blog Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today said he had "no advice" to suggest that the Federal Government's plans to implement a mandatory internet filter would be delayed until after the federal election, despite a report saying it would.
At a press conference announcing the Federal Government's "anti-smoking action" this morning, ZDNet Australia asked the Prime Minister about a report that appeared in The Australian today saying that the introduction of the legislation required for the filter would likely be delayed until after the federal election.
The Prime Minister said he had "no advice to that effect". He later said when questioned if the legislation would be introduced this year: "Look, can I ask that you put that to the relevant minister. I don't have any other advice to what I put to you earlier."
ZDNet Australia had already this morning questioned the office of the relevant minister, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, about the reported delay.
"The government is committed to the cyber-safety policy, which includes [internet service provider (ISP)] level filtering of refused classification content," Conroy's office replied in a statement.
"A public consultation on improved transparency measures has been held and the department is now working with other government agencies to consider the submissions and examine whether the ideas can be used to enhance the proposed accountability and transparency measures. The department is also continuing to consult ISPs on the implementation of ISP-level filtering.
"Once these processes are complete the legislation will be introduced into Parliament."
When the minister's office was asked again whether the report in The Australian, which said the legislation would not be introduced in the May or June sittings, was correct, the office said that the legislation would be introduced once the processes mentioned in the original statement were complete. Since then the office has said it is unlikely to be heard in the May sitting.
So what's the deal? Has the filter been ditched because it's a political lemon? And why won't the government talk?