Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has reiterated the Government’s support for its mandatory internet filter policy after the change in Prime Minister and has slammed proposed amendments by Senator Kate Lundy that would allow Australians to opt in or out of the technology.
“We have got an election commitment to deliver,” Conroy told journalists in a doorstop interview in Sydney this afternoon (see video). “Just because [Greens Senator] Scott Ludlam says it’s been shelved, doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Conroy reiterated the election commitment statement when asked whether he had spoken to new Prime Minister Julia Gillard about Lundy’s proposed amendments to the filter legislation. Asked about his personal views of the amendments, Conroy had a stronger statement.
“I’m not into opting in to child porn,” he said.
The Minister said consultation around the filter project had taken a little bit longer than the Government had hoped, but it would still be introducing the filter legislation in the second half of 2010.
Asked whether the timing of the Federal election could affect the passage of the legislation, Conroy said it would be up to Gillard to determine the timing of the vote.
Conroy was also asked whether he had participated in any negotiations regarding the controversial data retention regime being considered by the Attorney-General’s Department, which could see ISPs required to store records pertaining to Australians’ email, telephone calls and web browsing habits.
“No, it’s actually Rob McClelland’s portfolio,” he said, referring to the Federal Attorney-General.
Another topic of interest from the press was the status of the Government’s telecommunications reform legislation, which deals with the break-up of Telstra and other matters such as the introduction of stronger consumer safeguards into the telco sector.
Conroy said he was working with Senator Steve Fielding to win his support for the bill, with the Family First parliamentarian to receive briefings from Telstra and NBN Co. Conroy said he hoped that Fielding would support the bill now that Telstra and NBN Co had come to an agreement about the terms under which Telstra would transfer its customers into the NBN and shut down its copper network.
“I spoke to him a couple of times last week. He wants to look at the overall package now, with the amendments, and make a decision,” said Conroy. “We’re providing all the information that we can.”
The lady in green to the right of Conroy in the video is his press secretary, Suzie Brady.