, and is lobbying the Labor caucus to insert opt-in or opt-out provisions into the filter legislation. But Communications Minister Stephen Conroy did not respond directly when asked last week whether he had spoken to Gillard about Lundy's amendments.

Topics: Censorship, Government AU, Telcos

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • The Internet vs cinema analogy doesn't work - it doesn't make sense.

    The difference is in expectation. I don't expect to see "anything" at the movies. I expect to see what the cinemas have chosen to screen.

    With the Internet, I expect to have access to whatever is there - unfiltered.

    Like most parents, I'm capable of protecting my children from inappropriate content.

    I do NOT want some web illiterate bureaucrat - or anyone else- deciding what I can and can't view on the Internet.
  • LOL love the analogy. If a cinema was showing "RC material" would the government.

    (A) fund police to investigate, seize or close the cinema company.
    (B) Build a wall in-front of the cinema and tell nobody whats behind it.
    (C) Redirect the transport system with fake signs so that people cant find the cinema.
    (D) B & C

    The government seems pretty fond of option D.
  • I think all torrent sites will almost certainly be blocked. And as for the future of the filter, only time will tell. But I dont see Jules doing anything to stop Christian Conroys mystical crusade to the promised land of no bad things on the internet. Its so very frustrating to see those in charge just fail at understanding the technology driving the country so epically. I just hope something changes soon cause this isnt the way forward.
  • Torrent sites should not be blocked, considering that this is a filter for "RC material", or so they purport.
    I do not think only "RC material" will be blocked, as evident by the multiple leaked ACMA Blacklists that WikiLeaks posted a few months back.
    There needs to be an intervention, an intervention to stop the Governments problem - trying to control every aspect of our view of the world.
    Magazines are insulting advertising, promoting, in most cases, materialism and an anorexic perception of beauty
    They got the newspapers completely locked down, I mean seriously, they print the damn things the night before
    The MSM (main stream media) is under COMPLETE CONTROL of the network heads, who in turn themselves are under control...
    When it comes down to it... in the world of government and information, we, the people, the citizens, are the bottom feeders.
    We are fed whatever the Anchor is told to feed us..
    The Anchor is fed what the producer is told to feed them..
    The producer is fed what the studio executive is told to feed them...
    The executive is fed what the director(s) is told to feed them...
    the director(s) is/are fed what the chairman or parent head company rep is told to feed them...
    and it goes on and on...
    Until you get to the seat of power - the upper most you can go in the Elite oligarchy whom control the world through government, banking & socialised media - where you will find the true rulers of this planets current social system.
    It is not the poli's people... they work for someone else... even the PM... it doesnt matter... because the fact is, the RBA is a private institution, who answer to noone, not even the government, as the government is in debt to them...
    Educate yourselves, this is complete disregard for Human Rights charter right to Freedom of Speech, the people in power need to be reminded they work for THE PEOPLE, not the corporations
  • The most important thing is that the policy before they were elected was announced as an OPT IN/OPT OUT only. Once the Government got elected they then changed the policy to mandatory or in other words they LIED!.
    Now Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants to back that lie and continue it.
    I had high hopes for her but it seems that she is willing and more than happy to lie about policies to suit their own agenda. She does not deserve mine or anyone elses vote.
  • To be honest I don't think any form of censorship should be forced upon us. Yes classify books/TV/Movies/Games ect. but under no circumstances should any items ever been censored or banned. The same should be applied to the internet.

    Now I'm certainly not advocating child pornography, but there are already laws in place to deal with these kind of things. It is already illegal to produce or own or sell this material, there are already laws in place designed with the specific purpose of protecting people, adding further censorship over the top of this goes too far. Censorship does not prevent the creation or distribution of this type of material. I'm sure if tomorrow they said there was no need to get any material classified that would be no increase in child pornographic material. So why would the government think the opposite would be true?
  • This reminds me of back in the 50's when a wacko claimed that comic books were poisoning children's minds and they had massive public burnings of comic books. Sounds like this government needs to get with the times.
  • There are so many questions with too few answers...
    1. Who is responsible for overseeing the accuracy of their list?
    2. What contigencies have they made for mistakenly blocking legitimate sites and ruining someones business? (this happened during the testing)
    3. What will be the reaction when parents (who were feeling more secure) find out that the filter only blocks them and not their children (because even 8 year old kids will learn how to circumvent this at school)?
  • She's lost my respect and my vote.
  • Ditto here, she's lost our votes! No point in going ahead with the much publicised NBN if it only delivers what the Bible Bashers consider to be "wholesome" rated content.
    But would Abbot be any different?
  • I think you've hit the nail on the head grump3.

