Filter gets a new date: Mid-2013


Legislation supporting Labor’s mandatory internet filtering project may not hit parliament until mid-2013, according to advice provided to Stephen Conroy by his department — a timeframe which may make it an issue in the next election.

The timing was outlined in briefing documents (PDF) provided by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) to Communications Minister Conroy, outlining the current state of affairs and the action he needs to take on significant matters, following the Federal Election. The contents of the documents was first reported by iTNews.

In the documents, DBCDE noted that the Government had postponed the legislation while a review of the Refused Classification category of content (which the filter is intended to block) was carried out by the Minister for Home Affairs for the consideration of federal and state Attorneys-General.

The attorneys-general are slated to meet this month to confirm the review — and then, DBCDE noted, they would be likely to consider the scope of methodology of the review in March 2011, with recommendations to then be presented back to the attorneys-general in early 2012.

“It may then take [the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General] a number of meetings before it reaches consensus on any recommendations from the review,” wrote the department. “This suggests legislation for mandatory filtering may not be able to be introduced into Parliament before the middle of 2013.”

In mid-October, a departmental official told a Senate Estimates Committee hearing in Canberra that DBCDE was not working directly on the filter project. “At this stage, the work is all elsewhere,” they said. However, in the briefing document, the department noted there were actually several initiatives currently ongoing regarding the filter.

For starters, the department noted it would work actively with the Internet Industry Association and the Australian Communications and Media Authority on a new industry code to support voluntary filtering of child abuse material — which ISPs like Telstra, Primus and Optus have already pledged to implement.

Although it’s unclear whether it’s actively working on the matter, DBCDE discussed the issue of how reviews could be carried out by an independent expert on the processes for compiling the voluntary list — including legislation required to provide that expert with immunity from criminal proceedings for doing their job checking the list — as well as being given standing to seek review of classification decisions.

In addition, the briefing documents noted DBCDE had been allocated $840,000 in funding over the next three years to develop a software tool to assist small and medium ISPs to meet their mandatory filtering obligations.

Money has also been allocated to the Attorney-General’s Department — $1.5 million in 2010/11, $1.8 million in 2011/12 and $1.4 million “ongoing” to undertake a review of ACMA’s decision’s to find an internet address to be refused classification. And $8 million has been allocated to encourage ISPs to offer customers filtering of additional material — such as general pornography and gambling sites if a customer wanted such a service.

Image credit: Ante Vekic, royalty free


  1. Duke Nukem forever is about to actually be released. It is under a different name, made by a different company, took like 20 years, cost an absolute fortune, ruined a heap of peoples lives, and will probably not be and good and definately not be as good as every one thinks it will be.

    So Dean you are probably right but that makes it worse not better.

  2. Fine Labor, have the filter.

    What I want to know is, who is going to be held accountable for the costs incurred once the filter is regarded as a failure?

    Consider you have been advised by many IT professionals/ corporations against the filter as well as predominant political figures overseas and locally.

    Who is going to be held responsible and accountable for all damages done to the reputation of the country by lumping us in the same groups as other communist regimes?

    If there is any nationwide outages or slowness who will be compensating business and individuals as a result of losses incurred as due to the filter?

    Are you willing to put your career on the line Mr Conroy, when the time comes that the filter is rolled back?

    Before even going ahead with the pointless filter that they are so adamant on we first need some people to hold personally accountable for the failures so heads can roll once this is running.

  3. Seeing as this policy hasn’t been dropped yet, my only conclusion is that Mr Conroy really really really wants to know where all this questionable content is located.

  4. Heh 2013! With the recent uproar cause by Firesheep and Google working on the SPDY Protocol I’d imagine a significant portion of the web will be secure by then. I’m already seeing the security roll out starting to happen. At this rate they will get to see their filter break before they have even rolled it out to us.

  5. Off topic:

    What brand of keyboard/system is in the picture ? I can;t remember the last time I bought a keyboard or even looked at them… but that one seems weird to me.

  6. I don’t know about DNF being a good analogy anymore, it’s poised to release with new developers soon.

    I do hope the internet filter is a still born one, or I may have to run some more classes :D

    The NBN isn’t filtered internet, it is however a government controlled networking infrastructure, seeing how the NBN is Australian based, it would not be a filter between Australia and the outside world, simply the path between the primary internet pipes coming into Australia and your home PC, what they put between those pipes and the NBN is what the filter concerns.

    I really can’t see how the filter benefits anyone, aside from making it far easier to collect private data of Australian citizens, it wont block anything, and it will be stillborn if it ever IS born :D

    • If the rumored pre-election deal between Labour and Family First to bring in the filter in order for preferences, then it benefits both of those parties. It then also makes sense as to why the pollies won’t listen to reason or the tech world when I comes to this brain dead idea.

      A fucking corrupt system is to blame for this filter.

    • I know DNF is on the “verge” of actually being released, but until it’s actually in my hands, I’ll still take those announcements with a grain of salt.

  7. Oh the old nail raises it’s head again. I thought it had gone away finally. Which bit of “The community doesn’t want it” does this Fwit Conroy not understand.

  8. Oh and which bit the defeat at the election did the Labor government not understand. It was us that voted Greens because we don’t like your ideas Conroy. We will do it again at the next election if this filter rears it’s head again. Put it to bed for good Conroy…….there’s a good boy.

  9. Make that 2014, at the very earliest. Yes, Conroy is still yapping on about it, but he’ll find Labor simply does not have the numbers to pass it in either house this term at least. All the independents are against it except Katter (one going as far as handing out leaflets against it at a polling booth) and the opposition is tipped to oppose it. Mr. Bandt is on the fence as far as I know, but the Greens party line is anti-mandatory net censorship, and if he fails to toe that line, he’s gonna be told to clean out his office when the next election comes around, if not immediately, just like what would happen dissenting members of other political party. And as long as the Liberals are indeed against it (which the most likely scenario) they would never pass it through the old senate, let alone the new one where the Greens have the balance of power and Fielding is history. For the next three years at least, Conroy is flogging a dead horse. It’s not worth worrying about.

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