Greens will vote against filter Bill

Greens will vote against filter Bill

Summary: Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said on Saturday at the National Day of Action against the government's internet filter that all five Greens senators will vote against the internet filtering Bill.

TOPICS: Censorship

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said on Saturday at the National Day of Action against the government's internet filter that all five Greens senators will vote against the internet filtering Bill.

Lee Rhiannon

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon
(Credit: Suzanne Tindal/

"We absolutely need to defeat this incredibly irresponsible piece of legislation that is now before the federal parliament," she said to attendees in Parramatta Park in Sydney. "My colleagues in the federal parliament — we have five Greens senators — will vote against it. What we need to ensure is that some sanity starts to prevail and that we win the numbers."

The filter curtailed freedom of speech, she said. There were also better ways to protect children against pornography, such as education, which she said had been pointed out by a 2008 report written by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

"That's a report to the government. They've been told that. We know they've been told [that] by a lot of their MPs who actually understand how the internet works. They've been told about this by official government bodies, but they're pushing on with their censorship."

"So I do urge all of you when you leave here today to take away a commitment to sign the petitions, to write your letters, to write your emails, ring up the politicians," she said.

Public pressure really did make a difference, she said — especially since, according to her information, Labor and Liberal MPs were speaking up against the policy.

While public pressure will make a difference, a lot of people failed to show up to the protest. Of the 700 indicated on Facebook, fewer than 100 people at any one time actually showed up at Saturday morning's protest in Parramatta Park in Sydney's west.

"There are a number of MPs who do not support this legislation and are saying to their leaders, to Mr Abbot and Mr Rudd: 'This is madness. It will not work. It will make us look like a fool internationally, let alone amongst Australians once they catch on.'"

Debate had begun, she said. Now, the community needed to give it legs by voicing disapproval.

She also said that those campaigning against the filter needed to change their slogans.

"We've been using terms like no filter, no clean feed," she said. "Can I tell you — people don't understand it. They really don't."

The more complicated the arguments, the less likely the public and the media would take notice, she said.

"As you know, politics gets down to a five-second grab."

Filter was a positive word as it takes out bad things, according to Rhiannon. So was clean feed, she said. She had started to use censorship instead.

"I think we've got to come up with language that makes it easier for the person walking down Church Street on Parramatta, who uses the internet, but have not heard about this, [so they] can relate to what we're talking about and will be worried about what they're doing."

Topic: Censorship

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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  • 0.o

    How come these hippy's get their own political party yet the interweb does not?

    Damn these old people in government and their old people views of technology!
  • Speech on youtube

    You can see Lee Rhiannon's speech on youtube as well its just over 10 mins long.
  • A party for the Interwebs....sounds good. for government then, I'll vote for you!

    In the meantime looks like I'll be voting Green at the next federal election.....since Labour have lost the plot (ahem! that's you Conroy).
  • One slight problem

    If they use the same preferential voting as they did last election (not %100 on how it all works), Greens preferential votes end up going to labour.
  • True, but...

    A big swing away from Labor to the Greens would at least send a message to the government that even if they're elected via preferences, the people aren't particularly happy about their policies...

    You can't exactly vote for the Libs/Nats if this issue is your sticking point, since the Mad Monk is all for censorship as well (publically, of course, he's against everything that Labor is FOR, but when you get down to it, you just know he'd vote for this as well).

    Personally, I'll be looking into the independants in my area. Unfortunately, I don't think any of them are much crash hot, either...
  • Poor planning

    700 of those 700 people who indicated their interest on facebook did so when it was looking like a coherent protest against an issue we strongly opposed. With no solid details leading up to the date, then the change from a 'protest in sydney' to a 'picnic in paramatta', we lost interest.
  • There is...
  • Preferences

    YOU can control where your preferences go. In the House of (non)Representatives they are allocated according to the numbers you put next to the candidates. In the Senate you can vote below the line (number each candidate) to allocate your preferences. If you put a 1 above the line then the parties themselves redirect your votes!!!
    So don't be lazy, vote below the line in the senate!
  • Sadly

    Most people only claim to care about an issue in as much as they are quite happy to whinge about it on the internet. When it comes to even doing something as simple as taking a few minutes to vote below the line in the Senate, they just couldn't be bothered.

    It really is utterly pathetic.
  • Reject?

    Someone should tell Scott Ludlam. He only plans to put up amendments.
  • @Reject?

    Scott? Where are you?

    The policy position we've heard from you so far is that the Greens might move some amendments.

    No doubt Lee Rhiannon was sincere in what she said, but as a state politician she has no say in what happens in the Reps and Senate in Canberra.
  • Thankyou Lee Rhiannon

    A big vote of thanks to the Greens and in particular to Lee Rhiannon for standing up for common sense!! Please keep the pressure on, it seems like we Conroy is another Peter Garret, unfortunately it's not all their fault, its also the professional beaurocrats.
  • Why?

    With both major parties apparently wanting to censor the internet you have to wonder who is behind this Orwellian pro-censorship nightmare.

    I thought it was Liberal & Labor being dominated by mainstream churches.
    But with both parties not having the guts to investigate serious allegations against the cults like Scientology (scandalously having tax-free status as a "church") I am beginning to wonder if the real drivers of pro-censorship are these brainwashing cults of Scientology, the Exclusive Brethren etc. who don't want anyone to know what they are up to.
  • I'm glad someone is finally standing up for our rights.

    The idea that this censorship will somehow protect children is just misleading. It wont do anything to stop predators (that's already been admitted), and stopping 2000 sites (a limit that Conroy has mentioned himself) will do almost nothing against the millions of sites that people want children protected from.

    The filter in its present form is far too open for abuse, as well as being too far reaching even in it's current form. The amount of money and time being spent on this project would be far more productive on other measures, such as education, free comprehensive optional filters available to parents, and more police enforcement against predators.

    Well done Greens. This one policy in my mind is too important to ignore. You just got my vote.