Censoring And Spying In Australia

There’s been a landslide of depressing things happening here in Australia with regards to censorship and privacy issues.

Depressing News Story 1: Australian police can now tap phones and monitor emails for 45 days if they suspect a person is “believed to be connected with child pornography.” I don’t think there’s a lot of checks and balances on this legislation so basically they can say that anyone is involved without a lot of proof.

Depressing News Story 2: The Melbourne Underground Film Festival has been banned from screening Tony Comstock’s film Ashley and Kisha because it has not been classified. Full story at Tony’s blog here.


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Depressing News Story 3: After the Eros Association so helpfully mentioned it, the government moved to ban NT aborigines from accessing legal R-rated adult movie channels on Pay TV.

Thankfully there’s been a bit of an outcry about this ridiculous idea, which gives me some hope. For a start Austar, which is the local pay TV channel, says it would have to block the adult channel throughout the entire Northern Territory. And the Council for Civil Liberties has spoken out:

“Civil liberties are to be applied equally, not selectively,” he said.

“The fact is that there is no evidence that anyone can produce that allowing adults to access pornography, particularly in the medium of television, has a causal connection to child sexual abuse.

“Professor Paul Wilson of the criminology section of Bond University has written about this extensively over the years and is probably Australia’s leading authority on the proposition that there is no evidence to say adults watching adult pornography leads to adults committing child paedophilia acts,” he said.

From this article:Banning R-rated TV ‘discriminatory’

Australia Post has also refused to be the government’s censor of mail. Story here.

An NT Labor politician has also spoken out: Fed gov’t ‘shows contempt for aborigines’

Meanwhile a spokeswoman from an anti-child abuse group says that a lack of sex education is a major problem in aboriginal communities. Reading this article it becomes apparent that porn isn’t the problem per se, it’s ignorance.

This is a fairly depressing topic for what should normally be a fun blog. But I just felt the need to write about it. It’s getting me down. It all makes me feel helpless because I can’t do anything about it. I don’t have the courage to stand up and speak out because, well… when you stick your head up you tend to get shot. How long would it be until ASIO or the federal police decided that I’m somehow “connected” with CP and I find my phone tapped? Perhaps that’s paranoia but perhaps the time has come to be paranoid.