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Australia Internet Filtering Likely Won’t Be Introduced Now

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:
Apr/29/2010

The prospect of Internet filtering in Australia is highly unlikely in either the May or June sittings of Federal Parliament.  Online gambling websites were among those that appeared on a leaked list of "banned sites". 

From IT Wire:

The news that the bill would not be tabled before the next election was first noticed in the Australian newspaper this morning, penned by one of the paper's specialist legal writers, suggesting that lawyers involved in drafting the legislation may have let something slip about the lack of progress.

The polarising legislation, supported by a variety of religious and child-support groups and just as strongly opposed by a broad coalition of technical and civil liberty groups has never been made available for formal review.

The view that the filter legislation would not be introduced in the current parliamentary term was first expressed by Green's Sen. Scott Ludlam in late February.

Media Man founder and director, Greg Tingle added 'This news of the delay in implementing the proposed filter is good news and Media Man and its considerable supporter base sees it as yet another victory in the debate. As our national and international readership is well aware for roughly two years we have been pointing our why the filter, a former of online censorship, is unworkable and not the way to go. We have been in touch with everyone from Google, Virgin Unite, United Nations, Electronic Frontiers Foundation, Get Up!, Marvel Entertainment, Betfair, PartyGaming, News Corporation, Fairfax Media... even MP Tony Abbott's office.  Virtually no one wanted the filter in the first place.  

"It was mainly a small but vocal group of bible bashers and the god squad who were trying to get Prime Minster Rudd, via Senator Stephen Conroy (in most cases), get the filter up and running. For the record, I also believe in god and are spiritual, but who the hell says god says Australia wants the filter.  

"We don't want it. Numerous public surveys were conducted by Fairfax (The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age) and News Limited (The Daily Telegraph, The Australian and The Courier-Mail etc) and the results of the public being asked if they wanted the filter were usually about 90% No and 10% Yes, and that's being conservative. "Some of these survey results are still in the public domain so don't just take our word for it. Mainstream Australian news media - journalists and editors, as well as new media journalists and entrepreneurs were also extremely concerned about the further ‘dumbing down' and censoring of news. 

"Australian newspapers and TV are also censored (in some cases appropriately), but what the government was proposing for the internet was absolutely ridiculous.  Not only that, it was set to cost 1000s of jobs, something Media Man has documented and relayed to Andrew Forrest - James Packer employment project - GenerationOne.

"Now with the filter on the backburner, hopefully for good, Media Man, and other media and technology firms can once again start seriously looking at employing suitable indigenous Australians via GenerationOne, without being so concerned about a drop in revenue and upsetting of overseas partners and suppliers, who were due to suffer considerable looses if the filter was to go ahead. Last week when we documented our concerns about censorship and human rights to Virgin Unite, The United Nation, Reporters Without Borders and MP Tony Abbott's office, and by the following day Kevin Rudd's office had all sorts of spin on Australian human rights appearing in the newspapers, both hardcopy and online.

"I personally spoke to over a dozen people about human rights and censorship and all of them expressed deep concern to me.  Given the huge rejection of the filter, backed up by successful campaigning to human rights and media rights groups, I am not surprised the Australian government finally has taken a big backdown on this issue. The word on the street was that it was going to cost them the election, and of course the Australian government has already been deeply embarrassed by the United States government going public with its concerns about the proposed Australian internet filter aka "Great Australian Firewall".  Maybe now Australia will get of the "Enemies Of The Internet' list. "Finally, I would like to thank the readership and also Gambling911 management who helped further raise awareness of these issues on a global scale.  We are pleased with this victory of sorts, but at the same time, we know we must remain vigilant to keep it a permanent victory."

Alistair Prescott, Gambling911.com Reporting

 

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