    The Libs are simply refusing to tell us where they stand on the filter. We hear rumblings of discontent from some Lib pollies (as we do with some Labor). But as mentioned elsewhere, the Libs current position is (from their website) -

    "The Coalition isn’t convinced that mandatory filtering will be effective. Let’s see independently audited filtering trial results, and hear from experts in the field before deciding".

    So no, yes, maybe...? Funny that they would say the Coalition though... as it has been claimed by other posters elsewhere, that the Libs Coalition partner, the Nats, have apparently said they are "against the filter". So this is contradictory info to cloud everything further...Although one would assume that what ever Abbott wants, Abbott will get and the Nats will have to like it or lump it regardless...!
  • The libs started this whole thing off in 1999.. The ALP at the time played the same game the libs are playing now. Political Role reversal.. This whole thing seems to be a GAME the political masters.. (whoever they are) The so called 'faceless ones' are playing with the community.

    There would have been a lot less legitimate opposition had the government concerned themselves with only filtering child pornography. But due to this government bundling child pornography under a wide umbrella refered to as Refused Classification. The public are of course dubious of the governments true intentions toward filtering child porn.

    The so called 'political masters' know that the public do not want the internet filtered. But those elected to represent us ignore the public will. Seems to me the loyalty to their chosen political party consistantly puts them at odds to their electorates will. Since it matters not what major political party is elected in this regard. I do not know what to propose as a solution. Vote Independent is my best advise.

    I think the best solution is to fund interpol correctly and shutdown child porn sites worldwide. And keep shutting them down as they appear. Perhaps ISP's worldwide can/should fund this from their profits.

    The politicans justify their obscene salarys by claiming to be the best people to do the job. Claiming similar positions in the public sector would attract even higher wages. The public sector wouldnt put up with the way politicians waste time and money.

    Senator Conroy has wasted 3 years of public funding on this stupidity. How much longer are we going to let him waste or time and money and most importantly OUR REPUTATION in the worldwide IT community.

    If you live in Victoria.. Send a real message to the faceless ones.. Put Senator Steve LAST on the ballot.
  • Child Porn is just Child Abuse with a different name.
    We know how much Liberal or Labor care about that. -No decent funding for policing, or enough child protection workers. No real attempt to force the churches to cough up their pedophile priests and change their policies to prevent repetitions in the future. No investigation of Scientology or the Exclusive Brethren.

    But censor the internet? Sounds just like what we need!
    Put a wall around it so the citizens can't see what is happening.

    Except the purveyors of child abuse don't use normal URLs. There is almost no chance of "stumbling across" this stuff. Protect our kids? Since when is anyone under 18 going to search for this appalling material.

    Conroy has already said the (any) government can add whatever they want to the lists if they see a need. I can vote for a party other than liberal or labor if I see a need. I definitely see this need. Goodbye, Conroy.
  • "Clearly you can't walk into a cinema in Australia and see certain things, and we shouldn't on the internet be able to access those things either. So, Stephen Conroy is working to get this in the right shape."

    How can somebody justify regulating and controlling what a person views in their own home with the exception of Child pornography. The concept is unreasonable and will leave Australians with the information they view online controlled and censored by the government of the day; overtime the ideas and values that individuals hold will become manipulated by government.
  • The filter is stupid. The NBN is stupid. Conroy is THE WORST communications minister in the history of parliment. I have used the net just about every day since 1988 for work and current affairs, study, some entertainment (not really into games and if I want a movie, I buy or rent a DVD), and I have NEVER seen child pornography. Not once. Why not set up a police department that searches for child porno sites, and then opens a 40Gbps pipe and flattens the offending web page or torrent with an almighty DOS attack until the cops put a sledgehammer into the server?
  • Hi addinall.m...?

    1. Agreed - filter is stupid
    2. Disagree - for many reasons outlined at ZD, previously...
    3. Disagree - refer again to 1. which makes Conroy so disliked.. and 2. which is debatable, depending upon your own personal interests and political leanings (I have none, unlike others here)...

    But having instigated the NBN and tamed Telstra, although obviously nowhere near as comms savvy as either Turnbull or Lundy, Conroy is a vast improvement on Coonan, Alston and the previous would be, whats-his-name Smith, imo...!