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.
Greens MP Lee Rhiannon (Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au)
"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."