It hasn't been 24 hours since Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey let slip on JJJ's Hack program that the Coalition won't back the Labor Government's plan for mandatory ISP-level internet censorship. Whether they win or lose, they have stated categorically that they will vote against such a scheme.

Does this mean the battle of the last three years has ended in victory? Can we all pack up and move on? Yes and no - but there's cause for plenty of optimism.

It's clear that the mandatory internet censorship policy requires a new law to be introduced. That legislation, of course, has to be voted on in the House of Representatives, where the Government has the numbers, and in the Senate, where they don't. As things stand, to get a law up they need seven extra votes - which can either come from five Greens, Steven Fielding and Nick Xenophon - or the opposition.

With both The Greens and Opposition now saying they won't back the law, there's now no way for the Government to get the numbers to pass this law, and so it is effectively dead on arrival in the Senate (and that's assuming the Government doesn't change at the election). Your internet connection is safe for now.

It's not quite the end of the saga, however. As the saying goes, it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings, and that fat lady is our own Stephen Conroy. As long as the censorwall remains the stated policy of the Government, it could always find a way to come back to life. Some possible scenarios include:

  • The Greens don't achieve the balance of power and the ALP have control of the Senate.
  • The policy is renamed and changed just enough to wedge the opposition outside of an election campaign.
  • Support for the filter is used as a bargaining chip in negotiations over other legislation.

We're going to take this as a victory - thanks to the public education campaign carried out by many organisations and individuals including GetUp, Google/the Safer Internet Group, Mark Newton, the ISPs and Greens' Senator Scott Ludlam inside Parliament, many of you were inspired (or angry enough) to write letters to those same politicians who have finally seen the light.

Thanks for your support. We couldn't have gotten this far without the community supporting us and more importantly, making lots of noise yourselves. However, we at EFA won't let our guard down until this policy is, in the language of the campaign, "dead, buried and cremated".

And is it too much to ask for the Government to simply acknowledge they made a mistake? I suppose I'd better not get carried away.

21 comments

  1. Indeed, thanks to everyone's collective efforts for getting us this far. It seemed like a sure thing not long ago and being pushed full steam ahead.

    And cam, a vote for the Greens is NOT a vote for Conroy.

    a) The Greens preferenced Labor in the Senate below many other minor parties (but people should always vote BELOW the line regardless)
    b) Labor benefited from the preference deal from being preferenced high on the Greens' 'how to vote' card, which is merely a suggestion for voters.

    If anything, a vote for Labor in the Senate above the line contributes to the Greens' vote with any surplus votes.

    Comment by Ben on 8 August 2010 at 00:48
  2. A vote for greens is a vote for conroy.

    Comment by cam on 8 August 2010 at 10:05
  3. What happens if Labor wins, the Greens have the balance of power in the Senate, and there is a deal on the table where Labor plays off the filter against going forward with a Greens backed policy on Climate Change which met, or was beyond their expectations? Which policy would the Greens favour?

    Call me cynical, but I wouldn't put this past Labor :( It wouldn't be the first time a 'policy deal' was reached that left us, the Australian public, as the losers :(

    Comment by Mia on 8 August 2010 at 20:33
  4. Conroy has said that he is just putting it on hold - it will rise again.

    Comment by Peter on 8 August 2010 at 20:44
  5. At this point, I fear the filter is NOT dead.

    In the event of a Labor victory in two weeks time, it could be argued that "The People voted FOR a filter". Coalition Senators have been known to cross the floor before and vote with the Labor government. It would only take 7 or 8 of them to be brow-beaten by a lobby group and vote FOR the filter.

    Unfortunately, as I see it, the only safe outcome is a Coalition victory on Aug 21. I call upon Labor to cease its foolishness; kill the censorship policy NOW; win back the votes of those of us who are reluctantly working towards a Coalition victory.

    Comment by Mike Fitzsimon on 8 August 2010 at 21:45
  6. I will not vote for Labor or the Greens. Who says they won’t censor manmade warming skeptics too? Censorship is already so strong on Labor-dominated campuses that these people can’t be trusted. Sorry Joo-lia.

    Comment by Ben-Peter Terpstra on 8 August 2010 at 21:59
  7. To make sure the internet filter is truly dead, then we must take sure The Greens are elected as the balance of power in the Senate. We cannot allow one party to have full controle of the senate. BTW A vote for the Greens isn't a vote for Conroy.

    Conroy will be elected regardless of any party prefrence deals. A vote for the Greens is to make sure we have a Greens balance of power in the senate, and to keep the internet filter dead!

    Comment by andreq on 9 August 2010 at 00:32
  8. There are more Parties running than just the Coalition, Labor and Greens.

    And, before you say those are the only ones likely to be elected, remember Fielding and Xenophon, they aren't with those 3.

    Comment by Womp on 9 August 2010 at 01:12
  9. The fact of the matter is there will be no Internet filter brought in under Labor.

    It is believe it or not a uphill battle, especially when a hard right dominated Christian Lobby is involved.

    Who should censor the Internet from the eyes of the children that are privledged enough to actually have access? Parents.

