The office of new Prime Minister Julia Gillard has declined to answer questions about the Labor leader’s personal views on her party’s mandatory internet filtering policy, directing enquiries to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
“Please contact the office of Minister Conroy, who will respond on behalf of the Government,” said a member of Gillard’s media team when contacted about the matter this morning.
Speculation abounds in Australia’s technology industry about what Gillard’s personal views on the filter might be – as she has not commented on the policy since taking power in a leadership spill several weeks ago. Her predecessor Kevin Rudd had publicly defended the policy several times, on one occasion noting he would not apologise for the policy.
Labor Senator Kate Lundy has previously said she believes the change in leadership could present an opportunity for the policy to change, and is lobbying the Labor caucus to insert opt-in or opt-out provisions into the filter legislation.
Delimiter submitted the following questions to Gillard’s office:
- What is Prime Minister Gillard’s personal view on the need for a mandatory internet filtering scheme?
- Does the change in Prime Minister create an opportunity for this policy to be revisited?
- Is the Prime Minister aware of the significant dissent within the community for this policy, and the technical problems in implementing it?
- Labor Senator Kate Lundy — who has an enduring interest in technology policy — is campaigning for ‘opt-out’ and/or ‘opt-in’ provisions to be inserted into the internet filter policy. Would the PM consider discussing such provisions?
- Does the PM’s office have any other comments to make about the internet filtering policy?
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy did not respond directly when asked last week whether he had spoken to Gillard about Lundy’s amendments.
“We have got an election commitment to deliver,” he said. When asked about his personal views of the proposed amentments, Conroy said: “I’m not into opting in to child porn.”
Image credit: Adam Carr, Creative Commons