Conroy re-commits to filter, slams Lundy amendments


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.


  1. Conroy is just afraid because he knows the second he makes a single concession on his filtering scheme that the people will realise that is simply an expensive, glorified net nanny suite that will be defeated in the same ways as a client-side filter.

    Gillard will not get my vote for keeping him. My turn to make a dick move.

    • Concessions like blocking “only” Refused Classification material instead of the full gamut of Prohibited Content?

  2. Labor will look back and he will be the main reason Labor loses the 2010 election. After nearly a year of public consultation he has not once given the people of australia a reason why the filter is mandatory and not opt-in. he is the ultimate political stooge…no-one ever actually voted him into the position…….bye bye Mr Conroy…..bye bye Labor.

  3. Aww how sweet Mr conroy still buying into thinking that the filter will stop child porn being distributed through the internet.

    What a naive little maggot Conroy is…

  4. “I’m not into opting in to child porn,” he said. That says it all! Senator Conroy knows, or is totally incompetent if he does not know, that Refused Classification only contains a small proportion of child porn, even using the very wide Australian definition – if there is child porn on the list his department should have notified the relevant police authority and had it removed and the poster arrested. (If international authorities do not regard it as child porn, then perhaps Australia should take another look at its definition.)

    The fact that he is still using this turn of phrase clearly shows that either he is incompetent or is deliberately misleading the public. And I don’t think he is that incompetent.

    This is quite apart from the simple fact that the filter will not work. If it did work, there would be no need for it to be secret!

  5. “We have got an election commitment to deliver,”


    The Election promise was for a OPTIONAL filtering system, not MANDATORY!


  6. The suggestion that opting out of an ISP filter makes you an advocate of child porn is offensive, insulting and highly inaccurate.

    Don’t think for a second though that the majority of the public even known or care about this filter. The legislation will probability be introduced very easily. There are much more important issues that will go to the polls like climate change, asylum seekers, the mining industry super tax and so on.

    Only technically illiterate people that follow the IT industry actually understand what a devastating effect this will have on the net. Everyone else just hears “block child porn” and assumes the filter must be a good thing.

  7. I’ve got a new headline for you Senator Conroy….

    “Voter re-commits to not voting Labor for first time in 20 years”

  8. Bigger picture though, what political commitments do we have against this?

    Nationals Party has passed a motion against this, Greens confirmed they will vote against this, Xenophon will vote against it. Joe Hockey has given hints on Q&A that Libs will oppose it, I hope they will. Either way, seems to be a lot of support for blocking this lunatic’s legislation.

    Election Commitment is a joke, one would assume that when they said they’d require ISPs to offer a cleanfeed, one could refuse that offer. In the same way we don’t ‘offer’ prison sentences. He has a mandate for an optional filter and nothing more.

  9. I guess it was too much to ask that a change in PM would allow them to get rid of this useless policy. As much as I dislike Tony Abbott, and believe he would pobably welcome this filter, I am left with a choice between voting Labor and definalty getting this on the agenda or voting Coalition and MAYBE getting it on the agenda. Seems like an easy choise really.

  10. “I’m not into opting in to child porn,” he said.

    Unbelievable. This guy just does not listen. Same old argument from him: If you’re anti-filter, you’re pro-child porn. His comment is not just an insult to those who oppose the filter, but to every other country where the Internet is not filtered. They don’t have filtering in the US – they must all be a bunch of pedophiles.

    I’m not into opting in to FASCISM!

  11. Friends, Australians, countrymen, lend me your ears…(bear with me on this one)

    We need to stop being so negative about this. Turn the frown upside down!

    Just consider that, even if the entire geek population (and I am certainly one) votes against Labor at the election, they are fairly likely to retain power (Tony Abbot as PM, seriously?). And even if every Victorian votes “below the line” in the Senate, and Conroy is disenfranchised, the policy will still be there, and Julia Gillard will proclaim from on high that “WE HAVE A MANDATE!” So, let’s just accept the inevitable – we are going to have a filter.