    As for the Greens party and questionable preference deals, one must keep in mind that the Greens are quite reactionary, given past approaches to climate change and are more likely to support the coalition than a Labor run Government.

    Comment by willberforce on 9 August 2010 at 02:00
  10. Filter is not dead until the only party pushing it says so.

    Wheeling and dealing can occur right under our noses, so while one party wants it there is a chance of it returning

    So while the party forming government wants filtering then its a serious threat at any time.

    Comment by oncelabour on 9 August 2010 at 02:30
  11. A vote for the Greens is not a vote for Labor. This is because in most states the battle for the final Senate seat is between Labor and the Greens. The preferences of all the other parties determine if this final seat gets filled by a Green or the ALP, and then the counting of preferences stops. The Green senate preferences are never even looked at.

    Comment by Paul on 9 August 2010 at 07:09
  12. Moral of the story...

    Green vote= Protest vote, "the cool thing to do".

    Coalition Vote= Ultra right wing conservative vote (like voting for Bush).

    Labor vote= Proletariat choice.

    One only needs to look at the outcome of the U.K election to figure that one out.

    Comment by willberforce on 9 August 2010 at 14:29
  13. There is another fly in the ointment. Wendy Francis ...Family First Senate candidate in Qld, I believe has a good chance of taking the final seat in Qld off the Greens. I have been watching her campaign closely and it is building momentum. There are many Christians and conservatives unhappy with where the coalition is headed, who with the demise of One Nation, are now looking for a more conservative voice. I am a Christian and as such most of my moral beliefs line up with Family First BUT to risk our personal freedom in a vain attempt to "control" child pornography is not only naive but downright dangerous. Religious freedom in the future is threatened by this filter but Family First just can't see it.

    @wilberforce...coalition=Ultra right wing conservative vote (like voting for Bush).
    you've got to be kidding, serious conservatives are looking for a conservative voice in this country. LNP is not conservative enough for many. Coalition is trying to steal the middle ground. Sure Abbot is reasonably conservative but most others are not. You would have to be on the extreme fringe of the left wing to think that the LNP was ultra right wing. If they are then where does that leave the other parties like One Nation who are way more right wing then the LNP will ever be.

    Comment by Peter Webber on 9 August 2010 at 18:57
  14. "If they are then where does that leave the other parties like One Nation who are way more right wing then the LNP will ever be."-P.W

    1939-1945 in Germany fighting for the Nazi's.

    Jesus would be crying right now for you people, you should all hold your heads in shame. The way you folks take advantage of the Xenophobia in this country is a disgrace. I'll be happy when the leaders of Hillsong trade in the Mercs and start riding donkeys to work.

    Howard breed a nation of Hicks with his white Australia policy and you all know it, one only needs to look at the stage of Federal politics today and his proud apprentice.

    Comment by willberforce on 9 August 2010 at 20:08
  15. I hate the filter as much as anyone, but I would rather use TOR to bypass the filter on a fibre optic link than be able to get to these sites legally on ADSL. A vote for the coalition is a vote for slow internet. A vote for Labor is a vote for world class internet speeds and a slight and unlikely possibility they can sneak a filter through the senate.

    Comment by Mr Speaker on 11 August 2010 at 00:52
  16. "I hate the filter as much as anyone, but I would rather use TOR to bypass the filter on a fibre optic link than be able to get to these sites legally on ADSL. A vote for the coalition is a vote for slow internet. A vote for Labor is a vote for world class internet speeds and a slight and unlikely possibility they can sneak a filter through the senate."- Mr Speaker

    No falsehood here, but I do advise any right wing Christian person who believes that Government should solve all woes to read the words of Jesus, just don't take it too literally and remember we live in the first world, not the second or third.

    I'm still waiting for the donkeys to appear on the streets near the concert halls of what you call 'Church' and the leaders to go and hand out assistance to those poor locals who live on the block. Fear bites doesn't it?

    Comment by willberforce on 11 August 2010 at 01:37
  17. "I am a Christian and as such most of my moral beliefs line up with Family First" - God save us all. Please don't ever vote for Family First. Senator Stephen Fielding is a dangerous lunatic.

    Comment by AndyJ on 11 August 2010 at 02:01
  18. No one seems to mention the Coalition's preferences - Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group), Family First and the Democratic Labor Party. They'd love the filter to go ahead and are sure to lobby for it. It shows the Coalition's true colours!

    Comment by Winston Smith on 17 August 2010 at 04:30
  19. "No one seems to mention the Coalition's preferences - Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group), Family First and the Democratic Labor Party. They'd love the filter to go ahead and are sure to lobby for it. It shows the Coalition's true colours!"
    - Winston Smith

    Vote for world class broadband for all in the long term not just for a select few, which is the Coalitions promise.

    The whiz kids of the new generations need this access, not just the select few who have no means to exercise creativity in this new online environment we live in.

    Our worlds will collide whether the Coalition wants it or not, stand up and make your vote count folks, you know the deal.

    Comment by willberforce on 17 August 2010 at 04:38
  20. Winston mate... No offense buddy but you sound like your a Tori.

    Comment by willberforce on 17 August 2010 at 04:43
  21. Go back to England

    Comment by willberforce on 17 August 2010 at 04:48