Conroy: We’re not walking away from filter


Communications Minister Stephen Conroy last night remained stalwart in his support for Labor’s controversial mandatory internet filtering scheme in a heated debate on the ABC’s Q&A program with representatives of the public, the Coalition, the Australian Sex Party and more.

ABC viewer William Rollo from South Australia asked Conroy whether Labor’s support for the filter was pointless, given that it may not have the numbers to get associated legislation through parliament.

“The Coalition aren’t backing it … and the Greens aren’t too keen on it either. Under the new paradigm it’s realistically unlikely to get anywhere. Do you therefore think it’s fair for voters to see your insistence on this policy as a time and money waster?” he asked Conroy. The full Q&A program is available to watch online.

But the Communications Minister pointed out there was still a review of the Refused Classification category of content to be gone through before associated legislation made it to parliament.
“You don’t, simply because you’ve got a lot of criticism, say ‘well I’m going to run away from that policy’,” he said.

Independent Rob Oakeshott — whose vote is crucial to Labor getting any legislation at all through parliament over the next several years — said he was in favour of personal responsibility in terms of internet use, but he would wait to see the legislation.

Shadow Innovation Minister Sophie Mirabella told the audience that the Coalition wouldn’t support the policy because it wouldn’t work — particularly being unable to block peer to peer traffic.
However, Conroy rejoindered that the filter had never aimed to block peer to peer traffic.

“The filter is not an attempt to deal with peer to peer,” he said, adding that other mechanisms would tackle the distribution of Refused Classification material through that channel — such as additional policing resources and education.

Australian Sex Party president Fiona Patton warned filter critics not to take the Coalition’s opposition to the scheme for granted.

“[Shadow Treasurer] Joe Hockey may have said he won’t support the filter as it stands, but certainly Tony Abbott out at Rooty Hill, of course, said that he would do whatever he could to stop people looking at filth,” she said, claiming also that Labor’s line on the filter’s aims and what it would block was shifting again.

Ultimately, Conroy said all Australians would get their chance to have their say about the Refused Classification category of content through the upcoming review.

“The legislation will ultimately reflect the outcome of that review … for people to say it definitely won’t be passed — the legislation hasn’t been drafted, and that review hasn’t taken place yet,” he said.

Image credit: Office of Stephen Conroy


  1. Hmm….i’m starting to suspect we may see a change from the government about the filter when the legislation is finally drafted. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something that dealt solely with child pornography and abandon all that RC material stuff in favour of a restructuring of the classification board.

    OR, alternately, he could be pressing ahead – knowing it will fail – to appease the weighty supporters of the party that want it so that when it does fall over, he can say he tried. That way keeping their support without putting in something so fundamentally broken.

    Then again…I could be looking too much into it.

    • OR
      There is actually some community support and/or ambivalence towards Internet filtering?
      Personally I can’t agree with filtering the ‘net, but there are a number of surveys (real ones, not online polls from smh/ from a number of different groups (you can Google them) suggesting that in the wider community (not geeks who look at delimiter ;) the issue of filtering doesn’t register, and/or filtering is actually seen as a good idea!
      A straw poll I did of some of my family members (without me trying to influence them either way) who were over 50 showed me that some thought it was bad, some thought it was good, but most didn’t care, as long as they could still go to news/google/domain/facebook.
      Granted, none of these people are in the least bit “technical”, but that is fairly representative of the wider community Conroy is trying to get votes from I would have thought.
      No need to flame please, as I said, I don’t agree with filtering. Just sayin that maybe the broader non-technical community couldn’t give two hoots.

  2. Dear Senator Conroy

    We know you’re not backing away. Why do you think we elected so many Greens?

    You don’t have to back away. We’re going to kick you away instead.

    Love and kisses,

    The Electorate.

  3. Interesting that he said on Q&A last night that the legislation doesn’t exist…that it hasn’t been drafted…what’s been going on these last three years? How incompetent is this man in running a legislative agenda, that he can’t even draft a piece of legislation for a policy he claims he took to the 2007 election, in THREE years?

  4. I love the bit about the Australian people being able to have their say in the RC review. We had our say in the review of R18+ rating for computer games (over 90% in favour), and were completely ignored.

    This time, do we get some kind of written guarantee that they will respect the results of the RC review?

  5. so your not walking away from the filter, Stephen, well guess what, 90% of Australians are not going to walk away from fighting you on it.

    your complete disregard for the democratic system in place is a disgrace, you are not in power to push your small minded view on internet censorship…you are in power to do what the majority want.

    we (the Australian people) look forward to fighting you tooth and nail about this absolute waste of money and time and infringement on our personal lives.

    I know it is very hard for you to understand that not all of us believe in your imaginary deity in the sky that will send you to hell if you do not filter the internet. My imaginary deity in the sky has told me that if we filter the internet we will all go to a hell that has you as the devil.

    even if you get it through we already know how to make you system useless in seconds……i look forward to teaching my kids how to press a button to get around this chinese style censorship.

    oh, and by the way….you are a douche.

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