    Think about it this way instead. The ALP, with Conroy as their spokesperson, is giving us a massive challenge. The challenge for all geeks is not how to defeat the proposed filter – we know that is but a trivial challenge – but to find out in *how many ways*. To paraphrase the Bard: “How can I subvert thee? Let me count the ways.:

    Blog about it. Twitter about your blog posts. Send emails to your friends. All demonstrating your powers of uber-geek and how you are going to get around the filter.

    Remember to publicise what, but more importantly why you are doing this. And you must remain positive. We can term it “A Challenge to Conroy” or something catchy like that, but stay on message that you are accepting this as a challenge.

    Geeks of Australia, go forth and find ways to subvert^H^H^H^H^H^H^H accept my challenge to you all!


  12. Does the internet filter include Conroy’s intertubes as well ? How can I be sure that he’s not surfing kiddy porn ?

    I also propose that the government force the Australia Post and private delivery couriers to keep a 10yr record of all mails delivered. Internet is not the only delivery medium is it ?

    How about Fax and other forms of transmission, they should be monitored as well.

    Maybe we should also make available everyone’s medical records to the government at will, that should give the government more information to preemptively deport or arrest possible offenders based on profiling ?

  13. “Labor will look back and he will be the main reason Labor loses the 2010 election”

    Yes. I agree completely.

    There’s absolutely no way I will ever vote for a party that supports the proposed filter. I’m not keeping that to myself though, I’m telling as many (non-geek) people what the repercussions of the filter are. I’m making sure I turn as many voters as possible.

    This policy is going to be very important, come election time.

    A message for PM Julia Gillard: I would have voted or preferenced Labor if you replaced Conroy with Lundy. Conroy staying, means no vote from me.

    A message for Conroy: Your motivation for the filter is clear. Your inability to accept industry opinion is clear. Your inability to accept the failings of the filter are clear. If anything, the way you’ve approached this policy demonstrates why we can never let government dictate what we see and what we don’t see.

    Labor, this will be your demise.

  14. Marc said:
    “This policy is going to be very important, come election time.”

    No seriously, to most of the population of Australia it won’t be. Most people don’t vote on single issue policies and they don’t understand the implications of the filter, so with the exception of geeks, it won’t be enough to change their vote. It won’t rate above health, education, asylum seekers, climate change and a number of other far more important policies.

    • Exactly. It’s amazing how many tech geeks don’t get what a tiny trivial issue this is to most Australians. They are worried about far more important things like climate change and immigration.

      I’m not downplaying the importance of fighting this absurd policy. It means the world to me, however most people I know that are not into technology might have heard of it once or twice and that’s it. To them they hear “block kiddy porn” and assume it must be a good thing :(

  15. His expressions are interesting.

    0:08: Excessive blinking and shaking of head when talking about election commitments to deliver – rapid blinking is a sign of deception coupled with shaking his head. He doesn’t believe the words he is saying. You may notice in other parts of the interview he is shaking his head in certain statements but there is rapid blinking.

    0.51: Compressed lips when he answers about when Gillard is going to decide on the election date – suppressed anger. He isn’t happy with the situation with Gillard.

    1:26 The micro-expression of distaste (hard to spot) when totally supporting Julia in keeping the momentum in the reforms, followed by more compressed lips at 1:31

    2:24 The micro-smirk when asked whether Senator Fielding is waiting on a definitive deal with Telstra, my guess is Conroy already thinks he’s already in the pocket. Hard to pick though.

    3:27 This one is interesting to pick, slight look of distaste

  16. His argument is such a sensationalist one that preys on the emotions of parents: – “I’m not into opting into child porn”

    Child porn is already illegal, and those who want it will bypass the useless filter anyway, so once again it is a legislation that will harm those of us who are already doing the right thing, and do nothing to stop those who do the wrong thing.

    Open your ears and eyes Conroy. Google “Onion Routing Tor”

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