Rudd says “no apologies” for internet filter


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this morning threw more wood on the fiery debate about the Government’s internet filtering plans, saying it wouldn’t apologise for pushing ahead with the initiative.

The politician took several strongly worded questions from a viewer of Channel 7’s Sunrise program, who asked why the Government was implementing a plan that he claimed would fail in its objective to protect the children, and whether Rudd could guarantee business would not suffer a loss in productivity from decreased internet speeds.

In response, Rudd pointed to the Refused Classification material the filter aims to block. “What does it involve? Acts of child abuse. Acts of sexual abuse against children, including material which also provides ‘how to’ kits in terms of conducting terrorist acts,” he said.

“I think this stuff is filthy, I can’t stand it. i think these are the right measures. You’re running a business, we’re pro-internet, but we don’t make apologies for this.”

The news came as efforts have stepped up within Rudd’s own party to push an amendment to the legislation to implement an “opt-out” option for Australians who don’t want their internet to be filtered. Labor Senator Kate Lundy is hoping to gain the support of other Labor MPs and Senators in the days before the legislation is tabled in Federal Parliament.

However, some have criticised even Lundy’s moderated proposal.

Australia’s Pirate Party last night said the opt-out idea was “censorship lite” and a hollow response to community concerns that the filtering project could lead to legitimate online information being blocked off from Australians.

On Sunrise, Rudd also responded to growing concerns about offensive material being posted on social networking site Facebook related to several traumatic events in Queensland, such as the death of schoolgirl Trinity Bates.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has written to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to express concern about the issue. News Ltd commentary site The Punch today reported the company was planning to respond, but would not consider a policy change to addess online material.

Rudd said he would investigate an idea being promoted by Sunrise and independent senator Nick Xenophon to setup an online ombudsman to deal with such complaints. He said it was obvious which material went too far, and rejected any criticism that it was draconian to address offensive online material.

“This is where we get into this really stupid debate, with what I describe as extreme civil libertarianism, which says any such move in that direction means soviet communism, a’la 1980,” he said. “Look, it’s not like that. People out there, mums and dads, they know where the balance lies.”

Image credit: Office of the Prime Minister


  1. What a waste of time and effort, not to mention liberty. Not many people would argue _for_ the material Rudd talks about, but the Facebook issue illustrates perfectly why this policy is so flawed. What are they going to do – stick Facebook behind the Great Firewall of Australia too if it doesn’t behave itself?!

    • The whole issue around offensive material on Facebook just seems rather strange to me … I mean it’s Facebook. It’s the internet. You can’t expect to post something on Facebook and not have several points of view represented on it — that’s the way real life works and that’s how the internet works as well.

      If you want to set up a group on Facebook and control it, moderate it, you can. But the idea that you can complain to the Government about another Facebook just seems kinda pointless.

      • Vandalising Facebook “memorials” is akin to people vandalising physical memorials. The only difference is that the number of people passing the online memorial is orders of magnitude more than that of the physical one, and therefore the chance of vandalism is also a lot higher.

        Of course, the Seven Network are campaigning against Facebook as though this is some new horror that has appeared out of nowhere. But if I got $250 million, I’d probably campaign for anything the Government wants as well.

        The only reason this question was allowed to air was so Kochie could plug Sunrise’s stupid petition. That’s what most of the segment was spent on.

        • Australia is well and truly dead to me.
          With this kind of crap the politicians are pulling I don’t think I would utter the words “Proud to be an Australian” again.

          Thank you Krudd wasting MORE of our tax money on CRAP that wont work!.

          • I dunno — I am still proud to be Australian. There are many positive things going on. But I do think Rudd + Conroy have a lot to answer for with the filter.

        • Hi Bob,

          I would disagree that vandalising Facebook pages is akin to vandalising physical memorials. The one takes a few seconds and can be done anonymously … the other requires a serious effort in stealth, some physical labour and guts. There’s clearly a much higher barrier to entry to vandalising a physical memorial.

          Do I agree with posting offensive material on any sort of memorial? No, of course not. Nobody should do that kind of thing, it’s offensive. However, if you’re going to have an internet memorial, it should be moderated like any other forum, as every internet forum is going to receive offensive content at some point, and people should be prepared for it if they use that medium.

