Surprise! Another Internet Filter Plan!

censorship_wantedAustralia goes to the polls on Saturday. Despite my best efforts to ignore politics because it’s so depressing, I’ve been sucked in in the last couple of days. We’re headed for a conservative victory and the Liberal-National Coalition may well be the worst collection of right wing, slimy, lying bastards we’ve seen since the last lot. Our current government sucks but these guys are far worse.

And they proved it today. They carefully didn’t release costings for any of their policies until 41 hours before the election. Less than 2 days. And hidden amongst the various slashing and burning of services was a $10 million mandatory internet filtering policy. Just like the one proposed in the UK. Just like the one the Australian government gave up on last year. Just like the one the Coalition themselves previously condemned as an imposition on freedom of speech.

Surprise! The filter is back and this time it’s mandatory opt-in.


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Znet first reported on it here and Twitter subsequently was filled with a lot of exasperated groans. Didn’t we just do this? Didn’t we all agree that it would never work?

And then things have gone pear shaped with Joe Hockey saying he knows nothing about it and Malcolm Turnbull tweeted a link to a sudden press release disavowing mandatory filtering. In 2012 Turnbull went on record about Labor’s filter saying “This was always a bad idea. It was bad for freedom, it was bad for freedom of speech.”

Josh Taylor, who broke the news tweeted: “Liberals now directly contradicting what Paul Fletcher told me. Lucky I have the audio.” And here’s what Malcolm originally said on Triple J.

The SMH reports: Coalition announces filter… and immediately backs down. It’s story suggests the policy was OKed by Tony Abbott but he’s since said it was “badly worded” and they only support providing filters to those who want them.

Here’s the original policy, now on Scribd because they’ve taken it off their site.

I now have no idea what’s going on but I don’t trust the Coalition in the slightest (hiding policies until 2 days before the election gives you an idea of the sort of people they are) so let’s just assume that even if they deny it, they’ll still do it.

Here are all my previous posts about Australia’s proposed net filter (plus new ones about the UK one).

Suffice to say, I am SO over this shit and I don’t want to have to fight it again. But perhaps that’s just how it has to be. The price of online freedom is going to be eternal vigilance because every government in the world wants to censor the internet in some way. I guess I’d better get used to it.

Pic from Electronic Frontiers Australia