          Setting up an “online ombudsman” is overkill and will ultimately be ineffective due to the speed and volume of content being posted online.

          • The money should be spent on resources to tackle kiddie porn etc, and not wasted on flawed draconian filter technology. And you’re right Renai, the downside is huge. No one who understand filtering technology, including most high school kids getting access to Facebook at school, can agree that the filter works.

            And don’t get me started on the blacklist being invisible to the general public….

        • when is kevin rudd going to learn, the way he talks is not suitable for a PM. i look forward to voting him out, even if labour doesnt get voted out, im hoping that a big enough dent will be made in his poling that he will rethink his views.

          You can convince people for only so long that something is not going to cause them problems, if the filter is implemented a royal S***storm will be unleashed as the general public realises theyve been tricked into anal rape.

          • To this day I still don’t believe the filter legislation will get through parliament and get implemented Tezz — it just takes Australia so far back to the bad old days. I still think sense will prevail.

  2. “People out there, mums and dads, they know where the balance lies.”

    They sure do. They’re just not allowed to exercise it.

    • You know, ’cause the government’s going to take the choice out of everyone’s hands. Sorry if the previous msg was a bit obtuse…

  3. March 6th 2010 National Day of Action against Mandatory National Internet Filter Update:

    Stop the Filter Perth – No Internet Filter! Rally – Forrest Place 12 Noon
    Stop the Filter Melbourne Rally – State Library 12 Noon
    Block the Filter Adelaide – Cyber Safety Picnic – Victoria Sq (sth side) 12 Noon
    Block the Filter Sydney Cyber Safety Picnic – Parramatta Park 12 Noon
    Block the Filter Perth – Cyber Safety Picnic – Stirling Gardens 3pm

    Stay tuned for Brisbane details…coming soon

  4. Kevin Rudd Lies Blatantly to Australians on National television.

    RC content or Refused Classification material is material that has been submitted by the:
    Film-Makers/Authors/Publishers/Film distributors/Video-game distributors etc , To The Australian Classification Board,
    and has subsequently been Refused Classification.

    Child Pornographers and Paedophiles do not submit their material to the Classification board.

    Child Porn -Child Sexual Abuse/Molestation images/video- Cannot be classed as Refused Classification material because it never was submitted to the Classification Board by it’s original Producers / Makers in the first place.

    Child Porn is Illegal and Criminal material, RC material is Not.

    The Lies and Half-Truths being told initially by Conroy and now Repeated Verbatim by Rudd to try to Blur the Lines between Legal and Illegal material in order to sell the Internet Filter are Appalling, and a disgrace to Australian Democracy .

    • That is possibly the most sound and sane reasoning I have ever read.
      I am glad someone else actually notices this.

  5. The Prime Minister and Minister Conroy have repeatedly said that the filter will not block political material.

    Voluntary euthanasia was one of the hottest politicial issues of the ’90s. It even invoked serious constitutional debate after the Commonwealth overrode Northern Territory law. So we can assume from the PM’s assurances that one side of such an important political and constitutional issue won’t be blocked.


    Dr Phillip Nitschke was and is a leading figure in the voluntary euthanasia debate. His Exit International website, which is hosted quite legally in the USA, is on the blacklist, and Australians will be denied access under Labor’s ‘non-political’ filter. They will also be denied access to several Wikipedia pages describing euthanasia.

    “Australians all, let us rejoice, for we are young and free” is about to become a sick joke, and it has taken a Labor government to do it.

    • This is not surprising. Much as 9/11 enabled the failed Patriot Act to be rushed through, our conservative government are using the reality of child abuse to push through a very politically charged filter, that will look to the ACL for inspiration on what to block. They are lying to us, and smiling while they’re doing it. Conroy even had the temerity to say that Google should place blocks on YouTube like they did for China. Comparing us without a hint of irony to China? WTF?

      • Personally I can’t understand it — I feel Rudd and Conroy are very out of step with the general population’s feeling on this one. I can understand that from Conroy — but Rudd is usually more in touch.

    • Agreed, this is definitely a problem, Richard. To block the website of Phillip Nitschke under the filter would illustrate that a degree of political censorship.

Comments are closed.